My Favorite ChildBy
It’s not something that many good moms talk about. After all, any good mom wouldn’t have to talk about something like this, because any good mom would say, “I love all my children the same.” I’m not one of those good moms. I don’t love my children the same. Because my children aren’t the same.
Anyone who’s met my two girls can plainly see that they are nothing alike in any facet of their being. Taytem is tall and skinny with big, brown eyes. Eisley is short and fat with smiling, blue eyes. Taytem is fiercely independent and active and needs her space to run and bounce off the walls. Eisley is an affection-junkie who will sit on your lap quietly and be still while you stroke her ear. Taytem must be force-fed. Eisley must be force-stopped from feeding.
They are both mine, and yet I love them differently, not unequally, but differently. One I love by gallons, the other I love by liters. The amount of love is the same in the end, it’s just calculated differently for each of my girls.
I used to think that Eisley wasn’t getting the best from me, since she’s second-born. With Taytem, I read all the books, I made little teaching tools like black and white geometric designs to hang from her crib to develop her focus. We had a daily routine of back-play, tummy time, sit-up time, reading, classical music and outdoor play. Taytem didn’t like to be held very much, unless you were helping her get to what she wanted that was out of her reach. I’d try to rock her to sleep, but she just squirmed and fussed until I laid her down. It was easy to just set her on the floor and let her play on her own for a whole morning.
But Eisley, poor thing. I didn’t make her any teaching toys. I forgot to make her have some tummy time and read to her everyday. I stopped nursing her after only six weeks instead of the ten months I spent nursing Taytem. I forgot to talk to her like an adult like I used to with Taytem, whose vocabulary is now quite impressive at age four.
I used to bemoan this lack of motivation to my mom, about how I didn’t spend much time teaching Izzy, and how I just didn’t feel like I was connecting with her as much as I did with Taytem. I told her that I was afraid I didn’t love my children the same as one another. My mom told me, quite amused, “Well of course you don’t! I don’t love you kids the same as one another. You’re my favorite…in some ways. Trae is my favorite in other ways, and Kim is my favorite in still other ways. You’re all different, so I love you differently.”
Then she pointed out how much more I held Eisley than I ever did Taytem, how much I kissed her uber-chubby cheeks and tickled her juicy belly. Izzy is an affection-junkie, and even though I’m not, she easily draws affection out of me in a way that Taytem never did because Taytem didn’t need affection as much as Eisley. Taytem needed quality time and lots of stimulus during that time together (she’s a lot like me). Since I naturally gave Taytem her needs, which are also my own needs, it seemed to me like I was showing more love to Taytem; whereas, since Eisley’s needs were different from my own, I felt like I was showing her less love, when in fact, I was giving her exactly what she wanted. Plus, with Eisley, I was treating her more like a baby than I did with her sister, Miss Independence, and we were having a fun time enjoying the full-extent of the baby phase, as opposed to going from baby-hood to pre-teen (which is what it sometimes seems like with Tayt).
So I’m a bad mom. I love my children differently. One I love with liters and liters of jumping on the trampoline together, playing “restaurant” and singing geography songs and telling her I like her a lot. The other I love by the gallons in hugs and kisses and tickles and peek-a-boo and lots and lots of food.
My girls aren’t the same, and I’m not the same mom with both of them. They each bring different qualities out in me, they each challenge me in unique ways, and they teach me their own set of lessons. My job isn’t to treat them the same. My job is to give each of them what they need, because they’re both my girls and they’re both my favorite.
Special Thanks to our Guest Blogger Ellany Collins, wife to her best friend, Lukus, and mommy of two feisty little girls. An adventurer and wander-luster at heart, hailing from her beloved San Diego, she never expected to be a stay-at-home mom and home-school teacher residing in Oklahoma City, but is learning to embrace those roles with joy, creativity and frequent mental vacations to the beach. She chronicles her domestic adventures on her blog, Memoirs of a Wannabe Gypsy, where she explains exactly how her underwear caught on fire. Twice. Ellany met Jesus in her tree-house when she was four years old, where her heart remains to this day.