If I had to choose one kid…

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?

Choosing one kid over the other. Parents won't admit it, but we all do it from time to time. 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?

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  1. Oh, I have the same problem all the time… if I take the little one I will have to chase her around and go back home soon, if I take the older one I will have to constantly refuse buying all kind of glittery nonsense, which is tiring, probably even more than chasing the little one… but I feel guilty taking just one so usually either take both (unless we need to get something specif so i take the one that need shoes / clothes etc.) or leave both of them at home with daddy and go shopping on my own. It may seem silly but when I go on my own I miss having them around…

  2. Ha ha ha, on the running shoes. Nothing like being all dressed up and running after kids in a shopping mall.

    Of course, I will always take the easier route/kid. I believe you do choose your poison, but I guess it depends on the day and my mood as well. If it’s a quick stop I would NEVER take my pre-schooler, because he likes to be outside and will raise hell when I want to go home – he’s so predictable… If I fold and bring him, I know I only have myself to blame.

  3. I love having one of each, a boy and a girl. And mine are nearly 6 yrs apart so I “pick one over the other” all the time. I have a 14 yo son, so I pick him when I want to be silly and make the most of our dwindling time together. I love evening trips to the store with him we laugh a lot, and he doesn’t ask for much usually. Time and words of affirmation are both our love language.
    I pick my 8yo daughter when I want girl or cuddle time. She is guaranteed to make me laugh, but she is so honest that more than likely a conversation with her is gonna put me in check. I love trips to the store with her we hold hands while we walk…. But I better have money… Gifts and touch is definitely her love language.

  4. depends on the age and circumstance . EVERY. TIME. Even now that I have older children and if I am going to take one somewhere with me. I look at the circumstance and make an evaluation. I don't think it has to do with 'favorite' , per se…more like which child is 'more convenient' or 'easier'.

  5. I always end up taking both kids with me unless I go shopping while my daughter is in school or my son is down for a nap. Honestly, it’s kind of easier for me to take both because they end up entertaining each other. Also, my son is at the age where he throws tantrum if I don’t get something that he wants. Having my daughter there often times calms him down.

    I understand that over the next few years this dynamic could completely change.

  6. What do you use in the kids hair? I love their hair! 🙂 My children both have curly locks and I never know what to put in it. Help!

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