As most avid readers would, I read all the books I could get my hands on about what to expect when having a baby, toddler, and later a child. I followed my pregnancies week by week (month by month just didn’t cut it for me). And I read about every behavioral and developmental stage before my children were even close to reaching them.
Not really surprisingly, parenting seems to be one of those things that all the preparation in the world really can’t prepare you for what’s in store for you, as I’ve found out every step along the way with my kiddos!
Case in point, whoever said that girls are easier than boys (actually I did!), has yet to meet my youngest child. She looks like a cherub. She even has a way of cocking her head to the side and smiling that seems to confirm the angelic nature that would appear to be contained in her cherubic façade. Oh, Nature what a trickster you are! Looks are most certainly deceiving in this little one!
I thought my son was as big of a handful as anyone was like to have. The other moms who knew him when he was little, tended to agree with that assumption. I often heard comments such as, “I have never seen a child that busy!” or “He makes my girls look tame!” etc.. He was climbing out of his crib by the time he was fifteen months old, he didn’t learn to walk so much as run, and he could climb absolutely ANYTHING! He was everywhere at once and chasing after him for an afternoon was likely to leave you exhausted.
My idea that it was testosterone overload seemed to have merit when our middle child entered the scene. Arabelle is . . . well, imagine Strawberry Shortcake with honey colored hair and hazel eyes and you have a good idea of my daughter. She was (and still is) the easiest, sweetest child in the world. So, she proved that girls were easier than boys, right?
Not so much. Lily (such a small pretty name for such a large, headstrong personality!) entered the scene seeming set to outdo her brother on absolutely EVERYTHING! IF he could do it, she could do it sooner. She started crawling out of her crib by fourteen months old and she was running by about ten months old. She literally hit the ground running.
One of Gavin’s favorite stories about himself was about how he pulled down a small Christmas tree when he was just a baby. Lily, not to be outdone, pulled a full-sized Christmas tree down on her head.
Gavin, who is tall enough to ride the Texas Giant at Six Flags had the sense to realize that just because he can ride it, doesn’t mean he’s ready to ride it. Lily, with a half sneer, announced that she wasn’t scared to ride and asked me, “Are I big enough to ride it Mama, Are I?” and when I responded in the negative, she looked at me with a look of shock, pointed to herself and stated, “Look at me! I are big enough! I are!” You get the idea, right? Larger than life and convinced she’s already sixteen!
She thinks she has as much say on how things are going to be as we do. She bullies her big brother and sister, and they actually listen to her half of the time! If she decides that she wants to fight for something, she’s likely to win despite how small she is. This is one tenacious, determined little person!
Though she hardly looks, it, does she! 🙂
She totally stumps me from a parenting perspective.
We had hard times with Gavin when he was younger (and of course, still do sometimes!). He disobeyed. A lot. But he was rarely defiant. He wanted what he wanted and he didn’t care about the consequences, be they reward or punishment. It took a couple years before we found an incentive he wanted enough to get him to correct his behavior. He often argued, or tried to reason us to his way of thinking, but he never dug in his heels just for the sake of defiance. That is Lily’s territory.
My parents say it’s pay back, though even they admit that she is worse than I was and at a younger age. And so I’m left scratching my head about how to handle this larger than life personality that happens to be housed in such a little package.
When it comes down to it, all the books in the world can’t prepare you for the individual personalities that so often break the mold of “normal”!
Ah, well! As with so much, I guess life is learned in the trenches, not in the library! For every rule there is an exception, and my Lily is definitely an exception!