Home Australia I admit it…I have a favourite grandchild (and, yes, all the others know it!)

I admit it…I have a favourite grandchild (and, yes, all the others know it!)

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Emma Parsons-Reid with her favorite granddaughter Elise, 16

Earlier this month, I was at a meeting of my local Women’s Institute when the conversation turned to grandchildren.

Most of my friends admitted that they have a favorite grandchild, but swore blindly that they would never reveal such a guilty secret to their adult children.

Personally I don’t understand what all the fuss is about. After all, my entire family is well aware that my oldest granddaughter, Elise, is at the top of my pecking order.

I have five granddaughters in total: Elise, 16, Isabella, 13, Scarlett, 11, Lucy, eight, and Ivy, six.

I love them all, but in my eyes Elise can do no wrong. She is beautiful, bossy and belligerent, but very loving. I can’t help but adore her more.

And I don’t hide it either. We are a close-knit family and my only daughter, Hannah, lives a five-minute drive from my home in Cardiff, with her children and her husband Scott.

As a retired civil servant, I now have a lot of free time, so if I’m bored or Elise is depressed, I like nothing more than texting her and taking her shopping. We laugh at the same things and the same things make us angry.

Emma Parsons-Reid with her favorite granddaughter Elise, 16

I get unbearably sad and angry when people are disloyal and Elise is the only one who doesn’t think I’m being too dramatic. “I understand, Grandma, I really do,” she will say.

In other words, we are like two peas in a pod. We’re so alike, Hannah is known to have said, “It’s like she gave birth to my own mother.”

Elise has me wrapped around her finger too. When we go out, she always manipulates me into buying something, and I am very happy to do so.

In return, no area of ​​Elise’s life is off limits to me. I met her friends from her school, all of her friends think I’m cool and I’m Facebook friends with her female social circle. I need to know who she associates with.

However, this is not something I do with my other granddaughters. I love them so much, but that same spark just isn’t there.

In my defense, I think many women would say that their oldest grandchild is their favorite.

Think about it, they are the ones we have spent the most time with. We have been a constant in their lives as unpaid babysitters since their parents were less aware of a newborn.

Hannah broke up with Elise’s father when she was a little girl, and even though Elise has a stepfather, I justify the preference by telling myself that I’m being that person who sets boundaries for her. Hannah tries to be strict but Elise walks all over her.

While it’s obvious to the world that I adore her, Elise likes to ask me if she’s still my favorite. I have no problem reassuring her and often tell her that’s just who she is. In fact, she could do almost anything, even commit murder, and I would defend her.

We are so physically close that he likes nothing more than lying on my lap and letting me stroke his hair.

But, according to Hannah, my open favoritism has limits. We recently went shopping and Isabella, Elise’s younger sister, came by. Elise wanted a new down duvet and I paid the £70 price without batting an eyelid. Painfully aware that she also needed to treat Isabella, I persuaded her to choose a £5 lipstick.

Hannah has a rule about spending equal amounts on my grandchildren, but I vetoed that idea, since it’s a lot to spend every time I want to spoil Elise.

However, his mother was furious. She wouldn’t talk to me and she refused to let Elise use the duvet until Isabella had one too. So, of course, here Muggins had to shell out the money.

Elise has been precious to me since the day she was born. I made it a point to be at the birth and in the delivery room I asked the midwives if I could catch her. So I was the first to hug her and the bond was created in that moment. I cried for three days straight, I felt so emotional.

There is all this love and yet, as a grandparent, you have no say in how that child is raised. As one of life’s guilty control freaks, that’s been a hard lesson for me.

When Hannah was single again, I was very happy to take care of my granddaughter while she went out with friends and went on dates.

I cut the job down to four days so I could have Elise from Tuesday to Wednesday night. She never slept! We watched television and went to the park. She never wanted to leave.

Elise had her own room in my house, with specially made curtains, although most nights she ended up in bed with me. She still came up to hug her when she was five, and my partner Kevin didn’t mind as he adored her too.

I admit itI have a favourite grandchild and yes all

“We’re like two peas in a pod,” Emma (left) says of Elise, who admits she has her grandmother “tangled around her finger.”

They are so similar in temperament that Emma's daughter (and Elise's mother), Hannah, says:

They are so similar in temperament that Emma’s daughter (and Elise’s mother), Hannah, says, “It’s like I gave birth to my own mother.”

When Hannah was reunited with Scott, Elise’s little sister Isabella arrived when she was three years old. Of course, I was happy to welcome another granddaughter, but I’m proud to say that nothing changed in our relationship. If anything, he went out with Elise more often.

However, there is a downside. Since we are mirrors of each other, I can see in his behavior how annoying I can be.

We have had some spectacular consequences over the years. Once, when I was pushed to the limit, I blurted out that she was a disappointment to me and that I would never amount to anything.

We both ended up crying that night. But I’m the only person who will stand up to Elise. And, simply put, I’m the only one she has any respect for.

I think about what will happen if my blatant favoritism backfires when the others are older. I wouldn’t blame them for judging me negatively for being so open about it. I try not to say it in front of them, but Elise does; she almost flaunts it, actually.

Isabella simply raises her eyebrows and laughs; I suspect she believes she’s dodged a bullet by sparing him all the special attention.

But Scarlett started making me feel guilty. Her reasoning is that if I don’t do something for her, she will use the fact that Elise is my favorite against me. And yes, I usually give in.

But when they ask me why I have a favorite, I’m honest. It’s a good lesson to learn early: life isn’t always fair.

For now, however, I justify the imbalance by saying that Elise needs me more than they do: they have a mom and a dad in their life, while Elise only has her mom.

On the rare occasions when I treat or pamper her sisters, I have to do it behind Elise’s back or the green-eyed monster takes action.

Although I don’t see it as pleasing her. Elise is at a very difficult age and she needs the peace of mind of knowing that someone on this planet loves her unconditionally.

No matter how hard life is or how horrible it may be, I will always be your number one fan.

As told to Samantha Brick.

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