As my daughter has gotten bigger, I’ve noticed some differences between her and her brother.
For example, when B has the chance to have a babysitter or go to the nursery at our gym, he is ecstatic! To him, that is a golden opportunity to socialize! There is nothing better than meeting a new friend and talking that person’s ear off, in the B’s book.
Ls got a little different take on strangers. This morning, L struggled with the gym nursery. After some initial screaming and fit throwing at drop off, she seemed to calm down. When I went to peek in the window to check on her, I saw L by herself in the corner. She was clutching a toy for dear life and giving all of the other toddlers a look like, “You come any closer and I will chuck this at you!!!” One poor little boy walked a little too close to her and she let out a loud, shrill warning noise. Her personal space perimeter had been breached! The little boy wizened up and ran off in the opposite direction.
After we were done at the gym, I sat her down in her car seat. To be fair, this heat and humidity is just miserable right now, even at 9 in the morning. Our van was like a sauna. When she started squirming to let me know she had no intention of going willfully into the car seat, I understood where she was coming from. But, driving home without her in her car seat was just not an option. So I persisted in buckling her in, and she took it as a personal insult… and threw a FIT.
L screamed the entire ride home. I couldn’t help but wonder if she thought the screaming made her cooler, somehow. By the time we got home, we were both a little irritated with each other.
Now, all of this struggle with her lately makes me wonder if I am a better boy mama. When B was this age, he would get frustrated and start banging his head on the floor. Don’t get me wrong, his head banging certainly worried me quite a bit and warranted a trip to our amused pediatrician who assured me that head banging does not always mean your child has a brain tumor, like I had assumed. After that had been cleared up, I was fine to just help him find the softest place possible to head bang his frustrations away. B would get it all out, and a minute later be happy as a clam. I have come to appreciate that attribute in my boy. He gets mad every once in awhile, but he’ll get over it and forget it ever happened before you even know it.
His sister, however, has already mastered the fine art of holding a grudge.
And then, there are those moments when I get a glimpse into her little world. After we got back from the gym, I gave L a bottle of cold milk and went to cycle some laundry. When I got done and went to check on her, she’d taken off all of her clothes. She was so pleased with herself, she had solved her own problem! She was hot and uncomfortable, and felt better sipping away at her bottle in the nude.
I think that this has got to be one of the biggest challenges of parenthood. Once you have you first child’s personality and quirks pretty much figured out, you get a little overconfident and think you could handle another one. That child will then come along and be completely different.
This morning, I had a little epiphany. I looked down at my little giggling naked girl, and realized, “Oh. I get it. B needed to bang his head on the floor, physically getting out his frustrations. You are just going to have to prove that you have your own ideas and want to do things your own way, even if it wears your Mama out!!” But… I have decided that having a headstrong girl does have an up side… I think the nudie bottle drinking is way funnier than the head banging ever was!!!