Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Playing Favorites

When I was a kid, I always thought that my sister was the favorite. Most of the time, that perception had no real impact on our relationship. We fought hard, but we loved hard too.

But there were times that I resented her for being perfect. For never making waves. For finding everything so damned easy. And I wanted, just once, for my parents to be as proud of me as they were of her.

I realize now, that I was doing both my parents and my sister a gross injustice. But I didn't have the maturity or the perspective then to understand that. I felt judged and unfairly so. I felt inadequate and unloved when nothing could have been further from the truth.

Parenthood has taught me many things and parenting Diminutive One has taken my education to an entirely different level. Through him, I am earning a doctorate in rearing a spirited, stubborn, learning disabled, brilliant but apathetic child. Not that I wanted one, but when life gives you lemons....

Anyway... I realize that my parents didn't like my sister better, they didn't love her any more deeply and they weren't any more proud of her than me.

The thing was...she was just easier.

I feel that I don't give Pre-Pubescent equal time here on Blogs Are Stupid. And the reason for that is that he is just easier.

When he was an infant, he was affable and obedient and aside from his tendency to bolt, a pretty effortless kid to parent. He slept well. He ate well. He did everything pretty much on schedule. And on the rare occasions that he needed correction, a stern "NO-NO" usually did the job.

He has always made friends easily, and even when it became apparent that he had attention issues, his teachers still liked him and found him a pleasant kid to have in class. He started taking meds and he has done well ever since.

Now, at 13, we are seeing some pre-pubescent angst emerging. Some eye-rolling, some smart aleck-ness. Some scorn. Some defiance. But it's all age appropriate and still really manageable all things considered. He feels guilty when he knows he's crossed a line. He can't deal with guilt. He can't deal with disapproval.

So generally speaking...he is pretty pleasant to be around. He doesn't exhaust me emotionally, mentally and bodily the way Diminutive One does. He doesn't argue over every little thing under the sun. Having him around is not a constant struggle.

He's just....easier. And sometimes, I desperately need easy.

Do I love him any more? No, though I do love him differently. My love for him is not as complicated and it's not fraught with constant anxiety over whether I am doing a good job with him or how/where he will end up if I don't figure out how the hell to parent him.

I enjoy him. And I so want to enjoy Diminutive One, but most of the time, I just don't. He is brilliant and creative and complex and fascinating and amazing...but he's also argumentative and contrary and stubborn.

My sister wasn't the favorite. She was just easier. And I totally get that now.

My mother, with whom I most often butted heads, must have been absolutely crazy with over my refusal to do anything to ensure a bright future for myself; a future she knew I could secure without much effort if only I would try. But I wouldn't try. God how that must have worried her. I know how it worries me. And I know, God how I know, that there must have been times she wanted to beat me silly and then walk away and never come back.

And then, when her anger cooled, how she must have wanted to take me in her arms and shelter me from a world that would never understand, never know what box to put me in and so, would simply give up on me, as I gave up on it. I know how she feared for my self-esteem and tried her best to keep the demons of apathy and despair at bay.

But she couldn't and I can't.

This afternoon after a particularly volatile argument between me and Diminutive One, he told me that I don't know how he feels and what he's thinking. Oh but I do, I told him and I tried to explain. But he wouldn't believe it, couldn't believe it.

"YOU?" he said scornfully. "Yeah right. You were probably perfect."

I couldn't help it. I laughed.

"Yeah, perfectly awful" I said. "Call Grandma. Ask her. She'll tell you what a pain in the ass I was."

"Uh-huh. You were probably her favorite."

He glowered all the harder. I'm not sure why, but identifying with me, or me identifying with him is unthinkable. It shakes up his rigid thinking about the way of things and that's not something he is comfortable with. He's rather be misunderstood and miserable, again, something I can understand.

So I didn't tell him that I wasn't the favorite. I didn't tell him that it bothered me something awful as a kid. I didn't tell him because I didn't want to validate his suspicion that he is not the favorite.

He is my favorite. He is my favorite Diminutive One. And I know some day he will grab the world by the balls and make it sing a high wavering fasletto for him. I just wish I could tell him that now in a way that he will believe. But only time and distance can do that.

One day...one day he'll know how much I wanted for him, how hard I tried, how seriously I took my failures, how harshly I judged myself for not being the mother he needed.

Christ I hope we don't kill one another before then.

36 Comments:

  • At 9:21 PM, Blogger Carol said…

    Beautiful post! And I can SOOO relate! I have two EASY kids and two DIFFICULT kids. That's just the way it's always been. Even as adults, two are EASY and two are DIFFICULT.

    Thanks for your honesty!

    Carol

     
  • At 9:41 PM, Blogger slouching mom said…

    I wish I could have Ben read this post and UNDERSTAND it -- maybe then he wouldn't be so jealous of his "easy" little brother.

     
  • At 9:42 PM, Blogger liv said…

    Which is why it's hard to explain D and Peep. D takes up a lot more of my waking thoughts because of he's harder to raise, but Peep is a breeze. Poor thing hardly gets a mention.

     
  • At 10:04 PM, Blogger thailandchani said…

    Wow... I really like this.. and I think you've explained it so well!

    And, you know, even if your son doesn't "grab the world by the balls" but instead is a kind, gentle man who values those around him and spreads some happiness.. well... doggone.. that's just as good! :)


    Peace,

    ~Chani
    http://thailandgal.blogspot.com

     
  • At 10:49 PM, Blogger margalit said…

    One of the best things about having a boy and a girl is that they are always both my favorite all the time. He's my favorite boy, she's my favorite girl. And worthless pet is my favorite cat. I get out of trouble that way, even though, like you, one of my kids is MUCH easier than the other and tends to be easier to be around and to love. Not that I don't love them both, I do, but when one kid is a PITA 95% of the time, it's HARD.

     
  • At 11:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hang in there, cause he'll know and understand one day.

     
  • At 11:24 PM, Blogger painted maypole said…

    this is such a great testamony to the different ways that a parent loves their children, because of the NEEDS their children have. I always felt that my brother was the favorite, because my mom would come home from the store with clothes for him and such. But later on I think that they were trying to balance out the attention they gave me (the attention seeking over achiever who spent her allowance on clothes so didn't NEED new jeans...) with attention for him, who didn't really seek attention. And I bet if my brother was asked he would say that I was the favorite. But it never felt that way to me at the time.

     
  • At 11:37 PM, Blogger flutter said…

    Oh man, I have so been PP before. Thank you for giving me the mom's eye view of it.

     
  • At 11:41 PM, Anonymous mel from freak parade said…

    I can't even tell you the perfect timing of this post. I had (am still having, actually) such a hard day with The Boy. Some of your words could easily be my words.....Some of your words were the words I needed but did not have.
    I could quote a million passages from what you wrote that were exactly what I needed to hear, but this one....this one, especially......
    "And then, when her anger cooled, how she must have wanted to take me in her arms and shelter me from a world that would never understand, never know what box to put me in and so, would simply give up on me, as I gave up on it."

     
  • At 2:59 AM, Anonymous Kelley said…

    Yes, yes, YES! I thought that my brother was the favourite. I hated him deeply for getting all the attention. Turns out I was the easier kid. He got a diagnosis of Aspergers a year after my son was diagnosed with Autism. Now I try and do everything in my power to not let my girls feel the way I did. They say they don't feel left out, but I know that they do.
    My blog is 90% about Boo. Not much about my girls. Not because I don't love them with all my heart, but because their brother is so....challenging?
    I need to try harder though. Just the kick in the butt I needed.

     
  • At 6:31 AM, Anonymous Coffee N Wisdom said…

    Having three children is so difficult and I really enjoyed this post because you stated you're parents loved you just as much it's just that your sister wasn't as difficult. My oldest and youngest child are down to earth, independent and just simple. But my middle child reminds me of a bouncy ball that wont stop bouncing. He's constantly on the go, loud, demanding, needy - but even with all that I still love him. I hope my children know that I Love them equally. Your post was wonderfully written!

     
  • At 8:03 AM, Blogger SUEB0B said…

    I remember one of my biggest revelations in life - it was the day, embarrassingly late (I think I was 23) that I realized that my parents were just NORMAL HUMANS like everyone else, and that they were just doing the best they knew how with what they had.

    It almost knocked me off my feet.

     
  • At 8:13 AM, Blogger JMC said…

    Another thing that makes a big difference is age. There is a large gap between my oldest and my younger three. She thinks the younger ones are treated differently, and they are. Because she is 13 and they are 6, 4 and 11 months. It's hard to get her to see this. She doesn't remember when she was those ages and got treated like they are being treated now.

     
  • At 8:41 AM, Blogger Cathy said…

    You said all this so well.

    And it's true -- I understand the dynamics of my family so much better now that I'm a parent.

    (I was the difficult kid in our home.)

     
  • At 8:45 AM, Anonymous Doug said…

    I always said that when I was sitting across from the principal, it would not be for my son.

    Sometimes the expectations get out of whack. I asked my son if he needed a tutor for an advanced class he is taking because he had a C on his latest test and has a B overall.

    I'm happy when my daughter has a B. She will never be an engineer, but she will be unbelievably compassionate in whatever she does.

     
  • At 9:09 AM, Blogger Jackie said…

    Lots of wisdom here. Thank you for your heart's voice.

     
  • At 9:38 AM, Anonymous Andrea said…

    I'd say print out this incredible post and give it to him in X number of years. Even if he doesn't fully understand, he can't question your love for him.

    What happens though if you find out that you are the favorite and there's no easier/harder-to-raise question about it? What happens if your sister, whom you love dearly and idolized while growing up, goes on a rant about how your parents treat you differently even though you're 30 and she's 33 and that kind of thing should be long over? What happens if you've done nothing to deserve being the favorite, and while your sister plainly made it clear she knows you don't ask for special treatment and doesn't blame you, you still feel guilty?

    Oy. Favoritism sucks, and I didn't even go into the unfairness of the favorites in my husband's family.

    But from what I see from your writing, favoritism isn't in play with you and your kids. You love them differently, but one in greater quantity/quality over the other.

     
  • At 9:57 AM, Blogger Mamma said…

    Wow! PPO waited a nice, long while before presenting you with the eye-rolling. My eldest started at seven. I had no idea I would ever feel driven to rip someone's eyes out of their head.

    Oh parenthood.

     
  • At 10:32 AM, Blogger Kevin Charnas said…

    GREAT post! I loved this.

    It's amazing what time reveals to us, isn't it? Quite humbling, it is. Thank goodness.

     
  • At 10:43 AM, Blogger bubandpie said…

    I was the easy one, and I think I always saw myself as the favourite. It's only now that I'm a parent that I realize how much space my difficult sister took up in my parents' minds, how little space that left for me. It doesn't bother me - but it is a kind of revelation.

     
  • At 11:36 AM, Blogger Jess said…

    I thought my sister was the favorite when I was younger too. When I grew up I realized that she wasn't the favorite, she was just more like my mother and therefore easier to understand. Now, though, things are different and in a way, I've become the easier one. It's extremely surprising.

     
  • At 11:37 AM, Blogger Trenches of Mommyhood said…

    I ditto exactly what coffee n wisdom commented!

    It's amazing how children come out of the same wombs and can be so completely different in personality.

     
  • At 11:53 AM, Blogger Alison said…

    Wonderful post. I was the "easy" one, the overachiever who had the need to please my parents in everything. My brother was/is the rebel who has said that he always felt I was the "perfect" one. I think it helped that we were different genders and as he got older my dad spent more time with him, and was able to appreciate him more for himself than my mom was. I'm glad it didn't cause problems between me and my brother.

     
  • At 12:30 PM, Blogger Amy York said…

    Thank you for that.
    I often felt the same about my sister... I was the difficult one and she was easier and thus, the favorite in my eyes.
    So far, my kids are equally trying so a "favorite" hasn't yet emerged... but I will remember this when it does.
    You are so wise and I so value your posts on things that loom in my not so distant future.

     
  • At 2:39 PM, Blogger Natalie said…

    What an honest and wonderful post. It opened my eyes to some thins about my own childhood.

     
  • At 3:54 PM, Blogger Catherine said…

    Ok, I love your title and the header paragraph - you have definitely caught my attention!

    I came here via your comment on Thailand Chani's "Heaven or Reincarnation" post. The question and comments so fascinated me that I wrote a post about it. I'd love your feedback if you're interested - you can find it here

    Nice to "meet" you. :)

    catherine

     
  • At 3:57 PM, Anonymous pinks & Blues Girls said…

    It really is amazing when you start to see things from the perspective your parents had all those years ago. A bit humbling.

    Jane, Pinks & Blues

     
  • At 5:21 PM, Blogger Christine said…

    "I enjoy him. And I so want to enjoy Diminutive One, but most of the time, I just don't. He is brilliant and creative and complex and fascinating and amazing...but he's also argumentative and contrary and stubborn." Thank you for voicing this so perfectly. Because...me, too.

     
  • At 7:32 PM, Blogger Veronica Mitchell said…

    Oh yes. I know this feeling too.

     
  • At 8:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'm another one who could relate to this post! Thanks. Laurie

     
  • At 8:49 PM, Blogger crazymumma said…

    I really cannot express clearly how much I love this post.

    Love it.

    I always perceived myself as the least favourite. But like you I just was not as easy. And my littlegirl right now, compared to my bigirl. Man, she is making it hard work.

    But how you expressed all this. beautiful. It was like being in my own head. Just far more eloquent and pulled together.

     
  • At 9:48 PM, Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said…

    I didn't understand my parents at all until I had kids of my own. And, I expect my kids will have the same experience.

    Loved this: "And I know some day he will grab the world by the balls and make it sing a high wavering fasletto for him."

     
  • At 12:51 AM, Blogger jen said…

    what a beautiful post. he WILL know. just like we all know one day.

    you are such a good mom, friend.

     
  • At 12:16 PM, Blogger DotMom said…

    Bloghopped over from the Mad Momma. This post resonates with me. I was always the easy one until I hit my teens. My brother was difficult but brilliant (to my parents atleast).. He always did get more attention.

     
  • At 1:47 PM, Blogger Rock the Cradle said…

    I think you are possibly one of the most self actualized people I've ever "met".

    I can't help thinking that eventually, some of this will rub off on the D.O.

     
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