Many years ago I often wondered if parents were just being nice when they said they couldn’t choose a favorite child, or when said they loved them each for different reasons. Yea yea, you’re just trying to be politically correct, I’d think. But really, tell me who you like best, I promise I won’t tell anyone.
Now that I have two kids of my own I have something to say about picking a favorite. Actually, I regularly find myself choosing one over the other. And I wouldn’t be surprised if most other parents do this too.
It goes something like this:
He says: Oh you’re going to the store after the gym? Do you mind grabbing me some cereal and protein powder?
She says: Sure, but I’m not bringing both of the kids.
He says: Ok, which one do you want?
I stop and think. What kind of shopping experience am I feeling up to today? Going out with just one child significantly reduces the time it takes, as well as my blood pressure during the duration of the trip.
So, am I feeling up to a quiet trip, possibly entailing a little bit of whining (which would just ensure I don’t take to long down the aisles), but definitely a mental break? If yes, I’ll take my son. The challenging thing about taking him is he doesn’t always want to stay put in the shopping cart.
If I let him down, at any moment he’s guaranteed to make a beeline for daylight or the nearest fragile item within reach. The key is keeping some snacks and portable toys on hand to entertain him while I finish my shopping.
I most definitely will have a time limit, probably not to exceed 20 minutes. I’ll have to be swift and precise, but I’ll have nothing but my thoughts to listen to. And that silence is golden.
If I choose my daughter, I’m in for a good time with some guaranteed amusing conversations and about 3-thousand questions.—Questions that can’t be answered with a simple yes or no. I’ll have to use more brain power than I prefer to for a leisure shopping trip, and hold a somewhat challenging conversation all while making sure I don’t forget the reason I came to the store in the first place.
I won’t have to worry about chasing her around the store, however I’ll deal with constant negotiations for things she wants.
The trip will most likely be prolonged with requests to play with displays and try samples, but I can take as much time as I need. Physically I won’t be worn out, but by the time we check out I’ll be mentally exhausted.
It’s a pick your poison kind of situation, and most of the time, either one will be significantly easier than both. When it comes to choosing one over the other? It all depends on what kind of mood I’m in, how tired I’m feeling, and if I’m wearing my running shoes.
Do you prefer to take one kid over another shopping with you? At what point is it easier to bring everyone?