Saturday, February 2, 2008

They're not the same...

All I know about children is from having my own and from babysitting when I was younger. I read the magazines and I've seen the talk shows and various documentaries, and I've watched the way other people behave with their kids, but really, you don't know kids until you have your own.

With Oldest, it was a whole new experience, because never in my babysitting jobs, did I have to care for a newborn. The youngest child I cared for was around a year old, and the rest of them were toddler-aged. I learned as I went, discovering there were different cries for different things, I learned her facial expressions and which ones meant she was pooping. I watched her observe and learn to do things on her own.

When Middle came along, I expected similarities. I knew they would have different personalities, I just expected the same learning curve. How wrong I was!! Middle was content to sit in her crib in the mornings, until someone came along to get her out. Oldest would rattle the gate of her crib and eventually learned to climb over to escape her caged bed.

Middle stubbornly held onto her bottle until at 2 years old, I confiscated them all and hid them, so she had no choice but to conform to a sippy cup, showing her obvious displeasure at using one. Oldest was happy to move onto regular cups just like Mommy and Daddy used.

While Oldest was somewhat easy to potty train, and she was out of night-time pull-ups for good by 3 years, Middle refused to relinquish her pull-ups and it took lots of coaxing and encouragement to get her to use her new underwear. Finally at 3 1/2 she was using the bathroom on her own and no longer wearing pull-ups.

When Youngest came along, I had lowered my expectations and figured that she would be somewhere in between the two older sisters. I am completely blown away by everything that Youngest has accomplished at the age of 2, and I just have to write it down for my own memory's sake.

She kicked the bottle habit before she was one year old, wanting to use a sippy cup just like her sisters did. She is almost completely potty trained, with the exception of her pooping. She has skipped over the pull-ups and has been wearing underwear for about a week now and runs to me, doing the pee-pee dance, singing "pee! pee!" and we rush over to the little potty to pee. Today, she has refused to use the little potty and wants to use the regular toilet. How cute it is to see her little butt balancing on the edge of the toilet seat so she doesn't fall in, her little hands gripping my arms for support.

When I cook, she drags the dining room chair over to help. And I do mean help! She says " 'tir! 'tir!" and tries to grab the spoon to stir whatever it is I am stirring. She names everything she sees on the counter-- knife, bowl, pan, oil, pepper, spoon, towel, 'nana, and more. She puts away the clean silverware and puts them in thier proper place in the drawers. She knows where I keep pretty much everything, as she follows me around most of the day and if I ask her to go and get something, she will go straight for it and bring it back.

Youngest talks in sentences and makes herself understood pretty clearly. In fact, I understand her better than I did Middle. Middle mumbled and made exaggerated mouth movements that made it nearly impossible for me to lip-read her and Hubby would shrug when I asked him what she said. Middle has only recently started talking clearly and has done a complete 180, from mumbled words to clearly spoken sentences. Youngest, on the other hand, talks and signs and lets me know exactly what she wants, and she does know what she wants!

I often wonder that this baby inside of me will be like. Will it be one that is reluctant to give up comforts and resistant to change the way Middle is? Will it rail against being "trapped" in the crib and protest gates in the doorways like Oldest? Will it watch the older kids and learn from them the way Youngest has? Or will it be different and develop on it's own pace, marching to the beat of it's own drummer?

I've definetely learned that I cannot have expectations for the way they develop, but I can have expectations for the way they should behave at a certain age-- learning that they need to pick up their own messes, help around the house, be respectful to each other, to name a few. Being a mother is a hard job, but is rewarding at the end of the day. I might be ready to pull my hair out on some days and start wondering if it is bed-time yet, but I can say that I wouldn't change a thing! I love watching them discover something new, seeing the awe on their faces and joy when they laugh. I love when they run to me and hug me. Each child is different and they all have different needs and I have learned how to react to Oldest and then change tactics for Middle and yet again for Youngest. I wouldn't change a thing!

9 comments:

barefoot gardener said...

This is such a sweet post! I wish I could think of my kids that way. I tend to be too focused on looking for bedtime to notice such things. Well, and the fact that Big and Little Sprout are almost 8 yrs apart, too.

Lantana said...

I do think that Mountain Mama is one of a kind! Just reading her blog posts makes a person feel good all over.

I often look back and wish I'd of gotten to know my kiddies better when they were young. With 5 children, I was so busy. I always looked forward to Sunday when the Sunday School bus would pick them up ad yes, barefoot, bedtime for the kiddies was when you plop down on the sofa and think, "Whew!"

Lantana

Donna said...

Maybe your next will be a boy! That's a whole different bundle of joy! (I only have one boy - age 3, but I can't believe how different he is from my friends' girls!)

Great post.

DJ Kirkby said...

I've given you an award. Please wear a costume when you come to collect it and describe your outfit in my comment box. P.S. I keep forgetting to say, my little santas are adorable, best buy I've made in a long time, thank you!

Sparx said...

Hi Jenny! Just popped over for a long-overdue catch up on your blog - I loved this post, and the one with the photographs, I love where you live, it looks amazing.

Looking forward to finding out who's in that belly of yours - I bet your last guess is right and they march to their own drum.

How is hubby getting on with interviews? I left a comment under your jiffy lube post because I'm so outraged. I'll also check out your eBay shop.

I love that you made your own napkins out of vintage fabric - have you tried putting anything like that on eBay?

Sparx said...

Hi Jenny! Just popped over for a long-overdue catch up on your blog - I loved this post, and the one with the photographs, I love where you live, it looks amazing.

Looking forward to finding out who's in that belly of yours - I bet your last guess is right and they march to their own drum.

How is hubby getting on with interviews? I left a comment under your jiffy lube post because I'm so outraged. I'll also check out your eBay shop.

I love that you made your own napkins out of vintage fabric - have you tried putting anything like that on eBay?

jenny said...

Barefoot-- I have my days where I am wondering if they'd notice it was still light outside if I put them to bed early!! :o) But most of the time, they're pretty good as long as I keep them busy.

Lantana-- My mom has said that she enjoyed staying home with us after we moved to Louisiana because she was so tired after working 8 hour days at the factory and then coming home to housework and kids. I am glad I get this chance to be home with my girls and catch those fleeting moments with them!

Donna-- Girl or boy, I'd be happy with whatever I get! Part of me hopes it is another girl, and another part hopes for a boy. As long as baby is healthy and everything is in the right place, that is a blessing in itself! Glad you liked the post! :o)

jenny said...

Dj-- I'll be right over!! I'm so glad you like the Santas. I never did get that email you sent me explaining why you couldn't open the box yet. Must have gotten lost in cyberspace!

Sparx-- I've been behind on your blog along with other ones too! I'll catch up soon with you! No luck with Hubby's interviews so far, but we still have hope! I read your Jiffy Lube comment and we did think about that, but then we'd need to hire a lawyer and he has nothing in paper that proves he was hired by them. It'd be he said, they said. I think we will just move past it and keep hunting for job leads.

You think anyone would buy napkins like that? Something to think about..

Dhor said...

Jenny - I'll bet your newcomer will be just as quick as youngest! He'll want to learn quick and be just like his big sisters and be a big-boy! Oh, did I just asume that it'll be a boy? Well yeah, of course cuz I'm hedging that it is. I'm psychic you know ;)

Ya know, whether quick at moving on from things like that I know that at least your new baby will feel ok in it's capabilities and speed, you seem like suck a supportive loving mommy - no matter what the kids put you up to in that dept, that it makes me so happy to see. So happy to see that there are 4 kids growing up in this world with a wonderful loving supporting family. It's nice to see.