Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Have You Ever Unconsciously Love One Child Over The Other?

While we’re busy pumping one day, one mother put this question to us. A few mothers answered right away without a second thought, “Never! I love both my children equally well.” While some said that they seemed to love the younger one more, their husbands would tend to love the elder one more because they took care of the elder one more when the younger one came along.

As for me, after I presented my case to them, which only consisted of two or three of the below scenarios, where sometimes it would seem that I showed more affection to the younger one, while at different times, I tend to give impressions that I doted on the elder one more, they pointed out that I might have unconsciously love the younger one more, even though in my conscious mind, I tried to be fair to both. That got me thinking a lot after I went back. I even put that question to hubby (whom I observed doted on the little one more), but he told me that he loved both equally well. Then, after thinking awhile, he said, “Well, maybe I gave more material love to the elder one, I bought a lot of toys for her, but I didn’t spend time to play with her, I bought a lot of books for her, but I didn’t spend enough time reading them with her. As for the younger one, I didn’t buy that many things for her, because she had got those from her Jie Jie’s hand-me-downs”.

When I was preggy with my 2nd child, SJ, I had always wondered if I could love the 2nd one as much as I’ve loved the 1st one. That time, SY (my 1st child) means the world to me. She’s like a perfect child for both hubby and me. I didn’t know anything could be more perfect than her, because we gave her our very best. Maybe she’s our first born, as we’ve started giving her the best even before she’s born. Hubby would talk to her nearly every day, and I would let her listen to music as early as when the book said she can hear. I followed all the pantang-larang strictly even though I didn’t believe it. Where as during SJ’s time, we didn’t do as much, because SY, being an active toddler then, had occupied too much of our time, and we didn’t have anymore energy left to do all that for SJ. Maybe that’s why, I didn’t know how I could love SJ as much as SY then, and I was really worried.

However, after I’ve delivered, it seemed that everything just came about naturally. SJ happened to be much more ‘kuai’ and easier to take care than her Jie Jie, so everyone in the family doted on her right away. And after SJ’s born, Amah naturally became SY’s primary care-taker, while I was in-charge of SJ fully. That, somehow implant in me that if I didn’t take good care of SJ, nobody would. Where as, SY would be in good hands under my MIL's care. So I didn’t need to worry too much about her. Also, most of the time, SY would follow Amah back to her house, so that means, hubby and I would need to be more independent in taking care of SJ. That gave us both ample opportunities to learn from scratch how to handle a newborn, because before that we relied too much on MIL. Sometimes, I couldn’t recall things about SY because that was already taken care by MIL. With SJ, it’s different, I need to be in-charge of every single details. Also, since hubby needed to back me up often and relieve me because there’s no one else, he was also more involved when it came to taking care of SJ. During SY’s time, he didn’t need to handle a lot of things, because there were enough people (women) fighting to take care of SY then (LOL!)

So, the first scenario explains why Hubby and I were more inclined towards SJ”s well-being, and that didn’t mean we’re not loving SY as much.

A 2nd scenario – When I was back in Ipoh with my family members, both girls wanted me to carry them at the same time. And most of the time, I would carry SY while leaving SJ crying under hubby’s care. After observing this several times, my Mom confronted me, saying that I seemed to love SY more. I explained to her why I did that. It’s because hubby, like everyone else would seem to think that SY”s big enough, and didn’t need to be carried. Also, as she’s rather a difficult child to handle then, he often lost patience with her. So since I was the only one who could handle her (and I was sure hubby would willingly carry SJ), so I normally would choose to carry SY then. That’s my reasoning, even though my action seemed to show that I might prefer one child over another. In actual fact, I wanted both child to be attended to (and I knew SJ would be in good hands under hubby’s care).

The 3rd scenario – When both the girls were playing on their own and fighting over something, I tend to side with the small one, because I felt that the elder one should give way to her sister. My reasoning, the elder one should understand things by now, while the small one’s still too young to understand. Also, my first natural instinct was to protect the small one from being harmed by her Jie Jie (even though now, the small one would be the bully – she hit, bite and pull her sister’s hair!)

The 4th scenario – When we went out shopping, we tend to buy more things for SY. Most of the time, it’s because SJ could still use SY’s stuffs, while there’re more things related to SY that we would like to get. For instance, SY’s starting school, so most of the things that we got for SY, SJ didn’t need it yet. Although once during CNY last year, MIL and hubby wanted to get SY a new pajama while they felt that SJ didn’t need one since she’s too small (the kids grow so fast that it’s a waste) and also she could still use her Jie Jie’s. As I was also the 2nd child, I disagreed with them because I remembered last time I didn’t like wearing too many hand-me-downs all the time. So I got SJ quite a lot of clothings too, which became a waste now because she really did grow up very fast!

The 5th scenario – Most of the times, I would let SY played on her own while I attended to SJ. That time, we felt that SJ needed a lot of attention in case she fell down or pick up stuffs to eat. But to others, or even SY, they might think that we didn’t love her as much as SJ because we didn’t play with her as much. Most of the toys I got her, I would either ask hubby or MIL to play with her first, or let her experiment on her own. Sometimes, by the time I had time to play with her, it’s already not functioning ;P

The 6th scenario – When it comes to reading or things that need a lot of focus, I would ask hubby to attend to the small one, while I read to SY. That’s because SJ couldn’t sit still with books and she wouldn’t allow me to read too. She had torn away SY’s 3-D butterfly book and I needed to fix it up again. That’s why she had to be taken away in order for me to actually start reading with SY. Maybe you would wonder why this time I didn’t ask hubby to read to SY while I took care of SJ. Well, that’s because I felt that I had more patience than hubby when it came to reading, while hubby’s better with toys. See, everything had a reason :)

The 7th scenario – When it comes to feeding, it’s easier to feed SJ. She could finish everything in a short time compared to SY where we need a lot of patience and have to keep chasing her. Also, since I supplied SJ’s raw ingredients to the babysitter, I could make sure that she eats nutritious stuffs. Where as for SY who had both lunch and dinner in school, also she spent quite a lot of her weekends at Amah’s house, I didn’t know what she ate most of the time. So whenever there’s an opportunity I would scoop more of the fish or anything that I felt she’s lacking for her compared to for SJ. Also, since she’s rather a picky eater nowadays, so whenever she showed any interest on the food that I prepared, I would give her more (and tax SJ’s share in this case) even though both girls would fight for it. Now, would you call me bias?

The 8th scenario – Last time I used to travel a lot during SY’s time. I could go travelling without her (guilty, but still I went), leaving her in the care of MIL. For SJ this time, if Hubby even mentioned any plans of travelling without SJ, I would be the 1st one to back away – because I don’t have the heart to leave her with MIL or the babysitter. Why? Because I knew she couldn’t cope without me, since she’d been spending all nights with me (except for a couple of days when she’s 3 months plus – I left her with hubby and MIL when I went for my sister’s convocation). During SY’s time, she’d been sleeping with me and MIL on alternate nights since MIL didn’t want her to disturb hubby at night. So, the reason I could leave SY behind last time was because I knew she could still sleep even though I was not around.

The 9th scenario – Now, most of the time when we took out the camera, we would want to take photos of SJ. And SY would surely asked to snap her photos instead, or blocking us from taking her Mei Mei’s photos. Maybe our reactions made her think that we didn’t love her. On the other hand, we felt that we’ve not been taking that much pictures of SJ compared to SY’s time, and we really wanted to catch up with it, especially when she’s doing some new stunts.

The 10th scenario – SY being the first grandchild, MIL had a lot of say on how she should be taken care of. For instance, I didn’t get to give her organic food, because according to MIL, if a child was given organic food all the time, her body wouldn’t have the resistance to fight the chemicals when she consumed processed food later. Where as during SJ’s time, MIL didn’t seem to care so much. So I had the chance to do a lot of things which I didn’t get to during SY’s time. So, if you’re comparing what SJ got and what SY got during the same time of their growing years, it might give you the impression that SJ got more than her Jie Jie!

Well, after analyzing all the scenarios above, I would say that I do love them both equally well, even though my actions didn’t really show it. Everything has its own reasoning behind, and they all stem from having our child’s best interest at heart. Don’t you agree so?

No, I’m not trying to justify myself, because, I really think that after becoming a mother of 2, I could now understand how great a mother’s love is – a mother with 5 children could love them all equally well ,as a mother with 2 children. SY always asked me, “Do you love me, Mommy?” or “How about me?” everytime she heard me telling SJ that I loved her (I have the habit of telling them now and then that I love them without any apparent reason). And I told her, “Yes, dear. See the water at the ocean – after we take out many, many, many buckets of water from there, there’re still so much water left still. That’s like a mother’s love, we kept on giving, but it’ll never be drained.” Maybe, she didn’t understand that then, but hopefully when she’s bigger and read this later, she would. A mother’s love is not something like a cake – you either divide it equally or someone would get a bigger portion. Instead, it’s really infinity, the more you give, the more you have. And now, I think I could understand better my mom's actions too last time.

So, what’s your take in this? I’d love to hear about your experience and your analysis.


Anggie's Journal said...

I hv the same worries like u before baby J was born ... am i able to love both equally and same ....??
Some of ur scenario was just right happen to me as well ... so after reading so many scenario i guess i love both equally SAME . As u said, after delivered , everything came naturally and never under-estimate a mother love .... :P

As now, William will handle the Big J most of the time and i will handle the baby J cos baby is still on BF ... but on some of the cases Big J still need me like reading to him at night , i agreed, father is more to toys and mummy is more to reading and teaching .... wat more i have 2 boys and william can play car, robot , dinosaur with the boy ..haha

I think you both are doing great to ur 2 princess ....

ablogaway said...

Hi Anggie, thanks for the sharing. After reading this, I know that I'm not alone out there :)


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