Children, Twins, Triplets etc …. do you have a favourite? Ok, ok …. I SAID IT. Do Parents have favourites? Are we even allowed to say that OUT LOUD?! Now… before you all start saying “Oh no, never”, I have to ask as recently, I’ve been struggling to understand how you can’t have a favourite, from time to time anyhow.
In my own life, before I had children, I noted in almost every family, that one child was always preferred over the other. Ok, not always openly…. but you could definitely see it. To be fair, it didn’t really seem to bother the boys as much as the girls. The Captain for example is the favourite in his family. He claims he’s not, but he sooo is (plus his Grandma recently told me). I on the other hand, was never the favourite. For starters, I was causing havoc in my parents house, getting expelled from school, raiding their Drinks cabinet, smoking spliff out the bedroom window, having boyfriends climbing up drain pipes and sleeping in my cupboard until my Mum found him the next day reeking of Cider (true). All of this before I was 15 years old…. it’s no wonder they wanted to kill me. As a baby though…. i was apparently an independent angel. But, still not the favourite.
I’m now torn from time to time with my own kids. Despite all resolutions to never have favourites, things aren’t panning out that way. Now, according to some books on Twins (and I read a shit load before Itchy & Scratchy turned up), Parents get confused as to how they react and feel towards their kids. Some days they have a favourite child, and on other days, well, lets just say you want to run away and hide under a tree (or in a Bar, which is clearly my personal preference).
Anyhow, my question is this …. Do you have a favourite? If so, do you feel as guilty as I do when those moments occur? Now, before you all start going mad at me, the truth is this…. my favourite child is the one who behaves themselves on THAT particular day. I don’t love the other child any less but if they are misbehaving, well, you know… you’re only human.
Take my Son for example. He loves to SCREAM (& I mean SCREAM!!!!) and, in fact, screamed the whole way to Bali (4.5 hour flight from Hong Kong), that even his own Grandparents wanted to throw him off the plane. This child knows when he has an audience and therefore, kicks off with this whole screaming business just as everyone around us is starting to relax/enjoy a book/snooze on the plane. What did I do to keep myself calm and not lose it? I put ear plugs in, plastered a smile on my face at all the passengers who looked like they wanted to kill me for having given birth to Satan, and ordered myself a glass of white wine. The bloody Air Stewards wouldn’t give me another glass after I downed the first one like it was a shot of tequila…. so I stole The Captains while he hid in the loo…. for most of the flight. Apparently he had a dodgy tummy but I know a liar when I see one. Hell, I would have hidden in there with him if someone would have taken my son off my hands.
Yes, kids cry and yes, they also get jealous of their siblings. My son keeps trying to poke his sisters eyes out and she has now started biting anything and everything, including The Captains legs (which made me laugh so much the other day, I actually peed on the floor). But, by having a favourite every so often, doesn’t negate how much I love them both, equally. I just have less tolerance for the annoying one from time to time. Yes, I just said that out loud. But, all mothers experience this surely?!?
Please don’t turn up with burning torches outside my apartment until you have experienced Twins screaming, biting and blatantly trying to kill their mother through lack of sleep.
I also know all about the issues that arise when favouritism occurs in a household. Having come from a family where I have (a) Middle child syndrome, (b) Am the only girl, which is a minus in my books and never led to “Little Princess syndrome” – a damn shame as everyone else in the house got bought a car on their 18th birthday, save for me.
In fact, I was sooo NOT the favourite, that my parents took their first photos of me when I was about 6 months old, and even then, they only took TWO photos until I turned ONE. My Mum claims its because I was bald and didn’t look great in photos. I’m like“errr…. I was a BABY?!” She also claims not to have had a camera. What a crap reason is that?! No camera?! I wasn’t born during the 1920’s for fucks sake!! Plus, to add insult to injury, my older brother had hundreds of photos of him from the minute he was born, including video footage actually exiting the womb and hes 5 years older than me. Speaking of which, my not-so-Saintly older brother, who had a whole shrine dedicated to his birth, first hair curl, first tooth, endless photos of him on the potty … bla bla bla, tried to convince me (even to this day) that I was, in fact, adopted. I would believe this ordinarily, considering I am soooo different to my family in almost every way, but I look exactly like both my parents (minus my Dad’s beard). I have to admit, that there were many a moment as I child, when I dreamt (and prayed) for my real parents to show up and whisk me away to their mansion in Miami (where I was the only child, accidentally switched at birth by some gross accident made by the Hospital).
Now…. during arguments with my Mother, never my Father who (a) never had any favourites and (b) resembles a squidgy, kind Teddy bear so you can’t really argue with him in any event, I will throw the whole “You always favoured that ungrateful git (my older brother) over me!!!” Mum would respond, “Dont be stupid…. I hate you all the same” (I’m one of four). Bloody lovely (and clearly mindful of all our feelings). Now my Mum says she doesnt and never did have favourites, but you know what, my brothers have all screwed up soo much lately, my Dad (bless him), keeps banging on about how“great” I am. Its pissing my brothers off soo much and FINALLY, I am the favourite.
It only took moving to another country to make them see that.
So girls, I have a question for you? Or those of you who’ve had IVF treatment or suffered years of infertility treatment, which include dozens of Doctors, in every shape & size, taking a peek inside your vagina (undignified, even if you do arrive stoned and giggling). When you finally fell pregnant, did you then tell people it was “all natural bla bla” (like J. Lo) or do you fess up and be honest (like Julia Roberts with her twins), saying it was because you had fertility treatment?
The reason I ask is that I got told, politely of course, by a family member, not to tell people I had IVF when asked if Twins run in my family (actually, Triplets naturally do). “Why?” I asked innocently. “Because they don’t really need to know, if they don’t know you that well”. Well, I have a couple of issues that caught in my throat over this particular discussion.
I spent nearly TWO years trying everything to fall pregnant. I mean, bloody hell, I saw Princess Diana’s nutritionist on Harley Street as someone said he helped them. If someone told me to sleep with a wooden penis under my pillow as it would pass on good vibes (or is that a vibrator?!), I would have done it to speed the mind-blowing, heart rendering process up. That kind of strain is horrible on any relationship, but when you spend soooo many years trying not to get knocked up, it kinda feels like a cruel bull-shit joke, when you want to, and yet, cant.
Especially when EVERYONE and their dog (ok, it felt like everyone) was falling pregnant around me and those really annoying ones who had JUST got married, well they were pregnant right away (bastards). We had TWO years of different treatments until the Doctors said “its unexplained”.
I’m sorry, but, WHAT THE FUCK DOES “UNEXPLAINED” MEAN???! I need hard-core facts, not “ooh sorry, you fall into that 20% group of people who just don’t know why they can’t fall pregnant”. FUCK OFF!!! You’re a bloody Doctor. You’re really telling me that you can’t get me pregnant any quicker?! Yeh right. It’s all about money. I was told to change my diet, no sugar (no fucking alcohol or drugs, the bastards), try Clomid first, then Metformin, Progesterone (orally or anal…joyous both ways), smiley annoying faces on ovulation sticks, then I got the expensive machine from Boots to make sure it really worked with an extra big smile and temperature valve, then injections to make you ovulate, the test with dye through your tubes to make sure there are no blockages, IUI (absolutely pointless and fucking expensive if you ask me), and then finally when all else failed and screaming at my husband to “pound away as I’m ovulating!!” didn’t work, we did IVF.
Now, I dreaded IVF, but I have to admit, it was fine. I used THE most amazing clinic in London (The London Women’s Clinic on Harley Street) and they were fabulous from the minute I got there. I was pregnant within a month.
WHY THE FUCK DIDN’T I GO THERE AT THE BEGINNING?!?! Ok, so the Captain had to chase me around our house with a needle every night to administer various drugs … and considering he’s terrified of needles ie, before a jab for Hep B he infamously said, “Dr, I have a fobia of needles, can I have a Valium first!?”, I was a little worried. He had to give me 3 injections daily, FOR NINETY MOTHER FUCKING HARDCORE BASTARD DAYS. NINETY DAYS. During the period before this, he was due to go on a boys weekend to Spain and on announcing this, I threw, yes threw, an ashtray at his head (it was when we were still allowed to smoke spliff). Yes, that’s right. I’m a determined gal. I wanted babies and then, boom, allllll those injections (which involved freezing my arse and then warming various body parts to get maximum effect), TWO arrived! What can I say? I’m an overachiever… plus The Captain has a fab sperm count, which massively helps his ego (& his daily attempt to frame his count results).
So, you see, when someone says “Don’t mention IVF”, like its you or your Hubby that’s a failure, I don’t see it that way. I wear it with a badge of honour, as I know how hard that time was, and I also know that we have helped lots of friends who have been, and are, going through the same thing because of it.
Why hide it?! I didn’t have fucking herpes, although at times, we would probably have preferred that so we could treat it! I’m annoyed that anyone tells me “not to mention it“, like that makes me, or The Captain… well, “less perfect”. It’s life!! When you get older, it gets harder to conceive and not just that. Its like I’ve got my own version of war medals for all the shit I went through to get to where I am now…. and I feel proud of myself, every single time I look at my gorgeous, screaming, moaning, laughing, now walking (& teething… WOT?!), Twins. I did ALL of that work, and put my own body through all of that (yes, The Captain was great & wonderful too) because I wanted to love these babies that much.
In my personal opinion, and of course, it’s just mine, the IVF generation need to stand proud, and say it loud!! There is no shame in IVF.