“Ooh, hi Mommy! Shower good?” my youngest asked as I walked out of the bathroom.
“It was good, thank you baby,” I replied.
Our two kids are so different in how they approach the world. In a 2 and 1/2 year old person, we can already see how they are becoming their own in the world. And how the parts of their personality stick out in ways much different than their sister.
When our oldest was little, getting her to say please was a real task. Even today, she only uses it if she’s not getting what she wants in the moment. Or if she’s been asked to say it. You may have feelings about this, I certainly do. But we came to realize some important things about our kids, namely that they are not tiny versions of us. My partner and I are very good at being good. This simply means that we are polite, let others go first, sacrifice ourselves often, and we follow nearly all of the social rules. It’s bred into us and it’s also important to us in developing relationships. But this is how we do that. Not everyone does.
Our oldest is in this world to ram her way through it. And with purpose and intention. She doesn’t mean to hurt anyone along the way, but she does sometimes. Instead of teaching her politeness and to hold back, we’re teaching her to look back and to make sure everyone is all right. Empathy and sympathy for the experience of others.
You might think that with very little pleases and thank yous, she might be a bit of a wild child, troublemaker even. She is, at times, but always with purpose. But she’s also incredibly caring. She tells people what to do, not just because she enjoys the art of management, but because she really wants others to get it right, or have the same experience as her. She wants others to feel what she feels. And she wants them to win and feel proud too. She’s going to be the best friend her friends will ever have.
Our littlest approaches life a bit differently. They are determined, precise, and tend to like some sense of order. But only in the sense of the world being set up in the way that works for them. They give my partner their hat when its not on his head, because they see Dad as wearing their hat more often than not. So the hat must need to be on his head.
They also love the response of us being pleased with them. They quickly attached themselves to the art of language and repeat what we say much of the time. For weeks, they spent many parts of the day saying “thank you mommy” or “sorry mommy.” They are navigating the social cues in the world, while my daughter is setting them.
This little human is finding their way, behind the fire that is their sister. And they are making their own path. I think it’s time to write about them more often.