So lately I pretty much feel like I am being constantly screamed at. Though baby girl’s colic stage is behind us, the screaming as means of expression has continued. When baby girl is hungry, screeeech! When she is full, screeeech! When I’m simply not shoveling food in fast enough, screeeech! Swallow, screeeech! Swallow, screeeech! Swallow, screeeech! When baby girl is tired, screeeech! When she wakes up, screeeech! When she has a wet diaper, screeeech! When she has a poop, screeeech! When she wants a toy 6 inches from her, screeeech! When she’s bored in her jumpee, screeeech! When she wants into her high chair, screeeech! When she wants out of her high chair, screeeech!
My very sweet pediatrician friend told me that the personality of a baby up to 18 months is not necessarily an indication of their personality after 18 months.
She told me that to console and encourage me.
But I think this screeeech! IS baby girl’s personality. See she is night and day different from her big brother who was mellow as a baby and is still an easy going, introspective, generally happy, kid. From the first week of life, I knew that baby girl was going to be a different animal than little man. Little man used to take 45-50 minutes to nurse when he was a little peanut (and hey, it was my first kid so I DVR’d a lot of TV shows and put my feet up and it was pretty awesome). Baby girl could empty one of the girls in 10 minutes flat at her littlest and slowest stage. Little man still takes his time and is deliberate in everything he does (to the bane of my existence sometimes as mama doesn’t have time to move slooowwww).
Little man was slow on all of his motor skills but did them perfectly the first time. He did a perfect roll from belly to back at 4 months and then I taught him to roll from back to belly in 10 minutes at month 6 (shift the weight over, reach for the toy). Baby girl rolled over belly to back by herself at 7.5 weeks and never stopped. Maybe it’s the second child hey someone look over here and see what I can do phenomenon. Look at me! I’m rolling! Wait for it, wait for it, here I go again! Then she rolled back to belly on her own initiative at 4 months. I had to stop worrying about SIDS because the kid was just going to sleep on her belly. Then little man spent all of month 9 in perfect crawl position, on hands and knees, just rocking back and forth, rocking back and forth, and smiling, and rocking back and forth, and giggling, and…until one day I finally put my feet on either side of him and showed him that he could move also. And his first crawl, which followed shortly thereafter, was a perfect hand in front of hand, crawl. At the very beginning of her 8th month, baby girl began propelling herself forward. It wasn’t exactly a crawl. It’s that whole army elbow-belly-knee I’m going to knock over big brother’s block tower no matter what type of movement forward. Sheer determination is this kid. If she can get there, it doesn’t matter if it’s pretty or not. Then at 10.5 months, little man casually pulled himself up on a table (reaching for Nana’s salad) and looked rather nonplused about the whole thing. Little man’s walk was the same: he wouldn’t let go of my finger until he was 16 months old but he had a perfect (though slightly John Wayne) gait from the moment he did. Though baby girl has not attempted to walk yet, by 9 months she had already pulled herself up and was proudly knocking things off little man’s train table—without yet doing that perfect crawl.
And talking has been the same. Little man’s first word came in his 9th month and it was a clear, 2 syllable, “doggie.” Kitty, dada, and mama followed shortly thereafter. Baby girl, early in her 8th month, started a continuous stream of mamamamamamama which some would say, and I thought so at first, was just vocalization. But the mamama’s increase in length and loudness when she is awake in her crib after nap or wanting another mum mum handed to her. She’s not perfect in her linguistic usage, like older brother, but she’s clear and persistent!
So right now, I think the screeching IS the personality.
As an aside, I have been madly trying to teach her basic baby sign so that hopefully the screeching would decrease and I now do have a very proud arm waving “all done” and a hand clap for “more” beginning (or she’s just proud of herself for eating since I clap every time the food stays in her mouth and is not spittled back at me) and I think they are helping.
The screeching IS the personality. But to be honest, as much as some days I feel like I’m just being screamed at from either side of me (as baby girl’s screeches somehow result in little man getting louder and crazier as well), I love that this is her personality. I love that my kids are exactly who they are.
I love that baby girl is a total go-getter jump in-until-I-figure-it-out kind of girl. I hope she stays this way. I pray that she will know herself, be content in the person that she is, and go for the things she wants in life. Funny, because that’s a lot like her mama—and to be honest, my route of getting places hasn’t always been pretty. I often feel like I’m army crawling through life. I just pray that baby girl will know how deeply she is loved, how precious and beautiful and unique that she is, that she will be able to avoid some of the messy heartache that jumping in sometimes involves. This mama has had her share of that. Amazing that baby girl is 10 months old and I’m already worried about her little heart when she’s 16.
And I love that little man is exactly who he is. I love that he watches and focuses and applies that observation to his skill set. One of our friends said we should teach him golf because he has such an amazing ability to focus, even as a young kid. I think he’ll excel at whatever sport interests him. And I love that he is cautious. One of my mom friends said, “that’s good—less blood.” I love that he isn’t the first kid to jump off the side of the pool (and is usually the last—after every kid years younger than him is splashing away). I know he won’t be zipping down the black diamond run when he’s 5. Or skiing past the avalanche warning signs when he’s 17. This mama is pretty happy about that.
One of my mantras as a mom has been to value my kids for exactly who they are—to even look for who they are. To appreciate their differences. I want them to be content in the little people God has made them to be and appreciate who they are—appreciate their uniqueness. When I’m at my best, I kind of see myself as an observer-director (and oh that I could always be at my best!): looking for who they are, valuing who they are, letting them know they are just perfect exactly in who they are, and encouraging them to strive to be kind, loving, and generous (and fair and rule-abiding…what stop sign, officer?) little people.
So that’s the kind of mom I want to be. And you can remind me of that when I’ve been screamed at all day and can’t wait for my 8pm glass of ZIn.