Affinity, Not Favoritism

As all parents of more than one child will agree, there is such a thing as feeling closer to one of their child in certain aspects, having an easier time with one child than the other when it comes to emotions, and the feeling of “knowing” one of their children better than the other. No, that’s not favoritism. It’s called affinity.

Rick and I often talk about this phenomenon, and we’re impeccably opposite when it comes to it: he has more affinity with Lydia, and I have more affinity with River.

(Guess who’s holding who in that picture)

Why?

When I ask Rick why he feels like that, he says it’s because Lydia is calmer, likes to cuddle more, is a little bit more lovey than River is, and she just automatically runs to daddy when he’s around.

With me and River, we’re both very energetic and love a good mess, we love making funny faces and noises, and we have the same kind of exploding temper (it’s much easier for me to deescalate River than Lydia when it comes to tantrums).

Whether the fact River was home 11 days before Lydia has any part to play in this, I highly doubt it does. Lydia and I have excellent cuddles, she loves hugging me and giving me kisses, and she’s always following me around when I’m home with them on my days off. However, I have a weird “knowing” feeling when it comes to River – she’s much more predictable to me, much easier to calm and soothe. It could be because we have similar temperaments and all, or it could be that she just comes off as easier to settle down. Lydia isn’t much of a crier, but when she does cry or throw a fit, calming her down is like pulling teeth at times.

And this is perfectly fine and normal.

Our girls are genetically identical, yet they have very, very different personalities. They get along great, they’re both genuinely good kids, they love their parents and dog, and they’re very intuitive. But they handle situations in completely different ways, from soothing themselves to handling obstacles: Lydia will suck her thumb until she’s composed and ready to face her tiny life while River has no coping mechanism and will explode in frustration for a bit, then calm down as she finds something else to do; and though they’ll both figure their way out of difficulties with toys or snack containers, River is more practical and get-it-done while Lydia whines for a bit and then figures it out.

Again, this is not favoritism. This isn’t me saying I like River more than Lydia and Rick is the opposite way. This is me explaining a weird phenomenon that happens in every family. My love for both River and Lydia is unconditional, everlasting, and equal – regardless of affinity. Which is why my heart hurts when I think of our plans of adding one more little baby to our household. But that’s a subject for another entry.

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