Sunday, April 28, 2013

"Parent"dox: Exact Same Parents, Totally Different Kids

Sunday Night "Parent"dox #10: Exact Same Parents, Totally Different Kids
Tonight I pose for you an age old question...

How can children born to the exact same parents be such totally different kids?

I have two children: one son, one daughter.  They were born to the same parents.  They have grown up in the same house.  They definitely look like siblings.  (I was recently asked if they were twins.  Yes, they are.  They were just born 22 months apart.)  But they could not be any more different from one another.

I suppose it all started with their arrivals to this great big world.  (The only commonality being that I was past my due date with both of them...)  

With my son, I was induced, spent the day in labor and we got to see his sweet little face just before midnight.  This totally fits him, as he is our planner, our thinker, our observer, and our "take my time to make sure I've got it right" kid.  

With my daughter, I went in to labor on my own, was in the delivery room for a few very short hours, and we got to meet her precious little self just after noon.  This, too, totally fits her, as she is our active, funny, outgoing, "I want to do it all myself and do it all now" kid.  

A couple little vignettes to further illustrate my point...

Easter Eggs
The Saturday after Easter, our kids both wandered into our bedroom very early in the morning.  Not to do anything without asking first, my son pleaded with us "Can we please have an Easter egg treat while we are playing?"  Being the amazing mom I am and not wanting to drag myself out of bed yet, I told them yes, they could each have one Easter egg treat.  I figured this would buy me at least 10 more minutes of peace and quiet.  

About 5 minutes later, my son came wandering back into our room.  "Mom, Morgan opened 3 Easter egg treats!!"  Sure, there was the pure joy in tattling on a sibling, but there was also most definitely shock and awe in his voice as he was sharing this news with us.  For him, this incident was unbelievable because this was not 'the rule' that was given, and it needed to be fixed.  Like right now.  In yet another stellar parenting move, my solution was to tell him this:  "Ok, you can have 2 more eggs.  Tell your sister she may not open any more egg treats."  He countered with "But Mom, you said only 1 egg!"  Kid, you are missing your golden opportunity here....

At this point, my daughter must have realized she was getting ratted out, because she came toddling in.  I asked her if she opened 3 Easter egg treats.  "Yes, I did."  Hey, at least she's honest.  "You may not have any more Easter egg treats.  Do you understand?"  Silence, then:  "Um...yeah...I'll just open one more, OK?"

One thinks rules were made to determine every single action that takes place in this world.  One thinks rules are merely guidelines, made to be bent as much as humanly possible and used only as a reference.

Preschool Drop Off
My son truly loves preschool.  We've been blessed with a great school, great friends in his class, and two truly great teachers.  However, during the first week of school, we had one day that was a tough drop off.  The single commonality between my children on this given occasion?  Tears. 

When I had to leave, my son was in his classroom, in tears, because he didn't want to stay and wanted to come with me.  There was a lot of "new" in that room -- new teachers, new kids, new toys, new expectations.  It was all just a bit overwhelming for him.  

My daughter was in tears, because she wanted to stay at preschool and didn't want to come home with "just" mom.  There was a lot of "new" in that room -- new teachers, new kids, new toys, new expectations.  It was fun and exciting and an adventure to be tackled, and was very intriguing for her.

From the foods they eat to the things that make them laugh to way they react to consequences to the way they play, they are totally different kids.

'Different' Doesn't Mean 'Less'
Do I love them the same?

Absolutely not.

Let me repeat that: absolutely not.

My kids are totally different people, with totally different personalities and totally different needs.  I love them in completely different ways.  Over the last few years, I have learned that what works well with one of my kids can blow up in my face with the other one.  This seems to be true with just about everything from discipline to positive encouragement to even just playing or goofing around with them.

So no, I don't love my kids the same.  

It doesn't mean I love one more than the other.  That would literally be impossible, as my love for each of them is bigger than anything in this world.  It doesn't mean one gets away with more than the other.  It simply means I love them very differently for the very different people they are.  What one needs, the other doesn't.  What encourages one, can sometimes discourage the other.  What helps one, can sometimes hinder the other.  I love them both with every cell in my being, but I love them differently.

My kids are not strangers to fighting with one another, as siblings often do.  They know just how to push each others' buttons, in a way only a sibling knows how.  It is my hope and prayer, though, that by celebrating their differences and loving them differently, and not comparing them or trying to get them to be "the same" when they are so clearly not, that someday they will be able to acknowledge, respect and even appreciate each other's differences.  I hope that by loving them differently, they will learn to love themselves for the unique people they are, and cherish those special qualities that make them, them.

My Sister and I...
I feel very lucky that my parents did this for my sister and I.  We are unbelievably, ridiculously different, and have been for as long as I can remember.  Did we fight and push each other's buttons?  Pretty much every single day that we both lived under the same roof.  Was my go to line as a kid 'My life was good until you were born!'?  Perhaps.  (Did she *my younger sister* try to use that line on me?  Did it then just make me laugh and then make her even more upset?  Most definitely yes.)  

But now that we are adults, I see so many characteristics in her that I wish I had more of in me...

...her "go with the flow" attitude
...the way she handles stress with ease and grace 
...her knowledge of anything hair, fashion or make-up related (I will undoubtedly be sending my daughter to her when she is old enough to start asking questions about any of these topics.)
...her ability to not worry about what other people think
...her creative, outside-the-box approach to solving any problem that comes her way
...her know-how about all things technology she can confidently speak her mind and share her feelings

These are areas that I struggle with myself, but I am fortunate enough to get a front row seat to watch an expert and learn from her.  I am so thankful our parents did not try to fit us into the same mold; that we each got to be our own person and grow and succeed in our own, different ways.

Night and Day
So yes, my children are night and day different.

One of my children cries about having messy hands, and the other one loves to dig in the dirt.  

One of my children snuggles up with every single stuffed animal in our entire house at bedtime, and the other one doesn't even want a blanket when it comes times for bed.  

One of my children cannot rest until every possible speck of frosting has been devoured from a cupcake, and the other one can walk away from a half-eaten bowl of ice cream without a second thought.

And no, I wouldn't have it any other way.  I love them both like crazy.  Each in their own different way.

Your kids might be cut from the same cloth.  Your kids might be polar opposites.  You might have one child, who is their own unique, amazing person.  However their own little (or big!) personalities are developing, you are there, loving them, every step of the way. You Are a Good Mom.

If you haven't already, be sure to stop by and check out the "You're a Good Mom" page on Facebook.  "Like" it and any new blog posts will be delivered right to your news feed!  Thanks!


  1. You are the best--that's all I can say about this column today. Your ability to tease out these differences, enumerate, celebrate and love them is amazingly inspirational. I have sent the link to your blog to a bunch of my favorite moms because I believe that what you have built here is a very valuable resource in our community of moms.

    1. Wow! I am blown away just reading your comment, Lynda. Thank you so much for your beautiful, kind words. I hope your friends enjoy this entry, too!

  2. Carrie you are a great Mom and a great sister. Much better than good.

    1. You are so sweet!! You are a great comment writer. :) Thanks for leaving one!


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