The Taz called me yesterday after school to let me know the good news.
“Guess what!” he exclaimed. “I made the Student Council!” I couldn’t contain my excitement for him as I told him how proud I was of him. This was an achievement that he had been striving for all year long. He had tried unsuccessfully at the beginning of the year, but his behavior and classroom habits weren’t good enough to be able to run. His teacher let him down gently as he explained all the duties of being on the student council, and how my son hadn’t exhibited the kind of behavior that warranted such responsibility. Needless to say, my son was crushed. But the teacher also told my son that if he worked hard and proved that he could be responsible, he might be able to run again later on. So the fact that my son was able to run this time was a big deal. Being voted in by his classmates was the icing on the cake.
To celebrate, I told him we’d pick out something for dessert that night, and that I would let him pick out dinner. I was trying to think of ways to make this an even bigger deal. I even mulled over singing him “Congratulations to you” to the tune of Happy Birthday. Don’t worry, that idea never manifested. But I was just beaming with pride. I immediately let Mr. Wonderful know, and then let the rest of the world know by posting the news as my Facebook status.
I picked the kids up after work, and we were on our way to the store. (Sidenote: I think this is the first time that the Taz had no problem going grocery shopping since it was for his special celebration dinner. Note to self: let the Taz be in charge more over deciding dinner options.) I asked the Taz what he wanted to eat, and he rattled off idea after idea until a decision was finally made. And that’s when another voice piped up in the back seat.
“You never made this big of a deal when I made Student Council…..”
Sometimes having two kids is like a shaky balancing act.
It’s true, even though I argued the point with the Drama Queen. The stone cold truth was I really didn’t make this big of a deal about her achievement. I had been proud of her, for sure. I had congratulated her. But I did not have visions of singing her any songs to the tune of “Happy Birthday”.
Does this make me fail as a parent?
The thing about good kids is that their good deeds can go unnoticed. My daughter has always been the “good kid”. Teachers have raved about her whenever we get together for conferences, telling me how incredibly helpful she is and how she always manages to get her work in on time. And they rave about the amount of care and effort she puts into her work. I have never had to stand over her and prompt her to finish her homework, or even to remind her about dates for projects. She keeps tabs on it and just does it herself, and every once in awhile she will hand me a paper or two that need my signature. If I need help in the housework – such as clearing the dishrack before I wash the dishes – I only have to ask her once. When I am making dinner, she will even take it upon herself to just start clearing the table so we can eat that night. Even though she and her brother fight nonstop, at times when he needs some extra help she is right there to guide him. In essence, she is the kid that doesn’t need to be worried about because she is dependable.
Her brother, on the other hand….. Well, you’ve read all the stories about him. He’s the one who comes home missing half of his clothes and seriously has no idea where they went. You can give him very clear instructions, repeating them three times, and he will forget them immediately. He forgets his lunch at home, does half his homework and forgets about the rest, cries if we have to do something that infringes on his free time, does somersaults in the middle of a crowded room because he is bored….. I could go on and on. If you really want to know more, just read a couple of my past blogs.
When I was young, my parents’ favorite story they told me was how good of a baby I was. And they were thankful for this. When I was one year old they had my younger sister and she required all of their attention. So thank goodness I was a happy baby. They would prop me up on a pillow, stick a bottle in my mouth, and then tend to my sister. They were proud of this story.
Me? I think this story sucks.
How nice that I got to sit staring at a wall sucking on my bottle that was propped up in my mouth while the baby was consoled and cooed at. How nice that I was a happy baby that needed no attention so that they could give it to my sister.
How nice that my daughter has exceeded all expectations of a normal 11 year old so that it has become the norm for her to be great, and I am crowing about my son because he was able to stop standing on his head in class long enough to be voted into Student Council.
It’s a hard balance. In the black and white, it is totally unfair that a “good” kid is overlooked when they continuously do well, and the “not-so-good” kid is applauded whenever they make a step in the right direction. But in the grayscale of the situation, some kids need a little more prompting to continue on the right path because if their efforts aren’t noticed they’ll just stop doing well. I’d like to think that I give my daughter the proper attention and praise as she continues to excel in everything she does. But perhaps I have some work to do in that department.
Do you have more than one child with very different personalities?
How do you cater to their needs while making things fair?
Do you ever feel like your parenting might be off balance in favor of one child over the other?