My girls are best friends. Seriously. About 88% of the time, they really and truly enjoy being in each other’s company. Which makes me happy.
The thing that is funny to me is how different these two children are. These two girls who are only 22 months apart and being raised by the same parents in the same house could not be more different.
While they share a family resemblance (I think?), they even look very different. But, that’s only the beginning. Some of their personality traits follow the “traditional” oldest child/youngest child stereotypes – Olivia is the bossy, rule-following, protective, big sister and Audrey is the (somewhat) easygoing, rule-breaking, coddled, little sister.
Olivia loves sleep. She loves it. She has always been a good sleeper – always. She loves being read to, reading, pajamas, being comfortable, and wearing pretty much whatever I put in front of her. Jeans? Sure. Frilly dress with itchy tights? Okay, Mommy. Any manner of hat? Fire it up. As for hairstyles, I kept her fine yet thick hair cut in a short angled bob until she expressed an opinion on it – which was only just about a year ago. Now that it’s longer, she still gives approximately zero cares what I do with it. Pony tail? Bun? Pigtails? Braids? Entirely down? ZERO CARES. She is the pickiest eater I’ve ever met. She will not eat: pasta, pizza, any kind of sauce or dip, cheese, most vegetables, and, until very recently, any type of meat. Girl eats a lot of peanut butter sandwiches (no jelly, ew) and fruit is what I’m saying. She hates taking a bath and is almost always right about everything (even when she’s not). She loves school, is a very good student, feels very comfortable with routine, loves all sports but doesn’t care much for dance class, is afraid of heights and swinging too fast. She makes friends easily, isn’t very shy and will give her little sister almost anything – even her very last bite of chocolate chip cookie, if it will make Audrey happy. She is the first child we parented and therefore, the child upon whom we developed our parenting technique.
Audrey is… basically almost the exact opposite in a lot of ways. Sleep has been her mortal enemy since day one and the war continues to this very day. She likes books, but mostly to make towers with them, rather than to sit quietly and listen to stories. She, instead, prefers to move. To dance and sing and be messy. She is very particular about her appearance. She abhors jeans. She will accept the fact that leggings are a necessary evil in cool weather, but she won’t like it. And she will tell you about it. She wants to wear all dresses all the time. The fancier, the twirlier, the sparklier, the blue-er, the better. And accessories. Many necklaces and bracelets. She also will specify precisely how she’d like her hair done. Currently, she prefers a pony tail in back, then braided, with a bow at the bottom and a clip on either side. Blue, if you can manage. Not a SIDE PONY, mind you. That is so last week, Mom. She also calls me “Mom,” rather than “Mommy,” which still cracks me up because she’s three. Olivia is five and still calls me “Mommy,” so, what the heck, kid? She loves food and loves to eat. She is an adventurous eater and will try pretty much anything you offer her at least one time. She loves spicy food and has no problem with textures. She would live in the bath if she could, and is very good about being corrected by her always right big sister. She hears, “No, Audrey. NOT LIKE THAT.” A. Lot. And she mostly always just rolls with it. Olivia is the queen and Audrey is the princess and that is that. She does not love school and protests every single day about going. And then tries to sweet talk me into letting her wear her brand new Christmas dress to school if she promises not to cry about going. She likes the idea of sports, but prefers to dance. Costumes, stages, performing, HELLO. However, she is very shy and takes a while to warm up to new people – particularly men. She is brave and wants to climb as high as she can and swing faster than you could possibly ever push her. She will use her little sister status to swipe anything from her big sister. She is our second and youngest child. We thought we’d parent both of the kids the same way.
It took far longer than you’d think for us to recognize that we could not. They are two unique individuals with their own personalities and sensitivities. Even their punishments are different. What is devastating to one (losing computer time) has no impact on the other. While time out is the end of the world for one, the other would happily spend time alone in her room.
And so we have to adjust. And of course, just when we think we’ve got it down, Olivia goes and starts eating green beans. Good grief, kid!