Playing Favorites.


You’ve heard of Only Child Syndrome where the only child you have gets narcissistic and spoiled from getting all of mommy and daddy’s attention? What about Other Child Syndrome? Sometimes I feel like I spend so much time thinking, talking and worrying about Sadie (my tiny twin) that her sister Mattie gets short shrift. Mattie’s fat, cute as hell, bursting with life and teeth, walking – in that ridiculously adorable Frankenstein toddle that even intermediate walkers seem to have, chatting (okay mimicking) and by and large being a normal, ready with a smile, baby. But normal doesn’t stand out in this house, normal is for pussies. Normal doesn’t get you attention. In her family of anxious misfits, her downright “I’m not looking for trouble, I just want to be held. Can’t a little lady get some attention?” attitude doesn’t make us come running. The squeaky wheel gets the grease right? Not always. Mattie may be very squeaky but she’s not under weight nor is she under the care of four therapists, a pediatrician and a pediatric GI. Sometimes when one of Sadie’s therapists comes in to “play” with Sadie, Mattie seems almost confused. She wants to play too but she’s in the way and needs to be distracted. What does that feel like for a fifteen-month-old I think to myself sometimes. Is she feeling left out? Will this leave a feeling within her that she’s not as worthy of strangers’ attention as Sadie? Will I always have to be making up to her for all the extra Sadie got? But then, just when I start to really worry, Mattie will find the plastic lid to a coffee can to chew on and it’s like Christmas came early for her. These kids, they’re easily amused.



I have a "Mattie" at my house, too. Her twin sister has 17 doctors (yes, I actually counted them once) that she sees on a regular basis. (sigh) My girls are 7 years old now, and it's been this way from the beginning. My special needs daughter has a congenital heart defect (among other things). I've always said that for everything she has physically going on with her heart, her sister has going on emotionally with hers. She doesn't understand why Emma is so "popular" - her term for her now that they are in first grade. She didn't understand why she got to "play" with the multiple therapists. She doesn't understand why I have so many "special" days with one and not the other. (Little does she know these "special days" often include tortuous medical treatment.) I go out of my way to make my "typical" daughter SPECIAL. It's hard. 99% of people we see on a day to day basis, whether it's at Target or a doctor's office or school, simply do not even SEE my sweet typical daughter who is well behaved and extremely tender-hearted. When you find your magical answer to this dilemma, I hope you will post it!!!


Hysterical!!! My four year old won't poop in the potty either. I thought he was the only one. My youngest child is the shafted one. She is so damn happy and easy! I call her the product of benign neglect. Another great and honest article.