Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers. ~Charles W. Eliot

Monday, January 24, 2011

Who's Your Favorite?

If you have more than one child, then chances are pretty good that at some point in your life, you will be asked by at least one of them to declare your favorite. Note that this is markedly different from when your child, at any age, shouts, "You always take her side. You like her best" in the middle of a meltdown. No, I'm referring to those times when your child, with eyes full of love, asks you to be honest and make a choice. You respond that you don't have a favorite and he says he doesn't believe you. You tell her that you love and appreciate their differences and have heapfuls of love for each of them. She is not persuaded. You might even suggest to him that each child is your favorite sometimes but you and he both know that that's lame too.

I tell our kids that I hope each one feels as though she's the favorite and, being the favorite, I hope she's sensitive to the feelings of her sisters. I must have read that somewhere. I like the way it sounds. But it doesn't work. The truth is I really don't have a favorite and I really do have heapfuls of love for each of them. None of them is particularly satisfied with the response so when the inevitable eye roll comes around, I find it helpful to recall funny stories from when they were younger and the distraction is often hugely helpful. The subject often gets left hanging as we move onto another subject.

Several years ago, a friend of mine shared her experience with this issue and it remains one of my favorite anecdotes. Her middle child (of three) asked which of the three was the mom's favorite. The mom went through all the typical responses and the kid wouldn't let her off the hook. The mom finally said, "listen, you're  like the fingers on my hand; you're all different from one another but each one is special in his or her own way and I need and love each one of you and can't imagine my life without any of you." Her daughter, who was 4 at the time, looked up at her mom with big beautiful brown eyes, open wide, and said, "my favorite is my thumb".

Thumb lovers should take a look at Elise Primavera's Thumb Love. This is the story of Lulu and the thumb that she loved. Lulu was a chronic thumb-sucker. We spend the first half of the book cheering for Lulu and the thumb she loves and the second half of the book cheering for Lulu as she develops and implements a 12-step program to cure her addiction (and doesn't give up even when taunted by her thumb). It's a fun picture book that's perfect for thumb-suckers, people who know thumb-suckers, and people who love to laugh out loud.


  1. Hi Robin--
    Thanks for posting this blog on Thumb Love! So cool to see it and I'm so glad you liked the book. It is one of my personal favorites and I have gotten great feedback from parents whose kids are thumb suckers--and from parents whose kids are not.

    Thanks again and see you soon!
    Robin Corey

  2. Hi Robin,

    Thanks for posting! Thumb Love is sitting on my desk right now and is my current go-to book when I need a chuckle in the middle of the day!

    All best,