A Canadian radio host excitingly named Buzz Bishop has stepped into a steaming pile of uh-oh in the parenting blogger world by writing a post on Sept. 18 for Babble called "Hey Guess What, I Just Need To Talk About How Much My Older Son Is Totally the Kid I Always Wanted, Whereas My Younger Son Is Kinda Boring, Smells Weird."
Just kidding, he actually wrote a post called "Not All Guys Leave: The Time My Girlfriend Got Pregnant." It's a perfectly sweet story about how he was dating some lady he really liked, she got knocked up two months later, and rather than blast out of her apartment leaving a him-shaped hole in the wall, he was jazzed about his jizz, they had the kid, they got married a few years later, and shit worked out.
Interestingly, he even admits that he was married still when he started dating his now-wife, because his divorce wasn't finalized, but the good old-fashioned Internet, you know, Biggest Fans of Cherrypicking One Sentence Out of a Thousand and Running With It, didn't care about that non-starter, and moved on hungrily to the line after that, in which he admitted that he liked his older 5-year-old son Zacharie better than his 2-year-old Charlie. They found their deal-breaker in this offending portion:
If I were to be absolutely honest, my older son is my favorite of the two. He and I are adventurous partners in crime, and I can't imagine life without him. He was an accident waiting to happen, and I'm so glad it did.
The Internet had a gif-worthy double take of "awwwwww — wait, the fuuuck?" It cringed, it got angry, felt sad, expressed alarm, wrung its hands, had a snack and still didn't know how to feel about itself after it was all said and done.
But really, if you read the whole original post (WARNING: THAT REQUIRES ACTUAL EFFORT), he's expressing this sentence in the context of a story about having made a huge leap of faith by rolling with the pregnancy, and the kid that resulted from that leap of faith — a kid that's a little bit older now, more aware, more fun, more engaging, is a literal symbol of that leap.
Honestly, I think the dude just meant, "I'm having more fun with this kid right now because he's easier to play with and engage with, and this kid is always going to be special in a specific way because he's the my little dude-bro, a kid that symbolizes my decision to roll with the consequences of my actions, live life to the fullest, reach for the moon, grab the brass ring of Doing the Right Thing and all that shit."
But he didn't. He said, "My older son is the favorite of the two." When pressed to explain, he should have said the above paragraph which I could have totally supplied him for this purpose, but nope, instead, he went on to defend the poorly worded expression in a follow-up post called, "I Should Have Said I Preferred My Older Son At This Phase in His Development, Not That He's My Favorite." Just kidding, he wrote a post called: "Admit It. You Have A Favorite Kid. I Do."
Forehead slap. To this literal minute, the Internet continues to squirm, because, yes, it's true, people with multiple kids do have favorites and we all know it's true but why are you making us admit it, Buzz Bishop? Is that REALLY what you mean, Buzz Bishop? It's just, Buzz Bishop, come on, you know that we aren't supposed to do that. You know? It's just one of those things we keep all locked up inside us as parents, just like our desire to build a time machine and go back and have just one more night of doing coke that one summer. Just me? Anyone?
In his follow-up post, Bishop further explains his favoritism:
My choosing Zacharie as my favorite is not about ‘playing favorites,' or ‘preferential treatment' when I'm parenting. I don't let Zacharie get away with anything because he's my first pick, I just .. y'know .. like him better.
Right. Right Buzz Bishop, go with that. I'm rooting for you! Because a more telling sentence to me — where, again, I don't think he actually means favorites — is the following sentence:
I've admitted that while I loved my sons the minute they were born, I didn't really fall in love with them until they could do stuff…Those first 2 years of life were not that exciting for me. My wife loved the babying of our boys, I was wanting them to run, and kick, and play. From the moment Zacharie became old enough to ‘do stuff', we have been out doing things: fishing, camping, hiking, flying kites, riding trains, going to parks. So while Z was old enough to get out and have fun, his younger brother was still in the baby stage.
I'm not in the business of defending dudes who say less-than-aware things — that would be a full time job with no benefits! — but this is one of the most common male responses to infancy that I heard from dudes while I was pregnant: Babies aren't fun for a while until they do stuff. A lot of dudes think this way! You'd be surprised! I even heard other fathers tell my husband when we were expecting to not worry, that "babies don't even get personalities for like a year or two, and that's when the fun starts."
To a woman who has carried a baby, it's sort of ludicrous, because for nine months you become acquainted with a very distinct personality of your child in utero, and that only magnifies with the massive onslaught of bonding that happens upon birth. And all the stages of the thing's development are fascinating in a million ways. But for plenty of men, this process is more mysterious and different, and I can see why — I also think there's cultural programming there, too, that men are the fun parents who "do stuff" while women are the ones who "take care" of the kids.
But you know what? I didn't think my baby was all that fun till she could run around and do stuff, either. I actually like her better and like spending time with her better now than when she was an infant or even a 1-year-old. I can say this easily because she's not being compared to anything but herself, and I'm not really making a value judgment. And so if I had another baby, a baby who was boring and not fun because she couldn't do the mambo or talk to me about Spiderman yet, I would just understand that it's a developmental preference I have, and not a reflection of my kid's ability to wow me. I wouldn't call her my favorite.
Buzz Bishop would. In the video below, he explains he just relates to his older son more (since the older kid can do stuff, basically), by saying, "if that means he's my favorite and that's the language, then yeah."
I was more than excited to find out there was a really mean Canadian out there, but it turns out the problem here is that Buzz Bishop just needs better language, better words. I can think of a couple: Kind of a doofus.
Image via Dubova/Shutterstock.