When we were getting ready to have our second child, we did have a slight idea that no two children are alike. In fact, I remember the night before we actually had our second, I had this sudden surging of anxiety. What if my second was too much like my first? With panic gripping me, I remembered the nearly 18 months of sleepless nights, a baby that didn’t nap for more than 20 minutes twice a day, and hated eating. All of this was slightly manageable because I didn’t work for the first year so I could at least zone while the baby slept for those few meager moments. However, with our second, I was already running my own home child care, found out I didn’t qualify for maternity leave (nor my husband for paternity leave) and faced the fact I was going to be working from about the time my second was 10 days old.
As it turned out, however, my children are as opposite as can be. I can remember thinking when they were little, how much they looked alike, but as they continue to grow into their own people, I begin to see that despite the fact that they have the same parents, they are very very different. Here is just a small list of the ways that I see how much contrast there are between the two of them.
1.) My oldest was extremely difficult until he hit the 18 month mark. He didn’t like to sleep or eat. My youngest however, was great until 18 months. He slept well, ate well and played well. We are still waiting for the youngest to grow out of his tantrums…. 18 months later.
2.) My oldest likes to crumble food into itty bitty pieces. (A HUGE pet peeve of mine) My youngest likes everything whole. For example, he won’t eat strawberries which are neatly cut up, he prefers to eat the entire thing, including the stem. For the oldest, it’s better if it’s cut.
3.) My oldest rarely threw tantrum and when he did, a simple stern look and a raised voice would do the trick. My youngest will raise his voice back or laugh in our faces. Still trying to figure out how to work around this one.
4.) My oldest was always very good at walking away from conflict even if he had the right to stand up for himself. I worry sometimes that my youngest will be the one doing the bullying, but at the very least, he won’t allow himself to be bullied.
5.) My oldest was known for screaming for hours in the car. My youngest sleeps in the car.
6.) To this day, my oldest will rarely spend any time playing in his own room. The youngest will gladly play in his room, but I do realize that many times it’s because he is doing something that perhaps he shouldn’t be doing, like shown in this blog here.
7.) My youngest loves spice! He loves to eat jalapeños, chili (you name it, he will at least try it. My oldest will say that even a sprinkling of pepper is way too hot for him. Hopefully someday he will grow out of this as our entire family is one of spice eaters.
8.) I am constantly asking my oldest to speak up because we cannot hear what he is saying. The youngest, we are constantly reminding him we are not hard of hearing.
Now, I’m sure that there are many other ways in which these two are opposite, some of which are escaping my mind at the moment. I marvel at the fact that they can be so different. I mean, I realize that children cannot possibly have the same set of parents. It’s not to say that their parents become entirely different people, but there are so many things vary in the environment. Even though I truly believe I am trying my utmost to hold my children to the same standards at the same ages, the environment has changed. Two parents with one child are very different than two parents with two children. The second child comes into the environment where already it isn’t all about them. They have to learn to share from an age earlier but also working on their side is that the parent can’t be on top of their every move because they are busy with the other aspects of family life (helping with homework or negotiating drop offs for sports, sleep overs, whatever). I often find myself questioning if someday they will act more alike or if we will continue to shake our heads and wonder about their uniqueness. I guess it shows will make us stronger parents in the end because we will have dealt with several different scenarios. Even if the scenario is similar, the personalities and the reactions from both the parents and the children are unique to each situation. =)