Now, when talking to them separately, I tell each that (s)he is my favorite and why. His Highness is most like me in personality, so we relate on many levels. Plus he is the oldest, so he can physically keep up more often with whatever we are doing. The Littler One is the biggest presence; he has ALL the feelings and ALL the spunk and personality, and is just a kick to be around. And Tiny E and I have a lot in common, being the girls of the family and all, and she is the sweetest sassy lamb.
I mean, under extreme duress and coercion, I might be persuaded to pick a secret-favorite, but it would be very difficult, as I'm sure many parents would agree. I tend to have daily favorites depending on who is having a hard or easy time at any given moment, but over time those balance out fairly evenly.
One of my favorite takeaways from my year of therapy was that I need to leave my family. Or at least, leave them more often for short periods of time. Longer than, say, an evening, but not necessarily several weeks at a time or anything.
Incidentally, this is not the Cat Daddy's favorite part of my personal growth. Character-building is rarely fun.
That was, like, a year ago, and so far I've managed exactly 3 nights away from my family, with another night or two on next month's schedule. It's not quite the pace I was hoping for, but it is progress and we are getting there.
Which brings us to yesterday afternoon. Sunday afternoons are our traditional chores time. And by "our chores time," I mean "the kids' chores time." Sunday afternoons are our time to dedicate to
Usually we divide and conquer, one of us taking His Highness for bathroom duty, and the other helping the littles through their tasks. Unfortunately, I hadn't yet made it to my weekly commissary run, and we were out of snacks, so we had to change it up this time. We worked out a deal where I would go to the commissary, the Cat Daddy would help all the kids complete their chores with WAY less fussing than normal from everyone, and whoever finished by the time I got back would get to go out for ice cream.
I was not optimistic. It really could have ended up resembling something like World War III. However, they floored me by ALL finishing by the time I walked in the door with groceries. This means we had clean bathrooms, vacuumed carpets, cleared floors, empty little trash cans, and wiped-down stairwell walls. People were smiling, nobody was yelling, and I wondered if I had stepped into some parallel universe on the way from the garage to the house.
I had a happy fit, gushing about how great they all were, and how proud I was, and wasn't it fantastic to be done with the chores so we could enjoy the rest of the day?!? We all agreed that indeed it was, and I went into the kitchen to put the groceries away.
Soon the Cat Daddy came in to give me the debrief. I was mildly concerned about what hiccups they might've had along the way, but he said they all pitched in and did a really good job. I have a few theories about how my being out of sight makes them transform into angel children a lot of the time, but we figured the promise of ice cream also helped quite a bit.
The Littler One joined us in the kitchen, and I gushed over him a little bit more and asked how he thought they were able to do such a good job with so much less fussing than normal, and he said it was because I left. He then said (and I quote):
"Mom, you should leave during chores time every week! And Daddy can work with us, and you can go do stuff in the afternoon during chores time!"
My eyes brightened, and I said, "Come here! Give me a hug! I think you're right! You are SO smart!" And I immediately gave him a six-second hug.
The Cat Daddy laughed and said, "No! The Littler One! We're not supposed to send Mommy away!"
And the Littler One said, "Yes! She should go away and do things while we do chores!"
And this is why the Littler One is forever and always my favorite child...