Timon’s Tongue – a One Millimeter Battleground for “Fairness” and “Equality”

“Seriously, where did any of us ever get the crazy idea that all our kids should be treated equally at any given time?”

So wrote one of our wonderful readers (and commenters), HB, in the comment conversation following our “Sucker Punch” post about parenting “kids with issues” and their siblings.

We were talking about the attention (and other time, assistance, etc.) we spend on one child (usually, “Issues Kid”, sometimes fake-named “Jimmy” on this blog), how the others respond to that (often, not very well … ) … and the repercussions all around (ouch …..).

It’s not the easiest subject for me, because I do feel this issue has been a hard one for my family … and for me.

But as for where anyone got the idea that our kids should be treated equally all the time … well, I can definitely say that in my house, at least, that idea came directly from my three kids, who were keeping constant inventory!

I used to count Christmas presents to make sure the numbers were even …. everything always had to be even, all the time …. because they were all keeping track. Always.

My favorite and most illustrative story of this is when I bought three identical Lion King plastic placemats for my kids …. three of the exact same placemats, because I knew that they would fight over three different ones ….. but somehow, some way, they figured out that Timon’s tongue (which was maybe … MAYBE … a millimeter long) was white on two of the placemats and pink on one of them. I kid you not.


And then they fought over that fricking pink-tongue placemat … every … single … night.

* sigh *

The issue doesn’t just come up within the family. I have run across the same “inventory-taking” from other parents when discussing what a particular child may need in school (modifications, extra assistance, extra time, note-takers) … or in life (more patience, more time, more help).

They say it’s not fair for one kid to have that. Or not appropriate. Because if one kid gets that, shouldn’t they all?

Well ……

In real life (not kids’-eye view) regarding for what’s “fair” … I have used the following analogy with these other parents:

If one kid has strep throat and one kid doesn’t, is it fair that you only give antibiotics to the kid with strep throat?

It doesn’t have anything to do with fair.

It has to do with what they need.

And if people aren’t getting that … they are probably still fighting over one millimeter pink tongues, too.