Doug (the hubs, the meester, insert nickname here), asked me a question yesterday. It’s a question I’ve asked myself so many times. One that I always immediately feel guilty for even thinking:
Hubs: Do you find that because LG is typical, that you gravitate towards her, more than him?
And there it was. And apparently, I wasn’t alone. And it’s easy to mistake that to think “do you love your typical child more than your atypical one?”
Of course, the answer is no. When people say that you love both children equally, this is true. You find love in your heart. It gets bigger. I don’t have to tell parents of multiple children this. My heart explodes with love and joy for them.
But my answer to him was immediate, and without much thought. Yes and no. Yes, because she is easier to communicate with. Even at 17 months old. She gets it. She’s also in your face with her wants and needs. She needs attention like people need air. To compare her to Mia, our Chihuahua is cruel, but accurate. The minute you start giving attention to Gromit, our lab, she [Mia] is up in your shit faster than you can say the word treat. The same goes for LG. If anyone else sits in my lap, be it her brother, or my surrogate children a la the BFF, she pitches a fit, and will try with all of her 17 month old might to push them out of my lap. She is my cuddler. She is my lovey child. The Mini isn’t as much of a cuddler. This is not a spectrum thing. He loves to be held, and rocked and hugged, and will do so of his own accord, but he is far more independent than she is. The bigger issue is that while he’s social, he doesn’t understand socialization. He’ll ask to play, but his asking to play means, sit next to me and watch while I drive a matchbox car back and forth in front of my face. Now and then, we can play “guys” and Freud and action figure Jesus will play a game of tag (There’s a metaphor in there somewhere, I’m sure), but overall, playing together is still parallel in his world, is what I’m getting at. It makes it a little more difficult to know his wants and needs when you ask him a question and you get some ridiculous-out-of-left-field answer.
The no part of my answer simply depends on the day. There are days where she is so far up my ass that if you opened my mouth, you would see her little Pebbles pigtail tickling my tonsils. She is stubborn, willful, defiant, and difficult. She will deliberately do the exact opposite of what I told her not to do, and then proceed to come over and say “hug,” and snuggle up in my lap. At 17 months, she has working it down to a science. And as I try to hide both of my amusement and exasperation, I accept the guilt of wanting to sell her to gypsies, or maybe duct taping her to the wall for 15 minutes. There are days where she gets put into the “I like you less than your brother,today” camp.
Mostly, I think this is just typical parenthood. We always tend to identify more with one child than the other. It’s obvious to gravitate towards the child that is more like you, regardless of whether or not they’re typical. And it’s OK. It doesn’t mean you love one less than the other.
Unless of course one of them is a serial killer. Then it’s totally ok to like the other one more.
Well, unless they threaten to kill you if you don’t love them more. Then, duh, the choice here is obvious.