Friday, June 3, 2011

Personality Differences Between Siblings

Warning - I am once again more-or-less just rambling about thoughts that pop into my head regarding my kids. I hope that it has some coherence if you do choose to read it.

As I was going through our morning routine today, I was swaying around with Baby Boo, when I had a little flashback to Little Dude at her age. I rarely ever just walked around with him the way I do with her. I started feeling bad for a second, but then I remembered why I didn't do that with him; he didn't like being held! Little Dude was a very independent baby and past the newborn stage he truly seemed to prefer to be on the floor doing his own thing. I just figured that was what babies did because I was naive and inexperienced with babies. 17 months later, along came his sister, and tipped my notions upside down. Baby Boo is very emotionally dependent on me. Not to an extreme, but she certainly prefers to be in my arms than anywhere else. If she's not in my arms, she at least wants me in the same room or else she freaks out. I guess this neediness is a rather normal thing for an (almost) 9 month old. . . who knew? Not I!
My cuddle bug

I think Little Dude took the whole independence thing to an extreme some days. There were several occasions where he would be playing with his toys on the floor, I would try to join in by playing with him, and he would get mad at me for butting in. I felt like an absentee parent at times, but he honestly enjoyed having the alone time. I don't recall him ever crying because I went into the next room. Baby Boo hates when she can't see me. She needs to be really absorbed in whatever she is doing and well distracted in order to not care that I step away.
My son at 7 months wondering why I'm interrupting his playtime.

So which is better?

Honestly I loved Kaelan being independent most of the time. He did still like my attention, just not all of the time. It allowed me to have a lot of freedom to relax or get things done around the house. The biggest down side to this was that he wasn't much of a cuddler. He liked playing with me some of the time, but he didn't cuddle with me. When he wasn't feeling well from being sick or from teething, I remember relishing the moments that he actually showed that he needed me and wanted to cuddle. With Hailey, cuddles are necessary several times a day no matter how she feels. She really cares where her momma is. She doesn't have strong stranger anxiety, but she almost always prefers to be held by me more than anyone else. I relish that. Her clingy attitude of course has its downside too. It is much harder to get anything done when she is awake. I have to come up with much more creative ideas to distract her, and even those have a time limit. After a while, no matter what I offer Hailey she simply doesn't care anymore and demands to be held.

Kaelan was certainly the "easier" kid but is that part of the criteria for answering the question of what is better? In the end I honestly love my kids' individual differences. The obvious answer is that there is no better child. They are amazing because of these differences and wouldn't be themselves without them.

I love my little dude and his independence. He is also calm (most of the time) and relatively cautious about several things. For example, he loves the playground but he is very cautious and methodical about how he climbs the jungle gym. He rarely goes down slides and takes a while to warm up to the swing. When he does go down slides, it is always on his belly and feet first. He doesn't like letting go of control. I think this is the reason he walked so late. As a baby he was sitting up unassisted by four months, pulling up by six, and cruising by seven. He didn't walk until around seventeen months. It wasn't because he didn't have the coordination; it was because he refused to fall. By the time he finally did start walking, he very rarely ever fell. We didn't have a time where we had to keep a close eye on him in case he hurt himself. Before Kaelan came along, I couldn't relate to that at all.

Hailey on the other hand falls left and right as she tries to increase her mobility. I'm sure part of that motivation comes from her desire to keep up with her big brother, but I can tell that a lot of it is just her way of being. She is almost nine months and she isn't far from walking on her own. She tries to let go with both hands all the time and the result is she falls a lot. She thoroughly enjoys zooming down the slides at the playground, and she giggles her head off when I push her on the swing. Hailey may be clingy, but she is a little spit-fire. She knows what she wants and she has no trouble communicating her disgust with you if she can't have it. As a baby this communication comes in the form of intense frowning, shrieking and hard swipes to the face. Maybe I'm speaking too soon, but I think I won't ever have to worry about her as she gets into dating age. She will be the one stomping all over the hearts of boys. 

It makes me want to have four more kids just to see the extent of the differences. . . and then I realize that is just crazy. I will (hopefully) get to indulge that curiosity with one more at least. I am very interested in where on the spectrum that child will land.

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