A few weeks ago, I was trying to explain to my son that I try to give all of my children what they need, even though they don’t get everything the same, so what I view as “fair” might not look fair to them. There are even times when things are totally “unfair” because I need other kids to sacrifice in order to provide a special situation for one child at one time, but that it will all even out eventually, hopefully. This was a hard conversation, so I went into metaphor mode. I told him that if we went out to breakfast and one child got a cheese omelette with bacon and another child got a belgian waffle, that would be different, but fair. Then, if I only had enough money for the third child to have a bowl of cold cereal, that would seem unfair. I might ask the first to do without the bacon and then they could all have omelettes, or I might tell the cereal child that she would get a turn to choose another time, or it might just look unfair because she might have been eating sweets at a birthday party the night before and only want the cereal.
Obviously, it was convoluted and not that helpful, but he was nodding and seemed to understand what I was saying.
Then last night he asked, “Hey, mom, remember how you told me about going out to breakfast and Peter was going to have eggs and I was going to have a Belgian waffle, but Holly was only going to have cereal? When are we doing that?”