My children are different. Well, I suppose most evey mother could make that statement- but, with confidence, I can say that mine are like oil and water. And nitro-glycerine. A case-study:
Riding in the Car:
Jeffrey– did ok in the car, but would often projectile barf without reason or warning. Would frequently fall asleep and be amendable to being moved to his bed, thus continueing his nap in the house.
Beanie– Hated riding in the car, starting with the ride home from the hospital, and never ending. Buckle baby in carseat, commence screaming. And screaming, and screaming, and screaming. He NEVER stopped, as long as he was in his seat. Forward, backward, moving, still- didn’t matter. Never, ever fell asleep.
Abby– Likes her carseat just fine. Cooperates with buckles, and claps happily and coos to self. Enjoys looking out window, and watching her brothers. I can’t think of even one time where she has cried in her seat- although she did barf once.
Jeffrey– voracious appetite- would drink 40oz. of breasmilk a day, had I let him- but had a sensitive tummy. Barfed a lot. Daily- until he was over two. Loves food- much like a goldfish, will eat until he is stuffed and Goldfish are coming out his nose.
Beanie– Hated eating. Refused to nurse. Cried. Would not eat babyfood, and formula made him sick. Would not even taste new things, cried some more. Now, almost four, he eats PBJ’s for all three meals, and milk. Occasionally some butter.
Abby– nursed great- accepted me or a bottle, loves to try new foods. She likes spicy things and ethnic foods and loves fruit and veggies and fish and just about anything we put on her plate. Tummy tolerates everything.
Jeffrey– co-slept with us until he was nine-months old. Still likes nothing better than to be nestled under my arm sharing my pillow. Sleeps like a rock once he is asleep. Quit napping when he was 18 months old, and hasn’t napped since.
Beanie– would only sleep swaddled t-i-g-h-t-l-y. Wakes up at the slightest noise- even if I check on him before I go to bed, the whisper of the door sliding over the carpet wakes him. When he woke, he screamed. And screamed. Then he screamed some more. Now days, is an insomniac, and finds every reason under the moon to get up. Does not, and has never, napped.
Abby– toss her in bed with her favorite blankie, close the blinds and the door, and she’s out. No fussing, no crying no special tricks, just a peaceful sleeping baby. She may chortle and talk to herself for a while, but that’s it. When she wakes, she chats and plays quietly until someone comes to get her.
Jeffrey– Hordes his toys. Collects random things, like “Blue”. Meticulously catalogs his belongings, and subscribes to the “tyrant” method of playing with others. Has a wild imagination and loves to take things apart.
Beanie– Loves to have friends over, but quickly becomes overwhelmed if there is too much chaos. Finds quiet places and plays by himself or with mama. Loves to be naked and run around in the rain or wind storms. At the same time. Elemental child.
Abby– turns the pages of a paper book, even as a one-year old, without eating or tearing them. Will content herself with following her brothers, but is just as happy playing with her toys by herself. Loves water and being outside, but doesn’t fret when brought inside.
Jeffrey– Stubborn streak a mile wide. If he can’t win, he doesn’t want to play. A very tender hearted boy who really watches out for younger kids. Has a strong sense of justice and fairness, and isn’t afraid, sometimes to his detriment, of speaking out. Loves the mythos of the Hero, and intends on being one.
Beanie– A stubborn streak a mile wider than Jeff’s- coupled with a strong desire to be independant. He wants to do things beyond his abilities and gets frustrated when he can’t. At the same time, he has great capacity for tenderness and really wants to be snuggled with and loved. He needs lots of physical affection- even though he shrugs it off.
Abby– just goes with the flow. She doesn’t push herself all that hard, and lacks the insane drive both her brother’s share. It has manifested in later walking, talking and general accomplishments. She just doesn’t seem to mind waiting, which is a whole new ballgame in this house. Small things make her happy, and ready laughter is always near the surface.
So how much of any of this is nurturing, and how much is nature? Is Abby the laid back babe she is because of the tidal waves that are her brothers? Is Beanie full of will and force in order to survive having such a strong older brother? Is Jeff just the natural first-born bossy boy?
The thing is, no matter how much you try and sell the “nurture” card to me- I KNOW these kids all came out of my body with these personalities intact. Yes, they’ve manifested in our home and in the environment of our family, but they were not, and never have been, blank slates.
What’s the deal in your families?