Monday, 6 July 2009

There's no comparison

I love all four of my boys to distraction (although you wouldn't always be able to tell from the way I scream and shout at them sometimes), but I can't help but compare them to one another. I know I shouldn't, but it's particularly bad with the twins who naturally go through each phase at the same time.

You see each boy has his own distinctive character traits, some of which can melt me as fast as an icicle in the desert and some of which drive me to a whole other kind of distraction.

Take son number one. He is a sensitive and caring soul. His love for me knows no bounds, he will write me notes, take my side in every altercation (unless it's against him), he is clever, handsome, but frustratingly, entirely unable to entertain himself, unless plugged into Ben 10 or his computer.

I blame myself for his gnat length attention span. When he was a baby, my precious, only firstborn boy, I would pore over baby development books trying to find ways to amuse him while ensuring he grew up to be a child prodigy. I would dangle ribbons in front of his unfocused baby eyes, read him books, dance around the room with him, play him classical music and generally never leave him alone for a second. The end result is predictably a boy who wants constant attention.

I wasn't about to make the same mistake with son number two. Oh no, I'd learned my lesson and I firmly ignored him as a baby, parking him in a swing and getting on with the demanding business of keeping his brother amused. The end result is a sunny little boy who will happily create game after game all on his own. However I hadn't quite perfected my mothering skills as he is just as capable of amusing himself by wreaking havoc and destruction. Drawing on the walls, painting on his clothes, wrecking his room, his brother's room, the baby's room and in fact any room into which he sets foot.

He is also much less bothered about keeping mummy happy than his older brother. When number one was young he would bawl his eyes out at the slightest raised voice, number two would just try to shout louder, perhaps to get himself heard against his attention consuming sibling. In fact the one way my darling second boy always made sure he wasn't entirely ignored was by raising merry hell over the few things he did care deeply about - food, cuddles and disputing the ownership of all his brother's favourite toys.

The twins have yet to make their mark on the family as a whole, confined as they are to bouncy chairs for most of their waking hours. But between themselves there are distinct differences. In fact I have given them petnames to reflect their personalities - Stroppy and Floppy.

Stroppy twin one is the shoutiest, most hysterical baby I have had the 'pleasure' of knowing. If he's hungry he screams. Tired? He caterwauls. Bored? He yells. Want's a cuddle? He shrieks. He is constantly struggling to force his physical abilities to catch up with his ever active little mind. He's like a meerkat, always craning to see what's around the next corner and holding him is like trying to contain a squirming puppy.

Floppy twin two is the opposite. If he cries it's like the desolate roar of a baby lion separated from his pride. Unlike his twin, whose cry is as grating as nails on a blackboard, his is so pathetic you ache to hold him and comfort him. He has the gaze of a sage contemplating the mysteries of the universe, and his mind is far to occupied with philosophising to bother with the physical. He is happy to sink into a cuddle and the arms of Morpheus so holding him is like a tiny dose of sedative in the midst of a chaotic day.

Whether these traits will continue for the rest of their lives remains to be seen. But a psychologist friend of mine told me about a study into birth order that certainly rings true for my numbers one and two. Apparently firstborn babies are more likely to succeed academically - I knew all that ribbon waving and classical music would pay off in the end - while second children are more likely to be happy and get more girls. So when number two is a surf bum with a gorgeous chick on his arm, I hope he will write me a postcard to thank his mummy for her early neglect.


  1. This is so interesting, how different people bought up in the same house by the same people can be.

  2. That's a very interesting post and I am actually wondering if I will endup with 2 surf bums, because I am pretty good at ignorance :)
    What your friend said about 1st and 2nd child can totally apply to my sister and I. I was the eldest and definitely the most academic. My sister was the lively happy soul who a bit like your second destroyed my toys and the house :) Very interesting...

    Have you got an RSS or Friend Connect, I would love to follow your blog :)

  3. Welcome to my blog. So glad you could make it! I do have Friend Connect. Just whizz down to the bottom of the page and become a follower and you will be alerted every time I put up a new post.

  4. My two are the same as your two eldest. Chalk and cheese but both absolutely adorable in their own way. So interesting that your twins are also so different. Have your elder two altered their characters at all to accomodate the newcomers?

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