Thursday, February 25, 2010

No two children are alike. If you have just given birth to your second child, if you are pregnant with your second child, or if you are just vaguely contemplating having another child in the distant future, people will start telling you this. Everyone will start telling you this; mothers, fathers, grandparents, teachers, daycare workers, and even people whose nearest experience with a child was the time that they substituted for the school crossing guard. They will repeat it so often that you may find yourself muttering it like a sort of mantra.
Now, to most people (parents or not) this seems an obvious truth. However, until you are confronted with the day-to-day reality of juggling the wants and needs of more than one child, you will only know it intellectually.
My two children are so different I’m pretty sure that it’s cosmic comeuppance for the relative ease with which my first child passed through babyhood. No, my second son is not a difficult baby. However, aside from the fact that my children are both male, they have nothing else in common except DNA. They don’t even look alike.
Canaan, my older child (known around here as “His Highness”) breastfed voraciously from the moment he was born. He turned up his nose at every type of bottle with expressed milk in it-consequently he went everywhere with me until he ate enough solid food for me to be gone for more than fifteen minutes.
His brother is a bottle baby and drinks everything from formula to apple juice with equal enjoyment-he is also a devotee of the pacifier.
Until he was over a year old, Canaan would not go to sleep without a ritualistic combination of patting, rocking, singing and not one but TWO fans providing a wall of white noise. If a person happened to sneeze in the same room, he would bounce awake.
Ezra is placed in a crib with a pacifier and drifts off without so much as a peep.
Ezra has even managed to defeat my “no disposable diapers EVER” gospel by peeing so copiously that no cloth diaper can possibly be used for more than 45 minutes.
So, there you have it-no two children are alike. That’s probably why childcare books continue to be published and will on into infinity. However, as challenging as two can be, the constant chaos is a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

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