Admitting this, apparently, is not something most people do. At least not most British people, as a study conducted by some online retail site showed only one in 12 Brit parents copped to favoring (favouring?) one child over another.
Poppycock, I say!
There's always a favorite. I'm sure of it. In fact, I'm pretty sure -- at least growing up -- I was not the favorite in my house. Oh, sure, I was the favorite until my little brother came along, but once that little bugger got a toehold on my parents, that was it. I was sentenced to being number two.
Is it possible this happened because my brother was a quiet, unassuming, funny, charming little kid, while I was a loud, devious, problem child who at various points in my early childhood relations with my younger brother... A) locked him in a bathroom, in the bathtub, with the water running... B) played "barbershop" with real scissors in the same locked bathroom and... C) locked him in the house, in his baby carriage, with my mother outside? Could be. (Sidenote: How I did not end up a locksmith is one my life's greater mysteries.)
Of course, as we got older, things changed. For instance, in high school, I was a detention-getting rabble rouser who would routinely smoke pot during study hall and come home stumbling drunk on the weekends, all leading to a robust 2.6 GPA at graduation, while my brother was a more-or-less straight A student with friends who didn't wear ripped jeans and never broke curfew.
OK fine. Nothing changed during our respective high school years.
In fact, today, as adults, I'm pretty sure if you put my parents on the stand, they might have to pick me as their favorite. Why? Because I live an hour away from them. My brother? On the opposite shore of the country. And we both have little kids. So basically, my parents can see their grandchildren anytime they want with me, and they need an airline ticket to see my brother's kids. So while my parents may still think I'm an ass, at least I'm an ass who's got geography on his side.
So yeah: Things can change when it comes to your kids.
Which brings me back to my children. I told you one of them is my favorite. And it's true. But ... it changes. Sometimes, it can change a few times in about 12 seconds. Is one whining directly in my ear? Well, that one's no longer my favorite. But then does the other one start screaming about how they don't want to get dressed? Well, bingo bango boingo, it flip-flops again.
And in those not-terribly rare moments when both of them -- remember, they are 3 and 2 years old -- are freaking out? Well, then neither is my favorite. My favorite child - though technically not a child -- is Evan, Jim or Jack. (That's Williams, Beam, and Daniels, for those keeping score at home.) (Those high school stumble-drunk days stuck with me, apparently.)
So maybe I don't have an "official" favorite. I guess if I were forced -- you know, blindfolded, cigaretted, gangplanked -- I'd have to say I love them equally. Except when I don't.
Jeff Edelstein can be reached at facebook.com/jeffreyedelstein and twitter.com/jeffedelstein.