My triumvirate of sons have one thing in common. They will all wail “it’s not fair” many times a day as one injustice or another befalls them.
Almost certainly they have perceived that one of their number has been treated differently and, in the unlikely event that it’s not my fault, it will fall to me to remedy the situation.
Currently, it’s at the top of my shifting list of frustrations with the state of motherhood. (Yesterday it was Lego on the floor and the day before ‘that’ teenage boy bedroom smell.)
Listen up, boys. It’s just not fair. I try really, really hard to treat them equally and I love each just as much as the next. Yet in most regards it’s impossible.
Not only are they totally different people, but things change for me too – there’s precious little training for this job. Or, actually, there’s a whole heap of advice, libraries full of it, but most of it is useless because the children in question haven’t read the books too.
It’s true, the details of Boy One’s life get a lot of attention. But then he’s first and I’m learning too. So with him, I haven’t figured out how to separate what really matters from what we’d been led to believe matters.
By the time Boy Three passes through the phases, I’ve got a good idea which bits are worth bothering with and which are a total waste of time and effort. Though I’m fast suspecting that there’s nothing you can do about the smell.
- Get lots of attention and consequently find their parents stricter
- Get new stuff but not such a wide range of stuff.
- Have to wait for ages to be old enough to get a computer/phone/key for something
- Learn that being helpful earns them points
- Get a bit of attention so feel that they’re not quite as fascinating as their predecessor
- Get nearly new stuff, but have a wider range of stuff because they can pinch their sibling’s too.
- Don’t have to wait so long for computer/phone/key for something because defences were down and the sky didn’t fall in when First Child got the thing
- Learn that being helpful just means you get more chores to do
- Get lot of attention because they’ve learned to demand it and their knackered parents are too worn down to resist
- Are either delighted to get cherished hand-me-downs or get new stuff because old stuff is worn out
- Might have to wait quite a long time for computer/phone/key for something because it became apparent that Middle Child did, in fact, get it too soon.
- Are desperate to help yet not big enough to do a useful job so stop bothering to try
- Or are too busy controlling everyone else in the family to have the time to help at anything.
So boys, none of it’s fair, but then life isn’t and you might as well start learning it now.