I’m not sure why, but for some reason I thought my two children would turn out pretty similar. After all, they share the same mix of genes. I don’t know where this ignorance came from because I know from experience that siblings are often very different in terms of personality and behaviour, so I should have known better.
I know “good” mothers shouldn’t compare their kids but let’s face it – it’s hard not to. Your first child is like your reference point and then everything the second does that differs always throws you a bit at the beginning.
Ben is growing up so fast and it’s amazing how little four month old people already start to exhibit proper characters. I want to record his little quirks in case they disappear in a few months time. This is what makes him different:
- He’s mercurial. He can be the happiest little guy, cooing and smiling to himself and then in an instant something will displease him and the sunny nature is gone.
- He ADORES his mama. My daughter was attached to me like most babies are, but this guy is BESOTTED. He is happiest in my arms and my arms only.
- He’s not the biggest fan of eating. His sister used to gulp her bottles down and look for more, whereas he can take it or leave it. He’ll often stop mid-bottle and smile at me and then I know trying to give him the rest is a lost cause.
- He gets MAD. If his beanie slips down over his eyes a little bit or you don’t feed him EXACTLY when he wants to be fed, he’ll throw a proper temper tantrum and it’ll take him a while to forgive you.
- He’s more sensitive to sound and stimulation. I know all babies need some time out but this guy gets grouchy if there are too many loud noises or too many people and you have to take him somewhere quiet and then he’s happy again.
I don’t want to label my kids so early on but I can already see the differences developing. And these differences are what make being a parent so interesting (and so hard). You also approach your parenting so differently: with the first you’re a bag of nerves and insecurity, always doubting yourself and often overwhelmed. And with the second (and last for us) you can enjoy it a bit more and also APPRECIATE it because you know you are doing everything for the last time.
I’m not sure I completely agree with Barbara Kingsolver’s quote below but it certainly made me think, so I’ll leave you with it:
“A first child is your own best foot forward, and how you do cheer those little feet as they strike out. You examine every turn of flesh for precocity, and crow it to the world. But the last one: the baby who trails her scent like a flag of surrender through your life when there will be no more coming after–oh, that’ s love by a different name.”
Barbara Kingsolver, The Poisonwood Bible
Photo by Camilla Blomfield at Freshshoots