growing up the eldest of three kids, our parents raised us very differently.
i was the the guinea pig, so i got all sorts of f**cked up.
my younger sister witnessed the insane trouble i got in, turned out the exact opposite and was the perfect child.
by the time my brother was born 10 years after me, my parents basically didn’t care – his diaper didn’t get changed until it was so heavy, the crotch part was touching the ground.
i vowed that as a parent, i’d be completely fair, never compare my kids, love them equally, treat them the same. as soon as i became a parent for the second time, i realized what an idealistic naive idiot i was.
my daughter and son could not be more opposite. she was born with her eyes wide open and smiling within hours. he was a mound of bulldog-looking flesh for the first month. she slept through the night at 5 weeks. he woke up every other hour during the night until he was almost a year old. i used to stress out so much because she was so finicky and picky about food. i had to hide food from him because he ate until he threw up. she went up to strangers and busted out in song. if you weren’t immediate family, you could not look him in the eyes until he was about 2 years old or he’d go into hysterics. she is gentle, kind and fair. he is the tasmanian devil. in everything she does, she aims to please. he does not give a rat’s ass. you get the picture.
with such different personalities, my love for each is also different.
with my daughter, it’s a fierce kind of love. she was my first so i felt things more deeply with her. being a girl, i know what she’s going through and what she is going to go through and because of this, there is an extreme need to protect her. if i feel she is being threatened or hurt in the slightest, my fur immediately bristles, the claws come pinging out one by one, and you will hear a vicious hiss. she is bright – sometimes too much for her own good – and i want to make sure that she has the best opportunities life has to offer. i still look at her and marvel she came out of me because she is so much better than i am in every way. at just 5 years of age, i already have so much respect for her.
with my son, the love is tender. i don’t know if it’s because he’s a boy or my baby or i’m more lax. i look into his animated cute little face and can’t help but wrap him in my arms and rain kisses on his stinky cheeks. everything he does is precious, everything he does is hilarious. even when he’s yelling and huffing and puffing at me, it takes every ounce in my body not to bust out laughing at his antics. i’m sure i’m going to pay for this in 13 years when he completely ignores his curfew and comes home at sun up and tries to calm me down with his crooked smile. i confess, i am complete mush when it comes to him, which is funny considering i cried big, fat disappointed tears when i found out i was having a boy.
when one is giving me a really hard time, i may favor the other momentarily but i love them equally. there is no less or more love for one than the other. it’s just … different.
and i realize now, you can’t help compare your kids. i absolutely do, it’s just i do it in private with my husband. we always talk about how 180 they are from one another but they also have a few things in common: sensitive, love books, have loud belly laughs, bright, observant, uncanny memories, terrified of spiders, love running around naked (this needs to stop immediately).
most of all, they are both unconditionally, whole-heartedly, intensely loved by their parents, and we will make sure they know this every single day of their lives.