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August 08, 2006


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My older daughter looks nothing like me, but completely has my personality. My younger daughter looks a lot like me, but is a complete enigma, personality-wise. It's taken me more work to figure out the differences between us and find a way that we can relate. I'm hoping it will get easier when she learns to talk. ;-)

This is just my own theory, but I think people warn about number two for one of two reasons: 1) If you have a challenging kid, they are holding out hope to you that both won't necessarily be so challenging; and 2) I think many people have made a HUGE assumption that their next kid will "be as easy" as their first and then received quite a shock. In that case, they are trying to give fair warning or enjoying someone else's potential surprise.

For me it was the boy/girl thing. I had a challenging young man on my hands. 8 years later, when I was pregnant with a girl, so many people tried to tell me a girl would be so much easier. They were well intentioned but I KNEW BETTER! She is just as challenging but in an entirely different way. I was usually successful at shrugging it off although I do like a good "I told you so" now.

Great subject. I was quite worried when my son was born b/c I did a LOT of cussing and yelling at anyone in the vicinity of my person.

The anit-christ would describe me well when I was prego. I think about that subject often, how to allow them to be who they are going to be and have it be ok.

If you read carefully, I'm not wishing for her to be any different than how she is - just merely stating that it's surprising and challenging.

And why the warnings about #2? I never got why people did that.

Could it also be that Q is just that way because that's her personality?

This is the stuff I need to read BEFORE Beaniedom.

Great post.

My quiet, calm, cautious, sweet and even tempered child disappeared right around his 2nd birthday, leaving an opinionated little meatball who takes his own diaper off, shakes his weiner at me and yells "LOOKDAPENIS!" then proceeds to run through the house and make puddles with "dapenis" while I chase him.

Q. will have her day. Use this time to rest up.

Wise, wise words. I struggle with this already, because I want so badly for E to love the things that I love, but I don't want to push MY life upon her.

SO I need to remind myself that this is HER life. I can guide and teach and encourage and be myself for her, but she is going to be who she is going to be.

Thanks for reminding me of the importance of that commitment.

I've got one of each (one caff, one de-caff), but they both have some of my qualities. It becomes much more apparent as they get older and you realize just how much you really fucked them up. My 22 month old walks around the house crossing her arms across her chest and saying "shit!" all the time now. I'm so proud.

I had one like that too. And then the second one was born. Just wait, it will be neat to see what Poopypants #2 is like. My second one is a mini-me. She is loud and talks all the time and likes to be entertained all the time. She is also a multi-tasker who can't sit still. But she is one of the two sweetest most wonderful little girls I know. (Yes, I know I'm biased.)

I think it's great though, that you let her be who she is. That is a challenge for a lot of people.

It seems to me that you are doing a lovely job of letting Q be Q.

I don't know where my daughter came from, either...not that I can make too many definitive statements about the personality of a one year old. However, to date, she is the calmest, most patient, most laid back and most unflappable kid I know (knocking on wood very, very vigorously). I admire these qualities because I possess so few of them myself. I don't know if I could stand it if she was too much like me, and I'll probably end up sending her to boarding school if she ends up too much like her father. But the fact is that I'm very excited about watching her grow into herself.

I feel it is very important to let our children come into their own, to discover who they are, what their likes and dislikes are. Well said, Kristin. (Okay, am I spelling your name wrong? Is it 'en' or 'in'? I'm sorry...there are like, four bloggers name Kristen/Kirsten/Kristin that I read regularly and I get confused.)

I think our children were switched at birth. LOL Mine has not sat quietly since she learned to talk at 12 months!!!

My son was like that...and then he turned 5....My daughter(almost 4) has been a social butterly since birth...but beware of the terrible 3's...they are killing us!
Great post. Thanks

I recognize and appreciate your struggle to let your daughter be her own person. And, while it is difficult for you because she is so different, I have to say, strangely, it is also difficult when you have a lot of similarities because you (read: I) tend to assume too much that you know and understand exactly what they are thinking, feeling, etc. *Sigh* It is just a tough job no matter how you slice it.

Book Recommend: Nurture by Nature. It helps you recognize your child's personality traits and then gives you suggestions on how best to parent based on their personality. Your daughter is a little young for it. I found it most helpful when my son was around 5 or 6, but if she has strong qualities (like introvertedness) it is still possible to get something out of it. Plus, reading what my personality needed as a child really helped me sort through some of my "how I was raised" issues.

Please forgive the epic-length comment. I'm an extravert who hasn't had enough interaction in the last couple of days!

Yes, careful what you may wish for because I was exactly what you described as a child and then my brother came along and was the total opposite. (Note that in our adult years we have almost swapped personalities, so you never know.)

See, I got one who likes to play by herself sometimes, and knows who she is - but is nowhere close to quiet or relaxed.

I keep hoping that when we do try for #2, the next one will be a quiet, easy-going child.

Wise Mama.

I also have a shy child who happily stares outside for hours and thumbs through books. I'm relieved. Like you and your huz, me and mine are maniacs. It's a relief to have such a calming influence in our lives and home... for now. I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop.

My oldest daughter behaves the same way (she's 4), she loves to read, draw, and play by herself. She was quiet from the moment she was born and most of the time gets labeled as "shy". Then came baby #2! She came out screaming and hasn't stopped (she's 2), she's so loud, outgoing, and never walks into a room without going unnoticed! My kids play really well together most days even though the youngest is running the show, but I know that my oldest loves the moment that the youngest goes down for a nap. She goes in her room and has her two hours of “quiet” time while the baby is sleeping and it’s almost like she needs the time just to regroup. It’s so funny how different they can be yet come from the same tree!

Well said! We're trying hard already to make sure our son can be his own person. It's really hard even at less than 4 months old not to project onto him and just sit back and let him be him.

Trust me, having a kid as crazy as you are is even more confusing! I don't know what to make of her sometimes...and then it clicks- it's MY FAULT! LOL...she's a mini mommy, and mommy is a big nutjob!

It is amazing how much kids come out as the people they will always be. I think you are right that the hard part is letting them be themselves.


My husband and I are both first-born, type-A, etc, etc (you and your husband might be our twinsies!)...and we expected the same from our first-born. He is EXACTLY as you described your daughter. Quiet, soft, gentle, observantant, compassionate, etc.

And the most poignant and memorable moment of my life? When he was born and the Doc laid him on my chest...and he quietly, intently, curiously gazed at me with his large eyes. It was as if I could see directly into his ancient soul...and he was communicating with me on some inarticulate level. And I swear he said, "THERE you are! Finally."

*Can you tell that this post resonates with me?? Sorry for the hijack!

I am loving seeing and hearing more about this cute kid of yours.

damn you whore.. i'm still stuck on the large brown sunflower nipple part! lol

Aren't our children supposed to be charming little miniatures of ourselves with exactly the same goals and aspirations, but with better skin? Oh wait, got confused again.

Great post!

I'm sure someone's said it before: but be careful what you wish for. #2 is coming, after all. :)

It's either puberty or the terrible threes. I hear those suck more than 2.


It never ends, right?

You sound like an amazing Mom. Your daughter must surely adore you for allowing her to be who she is meant to be. My eldest child is more like me, my second daughter can't sit still for anything and now has a daughter who is so easy going...a lot like yours I think. I don't understand her but I love her dearly.

Oh, and when puberty occurs and your daughter does bounce off a few walls now and then or begins crying for no reason, just keep this post on hand for a quick re-read or two or three.

Um...where the hell did "we" come from?

Can we trade? Because we daughter is that raquetball you spoke of.

I need a rest.

Oh K. Shall I send my drama queens down to Mississippi for a toddler exchange program? They are exhausting me, and my anxiety is riding high. I could use a little time with a quiet girl who is content to let me read Shel Silverstein to her all afternoon.

I think you're a great mommy. You respect Q for who she is, and yet you show her that it's okay to get a little bit wild and crazy too. Perfect balance.

As a child who was pushed into playing softball competitively for 15 years, I'm on your wavelength. My mom pushed me so hard because it is what she had really wanted for herself. She didn't see that I had other interests because when she looked at me she saw herself.

I really do not want to make that mistake with Hugo. I think you're really a great mom for recognizing that she is her own person so early.

Well said. It's hard to not expect a mini-me but it is also so interesting to see how different my kids are from me, from my husband, from each other. Slowly learning to revel in the differences.

My kids are easy. So easy, even for twins, that I am afraid if we have another it will be devil spawn and I will never sleep again.

Sounds like you're doing a great job. I think the amazing thing about young children is how their personalities change and evolve over time. I had the sweetest, quietest, calmest baby in the world. She's just now coming out of her shell and getting wild from time to time and it cracks me up. There was no evidence of this a year ago. So who knows? Your little introvert may just be waiting for her moment in the spotlight. :)

I don't know what's more terrifying, raising a child that is your opposite or raising one that is just like you. Guess which one I've got.

That is fantastic that you can recognize that it is just her personality to be reserved. I've been reading your blog for a few months now and your love for your family is shining through more and more each day. It is exciting to watch you "own your choices". Does that sound too dorky? If so, disregard...

I struggle with my oldest daughters need for schedual and order - scheduals terrify me, they are something else to fail at. Layer on top of that her odd and deeply entrenched need for certain things to be just so and juxtapose it with my deep seeded need for things to be just so in a totally opposit manner. I find it a struggle every day not to impinge on who she is as a person, to allow her to grow in the direction she wants

Wise thoughts and realizations to let Q be Q. The quiet and amenable, delightful nature was that of my son's. Dare I say prepare yourself for #2. Wasn't quite so easy for me the second time around --- and then with the passage of time, they traded places. #2 becoming "easier" than #1. It's always interesting!

Great post! I have the opposite problem with my youngest son; trying to let him be the boisterous, outgoing, high-energy kid he is without stifling him.

And I agree, you are very wise.

First? I'm FIRST? kewl.

I think these observations are the sign of a mature, very wise mother. It took my own mother years to promise me that she'd let me be me and not her. You got it down in just two.

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