Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Which One of Your Children Is Your Favorite?
Last week I peed on a stick and found out that I was pregnant. After the initial: "Holy crap, already?", and subsequent feeling of bliss and happiness, it hit me like a ton of bricks that my time with Kai alone is limited. I could feel the pain physically, I am not kidding you. My little angel, that is claimed to be the most kissed baby in the Universe, has 9 months before his reign is over. It doesn't help that he is going through an extreme Mommy phase and wants to cuddle with me all the time. I don't think I could ever tell him: "I am sorry love, I have to attend to your sibling.", without breaking his little heart.
I can't imagine I am going to love the new kid as much as I love this one. I don't know how the new kid could measure up. Interestingly enough, my sister had the opposite experience. When her second son was born, her first was almost 3 years old. He was jealous and unhappy about the new addition and constantly tried to hurt the baby in different ways. My sister said she went through a phase in which she hated her firstborn, because she saw him as a threat to the baby's well being. She admitted she felt strong aversion towards the older one until he finally accepted the baby. I am really glad she told me this, because most of the parents would never admit it in front of others.
But it is clear that favoritism exists. And based on research, it appears that it can significantly impact the lives of both favored and unfavored child. I always hear that it's not just a certain amount of love that needs to be split, because love grows exponentially and in the end, you just love each child in their own way. I am a little concerned it's the same kind of talk as the one I received before I got pregnant for the first time: "You know, you get sick and throw up, but it doesn't feel that bad, because you know it is for a good reason." Frankly, good reason or not, puking sucks. Period. I did not feel any better when kneeling over the toilet bowl tasting the leftovers of tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwich when I was pregnant than I did after a night of drinking in college.
I wonder if I should stop telling Kai that I love him the most in the whole world. He is still too young to remember. The problem is that the whole point of me telling him this is so he would remember it for a lifetime in case something happens to me. I want him to know that he was and always will be loved, even if I am not around. But I can't love him the most in the whole world if there is another child, because then I love them both equally, right? So where do I go from here? I think the best I can try is to remember this: "When it comes down to it, every child wants to feel like they're different, not clones of their siblings. The best parents can do is stay aware of any differential treatment they give and try to be as fair as possible." I hope I can do that. In the meantime, I intend to enjoy every minute of the time I have left with Kai alone.
Posted by Andrea Chmelik