My five-year-old can't stand when all eyes aren't on her. Not only that, she can't handle it when her brother gets something and she doesn't.
Her most recent melt-down, over a toothbrush, got me thinking about my mom. She insisted that everything was even. We got the same amount of presents at Christmas, even if it meant she wrapped socks and underwear separately.
We played the same sports, even though I have no talent for athletics and art classes was a foreign concept. I learned to hate soccer with a passion and was an art/photography major.
Even for birthdays the kid who's birthday was not being celebrated got a gift, just to be fair.
I think this line of thinking actually backfired in our house. We grew up expecting that everything should be even, everything should be fair. If it wasn't "fair" then feelings of anger, jealousy and resentment settled in.
When my dad died freshmen year of high school, I learned that things will be unfair. And when I got my first job at fourteen, I learned not to expect things will be even all around. Sure it was just a local craft store but it was my first real-world lesson on what's fair when I was passed over for raises and promotions.
Fairness is overrated.
I waited for my little one to finish her meltdown over a toothbrush her brother got and reminded her that she too got one a few months ago.
Of course, her new toothbrush was tossed out because she said she cleaned the toilet with it because she wanted to help clean. I threw it out along with all of the toothbrushes and ran to the store to replace them. She said she was joking but even if she was, I couldn't take the chance.
I wish I knew what the right thing is to say all of the time and to help my kids grow to be decent adults. I can only go with my instinct and tell them that life will not always be fair, but that's not a bad thing.