Playing favorites

black hat and camel-colored hat next to leopard-print Coach purse
My most terrifying bag and the two hats that match it

The second-to-last decision I make before leaving my home every morning is: Which purse shall I choose? The last decision I make is: Which hat? (I have quite the selection of both purses and hats. Speaking of which, aren’t these ones pretty? They have SEQUINS in them!) 

This morning, after first deciding on my most terrifying purse (leopard print, pictured above), I tried on both hats. And even though, in my heart of hearts, I really wanted to wear the camel-coloured hat, my critical eye told me to go with the black one. 

I placed the rejected hat down gently, and apologized to it. 

“Shhhh,” I whispered at it, in my head, “Don’t tell your brother, but I love you more.”

It was at this juncture that I realized... I’ve picked up some really horrifying parenting skills from my mother.


Allow me to expand on this. 

My mother, as any good mother would, has always loved and treated her children equally. Unfortunately, this included telling each of us - separately - that she loved us more than our sibling... and she instructed us to keep that information confidential.

I, aged approximately 10, was burdened and horrified by the knowledge of this secret favoritism.

Thankfully, it was not a burden I would carry for long. 

One day, shortly after this unpleasant revelation, my brother and I were fighting. Having reached the end of all logical reasoning, my brother pulled out his trump card. Gloating, he said, "Well, it doesn't matter anyway, because Mummy loves me more!"

I, appalled by my mother's duplicitousness, screamed out, "WHAT?!? She said she loved ME more!!!"

At which point, we both went off to resolve the issue, stomping our feet and screaming "MUMMY! MUMMY!..."

She laughed that we had found her out, and confessed. 

Decades later, I reminded her of that story. I asked her what on earth she'd been thinking, engaging in such dubious methods of child-rearing? She answered that she'd just wanted to make each of us feel special. (I can't blame her for that, but it's not a technique I would recommend.)