Everything with my girls is a contest now. I don't know when it happened. They compete for my attention. They compete to see who can brush their teeth the best, who is the fastest, who can help mommy with supper the most, etc. It goes on and on. While I try my best to assure them that they are all the greatest it still seems as though life hangs on the balance of who gets their dinner plate first.
I know some parents encourage their kids to compete. It supposedly makes them strive for excellence. As for myself, I wish they wouldn't compete so much. Every child has her strengths and her weaknesses. If one of those weaknesses happens to be in something a sibling excels at well... feelings of inadequacy and doubt. I know. I have been there. (I still feel that way sometimes. I think it must be normal.)
I try (Emphasis on try, I'm not perfect.) to divide the attention and the helping hands out equally. I don't know how it happens, but it always seems to end in a fight. "Mom, she put in the sugar!" "Mom, she had two cookies." "Mom, she got two turns." "IT'S MY TURN!" Until I am crazy and I feel like at any moment my hair will turn to snakes and I can turn people to stone with a glare. The silence would be nice.... Eventually I kick them all out of the kitchen so that I can have some peace. And so I can clean up the spills.
I regularly tell each one "You're my favorite" with a whisper in their ear. Because they are all my favorites. It makes them stand a little taller and smile a little wider. When they argue about it (Because they inevitably will.) I simply say, "You are all my favorites. Addy is my favorite because she is such a good big sister. She can run really fast, but she still slows her pace when playing with someone who can't run as quickly. She is my favorite little girl with brown hair. Paige is my favorite because she cares how other people feel. She is sensitive and knows when to be quiet or when to be silly. She is my favorite little girl with red hair. Charlotte is my favorite because she is content to play alone, but she still loves to snuggle up and watch a movie. She dances around to the music in her head. She is my favorite little girl with blonde hair."
I am hoping that the constant competition slows down as they get older and involved in different activities. They are together so much yet. I think they have to compete or they would just kill each other. I have to admit that I some times use their competitive nature to my advantage. "Who can finish their chores faster?" "Who can eat the most peas?" "Who can be the quietest?" "Who can go to sleep the fastest?" If they ever figure out my manipulation, I will probably be in trouble. But for now I will take my wins any way I can.