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Comparing Not Judging

I think we've all heard that you aren't supposed to compare your children. But I'm calling BS on that. We are humans. What we do IS compare. What we really shouldn't do is make value judgements based on those comparisons.

I find the differences between my two children fascinating. They both come from the same parents, have the same genes, were conceived in the same way, grew in the same womb, were birthed in mostly the same way, and were treated basically the same after birth. Slight variations, but nothing major.

And yet, we can already see that they have very different personalities. Heck, they acted very different in the womb, after birth and every day since! They have different needs, wants and ways to get those needs and wants fulfilled. They are each hard in their own way. They are each easy in their own ways. Some overlap, but not all. Every difference, every nuance just fascinates me. I love them each incredibly much for the same reasons, and for different reasons.

As I'm sure I've written in great length both here and everywhere else, the Pumpkin was not an "easy" baby*. She was fussy and high needs*. She needed constant holding and movement. After hitting the 4 month sleep regression at 3.5 months old, she stopped sleep well (UNDERSTATEMENT!), and she was never a good napper (for the first 3 months, she would nap only on us). This was and is a basic part of her personality. She still needs to be moving and fidgeting constantly, and she needs adult interaction pretty constantly, including still being held and picked up regularly. This means that she is both daring in her physical abilities and a great cuddler.

So far, the Pookie seems to be a bit "easier" of a baby*. We've been able to put him down for chunks of time, and he'll happily look at what's around him, wave his arms and kick his legs, reach for and play with toys and generally be content. There are plenty of times he needs to be held and walked around, but it's no where close to what the Pumpkin needed. He naps lying down in his crib, although he takes longer, better naps in the swing. He is no where near as fidgety as his sister was/is.

When I was home on maternity leave with the Pumpkin, I had to get out of the house just about every day. She screamed (not cried, screamed) from the minute I put her in the carseat until I got her out. So whenever we'd arrive somewhere, I'd immediately get her out and put her in my sling. Most of the time, she would be just as happy as could be in my sling for the whole time we'd be out. As long as I was moving around and maybe bouncing. She'd slide into whichever kind of sling perfectly and usually get a nice nap all curled in.

When I was home on maternity leave with the Pookie, I went out only a few times. He just didn't do so well out. He likes to nurse with my shirt pulled all the way up and without a cover, and he likes to nurse a lot. He poops, then poops again, and then poops some more, often leaking more than once on his clothes. It got to be such a hassle to stop everything to change his diaper AND clothes, plus I'd struggle to nurse him without flashing the world my whole breast. He mostly does fine in the car seat, and even falls asleep in it. But he does not do that well in the sling! He doesn't seem to slide in it right, and it won't calm him down if something else is the matter like he's hungry (it usually would for the Pumpkin). I love the sling and want to use it all the time still, but he does not want to curl in like the Pumpkin used to. He wants to face out and see the world. Luckily, now that his neck is strong enough, I put him facing out in my Moby Wrap, and then we do pretty well.

Emotionally, I have always liked to say that the Pumpkin feels her emotions to the fullest. She is usually (like 90% of the time) a pretty happy girl. And when she's happy, she's smiling and laughing, not just hanging out content. She LOVES to laugh and make other people laugh. It's a lot of fun to be around. But when she's upset, she is UPSET!!! I think this is part of why she was such a fussy baby. There was no simply unhappy or a little cranky. She felt unhappy deeply and made it be known. I also feel my emotions to the fullest, and I don't think it's a bad thing at all. Especially considering she's usually very happy.

The Pookie is often smiling and laughing and cooing. He seems to be a congenial little guy. But he does get grumpy and fussy. When he does, it's more of a low-grade, constant whining/fussing. The Pumpkin would go straight to CODE RED MELTDOWN! The Pookie is much more eeehhhhh eh ehhhh waaaah wahhhh and works his way up to really crying. It's easier to let him fuss a little than it was for the Pumpkin. This is helpful right now, since it's easier to tend to the 2.5 year old needs with a little fussing in the background than have to juggle two tantrums at once.

The Pumpkin is definitely a spirited child, which is actually a pretty wonderful thing. Time will tell how the Pookie's personality will continue to develop, but my guess is generally easy going.

Both of them constantly amazing me and fill me with warm fuzzies. My love continues to expand with every passing day, and even during the rough nights.

*I hate using those terms, because I don't think "easy" is necessarily better than fussy/high needs. Seems odd to say, but I really don't. I think there are a lot of amazing qaulilties that go along with the fussy/high needs baby that can't be separated. I also think that having a fussy/high needs baby gave us a lot of perspective on parenting and children that parents who haven't had a fussy/high needs baby of their own do not fully get. Anyway, I use these terms because they are widely used and understood, but I personally don't apply value judgements to them.


HeatherY said…
It sounds like they have very complimentary personalities which most certainly will serve you well. I'm so glad Pookie is a great sleeper. Heaven knows you're still catching up from the Pumpkin ;-)

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