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Friday, June 29, 2007

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Carlisle Comments Playing it fair

My two daughters often bring up an interesting debate on why I like one over the other. I candidly reply, "Listen, you both are like my two eyes; you can never like one eye over the other."

I try very hard to make sure I am being very fair in my rewards and punishments sometimes way too hard! I repeatedly advise them that they shouldn't squabble over who gets the first pancake or who gets to do a lighter chore. It's very important to me that the two girls remain best friends throughout their lives; only then will I consider my job done right.

My husband and I take turns tucking in the kids at night. While he tucks the elder daughter, I tuck the younger one, and the next night we switch. We do this to keep things fair, but it has the added benefit of reducing the overall tucking time. But even with this break-even assignment, I hear one of the children yell out from her bed, "Last night you did not spend so much time with me. Why do you tuck my sister for so long?" As I said, there is no winning, but I continue to try.

All this effort to be fair with my kids got me thinking of my own childhood. I came from a house in India that was fairly crowded, with three elder sisters and many aunts and uncles who moved in and out. Even though I was the youngest, I had reached emotional maturity at a very young age by watching my siblings reach various milestones completing their education, getting married, having their kids.

I both felt and heard how my parents behaved differently with each of their children. Being true to my zodiac sign, I tried to judge every move they made and quickly learned to read between the lines. Even now I pay more attention to the words that are not spoken than to the ones I hear. I never once doubted my parents' love for me as they somehow managed to maintain a balance in a house with four daughters, two sons-in-law, two grandchildren and countless relatives.

All these years with my kids has only increased my admiration for my parents, who are no longer there to see me juggle in pursuit of equality. I know that personality adjustments are needed within any household. While on the surface it may sometimes appear as a struggle to make the perfect connections with ones you love, somehow blood is always thicker than water and I always believe the affection is never lost.

Being fair is not too much to ask, but I am sure my kids will one day forgive me if I do not put an equal number of chocolate chips in their pancakes!


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