Temporary favorites

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Once, when my kids were under a year old, I had a complete stranger ask me “which is the good one?” I only wish I hadn’t been so shocked by the question that I might have come up with a witty and biting response to such an inappropriate question.

Among all of the crazy-ass things that people feel compelled to say to me when they find out my kids are twins, one of the most surprising is some people’s fixation on the “good twin/evil twin” thing.  Seriously?  People, that’s just a bad soap opera plot device. It’s not real.

Or, is it?

Sometimes, it’s a teensy weensy bit real.

Because, of course, one of the things about having two kids who are exactly the same age is that they will still hit some of the developmental milestones at slightly different times.  Some of those phases are less pleasant than others, and some kids will have a rougher time than others.

out for a walk

Right now, we are in that delightful two-year-old stage of constantly needing to assert independence and control. And while they are both dealing with it, it’s hitting my son especially hard.  Today, the whining and demanding for [insert whatever item his sister is currently holding] started before we even made it out of their bedroom.  It was a rough morning, and we’ve had a lot of days like that recently.

What might be making it even harder is the contrast with his sister’s behavior. She’s no angel (friends accurately described her over the weekend as a “wild card”), but where Daniel digs in his heels and throws a tantrum, she is more likely to realize that she is about to get in trouble and back off.  And so, human nature kicks in, and I (temporarily) have a favorite child.  Which only makes me feel worse.  I struggle with simultaneously being enormously frustrated with my son, and then feeling bad that I harbor less happy feelings toward him than his sister.

Thankfully, if I’ve learned anything over the last two years, it’s that they will soon switch places.  While some of these characteristics are consistent and very true to their personalities, I also know that the title of “more difficult child” is passed around with great frequency.  But in the meantime, I still have some internal conflict.

What about you? Do your kids trade off on the “good/bad twin” role?  Do you find yourself temporarily favoring one twin over the other?  How do you cope with favoritism, even if it is fleeting?

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15 thoughts on “Temporary favorites”

  1. Oh my goodness, my husband and I were just talking about this subject yesterday. At only 10 months we have already experienced this phenomenon. One baby has reflux a little longer, one learns to crawl a month earlier, one just has her first 2 teeth break through while brother is off having a good ol’ time!

    It is so hard in these moments not to gravitate to the baby who is easier, sweeter, more lovely on that certain day. I believe it will be a lifetime battle to love them both and allow them to develop into their own persons.
    .-= Vicky @ thecitycradle´s last blog ..You cannot blog feelings =-.

  2. I’ve always been told that the boys are easier when they are older and harder when they are younger … and the opposite for the girls. But not so much with my b/g twins … both are more difficult now than my older daughter has ever been.

    My mom assures me that I was the most difficult child of my four siblings but I was, by far, the easiest teenager. I’m hoping that is the case with my youngest daughter and that it’s true that boys get easier as they get older … I’m looking forward to teenage years being easier (but I’m willing to admit that I may be delusional due to lack of sleep).

  3. I wouldn’t even say it is favoritism. When one of the boys is having a rough phase, everyone has a tough time with it. It’s easier to relax and enjoy yourself around the “easier” one. At the end of the day, I love my kids equally but not the same. I love them for who they are and sometimes that is loving the warts and tantrums.

    That’s actually why I found it beneficial to get one-on-one time with the boys starting at 2. Nate was so exhausting that when I got alone time with “easy” Alex, I came home energized by my decision to have kids and with a lot more patience for Nate. The same can be said now as we’re hitting a rough patch with both kids.

    (I know I said 3.5 was easier, in general it is but you still get some bad days in there.)

    If you truly thought that each kid was perfect every day and they were both your favorites, then I would know you were lying to yourself and to us and I wouldn’t read your blog :)
    .-= LauraC´s last blog ..Twin empathy? =-.

  4. I have one boy who is shy and clingy and one who is friendly an outgoing. It’s not exactly favoritism, but I trust that the easier one will behave while Mr. Cling “needs” to be held. At 21/2, though it’s tough because family members are getting turned off by being shunned by the mama’s boy. I guess this is more about shyness, but does anyone have any advice? He takes a while to warm up, but in-laws say things like, “Oh, sorry, I won’t look at him!” I think this alienates him more.

  5. I learned this concept early on, in the NICU, when we were able to hold and feed one baby, and the other had a CPAP mask, couldn’t be held, and was fed through an IV. I realized that I already saw one as “the good one” and one as “the difficult one”. Thankfully, since then, I’ve learned that they switch roles almost every day!

  6. Megan, I have the same situation going on. My twins are complete opposites when at home and out and about. At home our boy twin is more then happy playing by himself with no glance in our direction. With family he always runs to everyone with big hugs and kisses. Our girl twin is a little more clingy at home and likes to snuggle but when she’s with other family or friends she’s off on her own, happy, but is not a fan of other people until she gets comfortable. I always get the joking (but most likely in all seriousness) that ‘she doesn’t like me’ all because he will run to people and she won’t! And it makes me mad because people don’t make the effort and take the time to let her warm up to them. And they make the quick comparison that he’s so outgoing so she must not like them. If she was a singleton this most likely would’nt even be an issue. She would be known as shy, end of story. Any advice on how to deal with those annoying remarks would be greatly appreciated!

  7. You know, it’s interesting—I was just talking to my husband last night about how I was concerned that I have a much better (closer, maybe) relationship with my more challenging child. Maybe it’s all the extra attention she’s needed over the past 18 months, maybe it’s that her brother is more of a “daddy’s boy” but it’s something I’m struggling to figure out how to work on. I know, I know….I could take him out by himself. But how to do that when he is crying to stay home with Daddy or Grandma and Little Girl is crying to go out with me? Oh, and of course, more challenging child is now potty training (oddly, in an unchallenging, easy way) and so gets EVEN MORE attention from me on a regular, daily (hourly?) basis.

  8. Definitely! On an almost hourly basis I flip-flop. I used to feel guilty about it, but now I realize that it swings back and forth almost constantly so I just ride it out. My love for both of them is infinite at the end of the day, so “liking” one of them more on a temporary basis is of no matter.

  9. Heck ya! Mine STILL changes daily (hourly??)

    I definitely have one twin who just needs more attention…so I feel rotten at the end of the day when I realize that the other one got the short end of the stick…but I try to keep on top of it and pay more attention when the needy one is doing okay.
    .-= Nancy´s last blog ..The Blog Book Creation =-.

  10. Mine don’t really flip flop – my son is usually the “bad” one in that he tends to be fussier and needier. However, he is much better at playing by himself where my daughter needs to climb all over someone (me). She may not be fussing but it isn’t enjoyable to play with someone who just claws at you all the time.
    So, I guess they both have their “bad” points (and plenty of good points too!) and, depending on the situation, one kid might seem worse than the other.
    .-= Nicole´s last blog ..A Sippy Cup Saga =-.

  11. every 5 minutes I have a different “favorite”. Or maybe it’s more accurate to say that I have an “unfavorite”

    2 blows. but less so than 1. and way less so than under 1. or so I’ve been told. I don’t remember :)
    .-= jeanne´s last blog ..storyhour fail =-.

  12. When mine were a few weeks old my ds started struggling with feeding issues. He had a bad latch (even on bottles – seriously – he had to be hospitalized over it even) and it could take an hour and a half to feed him. My dh and I exchanged babies for every feed, so it was always good feed – hard feed – good feed – hard feed. Etc. It got so we had some hard core trench humor over it, and gave him the nickname “(his name) the Demoralizer.”
    Wouldn’t you know it, as soon as this got worked out my dd’s reliable eating turned nasty. Turned out she had been eating so well because she wasn’t digesting most of it. She had silent reflux.
    Once again it was good feed – bad feed – good feed – bad feed. Except, this time, it had changed children.
    Everything has been like that since then. A child that has been easy one hour will be more difficult the next. Easy disposition one week will turn into clingy the next.
    My dh and I often forget whose turn it is for which kid regularly now. So if we can’t remember, I just let him choose. I don’t really care, they both have their difficulties and rewards. Fairly regularly, though, he finds that whichever kid he picked because he thought they would be easy, HA, wasn’t. At which point, we laugh and say “you chose… poorly…” (ala Indiana Jones during the Holy Grail scene).

    They’re different. Parts are easy, parts are hard. I’ve found that rolling with it makes it much easier. Working with their strengths and weaknesses makes life work. Worrying about which one is going to be awesome at whatever every day gets me nowhere, and just frustrated and wry when it turns out to be the opposite.

    As long as I stop to laugh – at myself – at my husband – at the situations – at the general goofiness and heightened happiness that can exist when you’re relaxed – just all of it, that’s what gives me perspective.
    .-= Janel´s last blog ..First Birthday Party Pictures =-.

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