I suppose I shouldn't be... after all, the DNA of every living thing on the planet is made up of the same stuff, just in different proportions. Every parent of more than one child has seen this scientific fact in action. We're no exception.
Before Bonus Baby came along though, one of our Critters was "differenter than the rest" and that was, of course,Third Child. Firstborn, Only Son and Sweetie Petite-y shared among other things the same coloring, build and sense of humor. They still do. Third Child was often left wondering if she was adopted (she's not) or stolen by gypsies (also false) or other such fantasies of the maligned and misunderstood.
I know where she's coming from - growing up I was (eh-hem... still am) a displaced Princess too.
Third Child also has the unfortunate ability to push my buttons more than the rest...make that more than the rest put together. Which means, of course, that she is actually the most like me...
Anyhow, when Bonus Baby came along, she was genetic proof that Third Child was indeed a flesh and bone relative.
"My mini-me!" was her elated cry when she realized that B.B. resembled her so closely - a very telling statement. However, while B.B. does indeed exhibit many of the same character traits, she also shares plenty of common ground with her other siblings. This has motivated Third Child to try and stack the deck in her favor.
One of the ways she does this is with repetition and positive/negative reinforcement....
"Who's your favorite?" I heard her coaching B.B. a while back.
The answer, when satisfactory, earned affectionate praise and lavish attention. And when someone other than Third Child was B.B.'s response, a loud "NO! They're mean!" could be heard.
Another time Bonus Baby came downstairs from their shared bedroom and boldly proclaimed "Me & (T.C.) are waiting outside the lines!"
(If you are not a fan of recent teen pop idol Greyson Chance, this will have no meaning for you, but "Waiting Oustide the Lines" is the title of his new hit single. Third Child loves Greyson Chance - wants to be Mrs. Greyson Chance someday. She was able to attend one of his concerts with a friend, had to miss another amid much drama, and fills the house with countless repititions of her favorite song, which she joins in full voice.)
Bonus Baby, while she seems to enjoy his music, has obviously been trained to utter this catch phrase.
She has also learned to say "No! I don't love you! (T.C.) is my favorite!" - again through repetition and reinforcement.
The funny thing is, Bonus Baby pushes Third Child's buttons (and vice-versa) the same way she pushes mine. Note the similarities:
The above pose, or something similar, is very common in our household, which is why I included it in a recent post. Unfortunately, Third Child took offense.
"How come I have to be the mad one?" she wondered.
Now, I love all of my Critters dearly and have always tried to treat them equally, if not identically, making allowances for individual personalities and temperaments. This is sometimes a challenge (HUGE UNDERSTATEMENT!!!) and almost always impossible for them to appreciate. So at times, it may seem like I am playing favorites.
Since FirstBorn, Only Son and Bonus Baby have undeniably unique positions in the family, they tend to be the most envied. (Sweetie Petite-y is often lovingly referred to around here as the Forgotten Child - but that's another post...) I think it is important to Third Child that she is B.B.'s favorite because she feels like she isn't mine...
This, of course, is ridiculous. They are all my favorites, and when any of them asks, that's what I tell them. (Husband, however, always claims that anyone other than the asker is his personal favorite, no matter that he may have just told that Critter someting different.)
Third Child, not to be deterred, has recently begun telling, not asking, employing the same training method on me that she uses on Bonus Baby.
"Hey Momster, it's your favorite!" announces her voice on the answering machine.
"Can we have pasta for dinner tonight because I'm your favorite?"
"Your favorite wants to know if she can go to _____'s house tonight..."
(Her siblings are quick to point out that referring to oneself in third person is a sure sign of mental instability.)
I find her attempts humourous, and even sweet. Sweeter still are the little messages she leaves on my computer:
(courtesy of Third Child)
With results like this, who am I to mess with her system?