Sorry Stacey Solomon, you're wrong about every parent having a favourite child

I’d pick running over swimming any day of the week, I prefer wearing dresses to jeans and I’m partial to pasta rather than pizza. 

All my friends know I’d go for tea over coffee, I’d choose a rom-com movie over a sci-fi one and hands down, I opt for sun over snow.

When it comes to most things in life, I have no hesitation picking favourites. Whether it’s food, clothes, music or films, I’ve learnt to know what I like best.

But not when it comes to my children, Theo and Immy. 

I thought that was pretty much universal – until I heard Stacey Solomon on her Crafty Christmas show last week.

‘Ah Zach, my favourite child,’ the 33-year-old mum-of-four was recorded saying. ‘Just kidding – but he is. I’m just joking again – everyone’s got one, don’t pretend you don’t.’

Erm, I’m sorry Stacey, but I don’t. And millions of other parents out there don’t either.

Theo, five, and Immy, three, couldn’t be more different. Theo, although he does still have his moments, is pretty chilled out, has an extremely sensitive side and has always had the cheekiest sense of humour.  

Immy, on the other hand, is fiercely independent, has to have everything done just so and can’t wait to grow up and be a ‘big girl’.  

Do those differences mean I prefer one to the other? No, of course not. As my mum used to say about me and my sister, I couldn’t put a pin between how much I adore them.

I love the fact that they are completely unique. In fact, we celebrate their differences as much as we can. 

We send Theo to piano and dance classes, two things he has expressed an interest in since being tiny, while we’re sticking with swimming lessons for Immy.

We buy Immy jigsaws upon jigsaws, as she spends hours doing them, while we got Theo a Numberblocks game a while ago, to compliment his love of counting and adding. 

Immy prefers drawing and colouring, while Theo opts for imaginary play with his superhero figures.

And just as they are completely different children, they both have different wants and needs from my husband Tom and I.  

Theo likes us to be close to him when we’re sitting on the sofa or in bed, and still enjoys a cuddle, so I give him that time and physical affection.

Immy, although younger, much prefers her own space and doing things on her own, so I force myself to hold back from helping her put on her socks and shoes and bite my tongue when I want to offer to help feed her.

But while I love them for their different qualities and express my feelings for them in various ways, it doesn’t mean I like one better than the other. I couldn’t possibly be prouder of either of them.  

Now Stacey claims she was joking, even as she said it. Twice.

Even if she was just messing around, how will her other children – Leighton, now 10, Rex, three and Rose, one – feel when they see that clip? 

To know that your mum, the person who is supposed to be your biggest fan, kids about preferring your sibling? Well, I mean, that’s got to cut pretty deep. 

Even as I approach 40, I’d be devastated if my mam said something like that about my sister, in private, never mind on national TV, for millions of people to see!

The former X-Factor star wrote an emotional Instagram post in March this year, when Zach, her eldest child, turned 14.

Stacey wrote about how Zach had changed her whole life. 

She added: ‘Zachary I’m so proud of the man you are becoming and the kind, caring, amazing person that you are.’

No doubt he did change everything for her. Having your first baby is a magical experience that turns everything upside down and leaves you feeling emotions you’ve never felt before.

I will always remember taking Theo home from the hospital, and laughing hysterically at the pure wonder and joy of bringing this tiny little baby into our flat and our world. 

And waking up the next morning to see him lying in his Moses basket next to my side of the bed – well, it blows me away to this day.

But the same is true with any child you have. I have equally special memories of bringing Immy home – different, of course, as we had to negotiate introducing Theo to his new baby sister, but just as amazing.

I’ll never forget what it felt like to hold my precious little girl on one side of the sofa and seeing Tom cuddling into Theo on the other end and thinking, ‘This is it. This is my family.’

Since then, I’ve made sure that both of my children know they’re equally important, equally liked and equally valued.  

So Stacey, maybe in the future, keep your preferences to your ice cream flavours or your music choices and keep your children out of it.

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