There is occasionally a bit of chat on the parenting subject about favourite children. Is there a favourite in your family? Were you the favourite? How do you behave if you find that one of your children becomes your favourite?
I am always baffled by this. Of course you have a favourite child: the favourite child is whichever one is not being a total fucking pain in your arse at that moment.
This is a way of saying that my son is going through some kind of change at the moment. I am hoping that he will change into a kitten or a puppy or a Yves Saint Laurent handbag. But the chances are that he is just going to change into a 3 year-old. He’s having tantrums, he’s a nightmare at bedtime and a total jerk about pretty much everything.
Underneath it all – for me – is a sense of outrage and injustice: hang on, I thought he was easy now? He’s two and a half, isn’t it supposed to be sort of plain-sailing?
Life was hard when Sam wasn’t walking or talking and when he started doing those things and cheered up a bit I went “Thank God”, forgetting that children aren’t linear like that – it’s not just really, really, really hard and then suddenly easy for ever. It’s rocky and unpredictable. My children are like a cosine wave – up and down, up and down; parenting them is like going for a walk on a sunny day and then suddenly it clouds over, then it rains, then it hails, then it fucking snows and you’re shivering on the side of a hillside in only a t-shirt thinking “Oh my god, we’re all going to die,” and then the sun comes out again.
It doesn’t make it easier to deal with, knowing that. It’s shit, we’re all miserable. Sometimes my husband and I eye each other wordlessly, like we’re standing in the middle of Mogadishu without passports. Or guns.
Kitty, on the other hand, apart from having a neuroses about me suddenly disappearing (“Stay where I can see you!!”) is in an upswing of her cosine wave, mostly spreading a bit of sunshine wherever she goes. So in a fit of gratitude and insanity I bought her a 2 foot Bashful Bunny for Christmas because she mentioned she wanted a “big bunny toy”.
What? I never said I was perfect.