Saturday, May 23, 2009

Struggling for Sibling Status

Believe it or not, my daughters almost never fight. Their one bone of contention, interestingly enough, involves my mother--their beloved Mimi. They had a real blow-out today ...

My cousin asked Belle to be the flower girl in her wedding. Naturally, Belle was thrilled at the prospect to be part of the attention and wear a pretty dress. She's a little fuzzy on what exactly a flower girl does, but she's stoked.

This morning, my mother called and wanted to know if Belle and I wanted to go to the bridal store in Nashua with my aunt and cousins. I had an eye doctor appointment at eleven (finally got my new contacts--woohoo!), a softball game to attend at one (several of my students were playing), and Addie had a haircut scheduled for three, so I was pretty tapped out for the day. My mother pointed out that it seemed that, while I might be busy, Belle seemed to be available. Long story short, Mimi took Belle for the day.

After Addie's haircut, we drove up the New Hampshire coastline, taking the scenic route to my mother's house. She and Belle were outside playing catch with Mollie when we got there, and they were very excited to share the details of the day. We had dinner (spaghetti and salad, mmmmmm :-)), and as we finished eating, I realized something interesting.

Addie was ripped. I mean, she was furious.

Obviously, she wasn't furious so much as she was jealous. She was the first granchild, and my parents spent a more active role in her early upbringing than most grandparents do. Therefore, Addie is used to being the light of Mimi's life. The only light of Mimi's life. My mother has always been very, very careful to make sure that Addie doesn't feel usurped from her position as princess-on-a-pedestal as far as her grandmother is concerned. However, today was unquestionably Belle's day. As far as I'm concerned, she deserved it--Addie has owned her grandmother's adoration and special moments with Mimi for fourteen years, while Belle has never had the same kind of experience. She was thrilled at the chance, thrilled at the day, thrilled at the flower girl prospect, and thrilled to be "Mimi's Girl" for a day.

I think what sent Addie over the edge was when Belle announced to her grandmother, "Mimi, I think I'm going to come live with you." Mimi said this was absolutely fine with her, and Addie's eyes just about popped out of her head. I guess Addie might as well get used to it, though--in addition to my girls, Mimi is now grandmother to Adam's little Pete (unspeakably cute, I might add) and Mary and Jon's baby is due any day now.

Do you think most parents and/or grandparents have "favorites"? Is it possible for this title to be usurped? Do all kids feel like they are the favorites sometimes (I've said to both Belle and Addie when told that I like the other one better that they are both my favorite, depending on the day)? How devastating is it for a child to realize that they are not the one and only? Is "favorite status" really all it's cracked up to be, or is it a double-edged sword? Given the interesting triangle between Mimi, Addie, and Belle, who do you feel most badly for, if any of them?

It's not a big deal, really. I mean, everyone ended up happy, and Mimi had a great day with Belle and a great dinner with all of us. It just got me thinking about some of this stuff ...


  1. Your girls are lovely!!! Don't know about this kind of rivalry as I was the only girl, and my brother the only boy...we didn't compete in that way...and my son is an only child...but I think it must be very hard for kids. Glad it had a happy end to the day for everyone, though. Have a wonderful Memorial day!!!! ~Janine XO

  2. My cousins and I always competed. Or, rather, they competed with me, since my mom and I lived with my nana and nana got me things and took me places and didn't spend as much time with them as she did with me.
    It got really intense sometimes...but it always worked out okay.
    My brothers compete with each other all the time. One is two and one is three and when they're not hanging off of my mom or my dad, they're all over me. They fight and scream at each other and it gets to the point where we just have to lock them outside so they'll stop trying to get our attention.

    Me, I feel a little bad for Mimi in this one. It seems to me like being the one in the middle of it all is a very...well, a pretty iffy place to be, ya know?

    Glad everything worked out okay, though! In my family, somebody would have come out of it with bruises.

  3. I was 1 of 69 grands (mom's side) and 31 grands (dad's side). If there was a favorite, I never knew who it was. lol!

    I'm also the youngest of 7. Mom once said, "It's natural to have a favorite every once in a while. I just don't let the others know." For ex ample - at my sibling's weddings, they were the favorite one that day. I live with my mom (see her all the time) so I bug out when the sibs visit her because I know it's not about me.

    I'm with Addie. Being the younger one, she's entitled to an "Addie Day" with her grandma. Belle had her days before Addie was born. And she'll have them again on her special days.

  4. My grandparents like my brother best. It's pretty obvious, seeing as it's China, and he's the only grandson for both families, so they LOVE him. I'm one of a bajillion girls, nothing special.

    My uncle recently had another baby girl, and she and my brother fight like wildcats over my grandma. It's funny for my own satisfaction because my brother has never had to compete with anyone for attention before. He gets really upset. He's even cried, and he's twelve.

    I definitely sympathize with Belle, being the one who always gets shunned for the favorite. :-) Your kids are really cute and photogenic though, both of them.

  5. The girls are so pretty :) So fun to get to know them! I instantly felt happy for Belle, and empathy for Addie, and both for Mimi. It doesn't hurt to have that lesson now, that love grows and multiplies. Sharing Mimi's love doesn't mean less for one or the other, but actually more. Can it be Addie's turn for another Mimi and Addie day soon?