Words of Wisdom I Should Have Heeded

Then I wouldn’t be so surprised that friends and family were actually right. When I was pregnant with Matthew, friends and family would tell me that the second kid would be completely different than Brandon. And when they said this, I would smile and nod and think, “Of course he’ll be different, but not that different because we’ve got this parenting thing down.”

Oh, silly me. I really believed we had the parenting thing under control. Brandon was a happy baby, happy to go anywhere at anytime with anybody, even tempered, rational, happy, happy, happy. He was even happy when he was sick. By the time he was two years old, we could sit him down and explain why he shouldn’t do something, say, eat an entire bottle of Tums, and he wouldn’t do it – ever. I never had to put child locks on anything because Brandon didn’t get into stuff. Ever. Brandon would challenge you mentally with deep questions, which I can handle. Mostly. With almost 7 years between the boys, I had a lot of time to grow accustomed to his style.

Matthew has presented a new challenge. Since the day we brought him home from the hospital, he has been very different from Brandon. (Matthew screamed the entire way; turns out, he didn’t like the confines of his car seat. This will be a problem for the next 18 months.) Matt’s a happy kid and pretty even-tempered, too, and he and Brandon resemble each other. But that’s about where the similarities end. Matthew will get into anything, anytime, despite repeated warnings and even repeated punishment. He’s hard-headed like that. I don’t know where he gets that from. I’d say his father, and his dad would point the finger at me. Truth be told, he probably got a double shot of hard headed genes.

Anyway, Matthew is certainly challenging my parenting skills. The other day, for example, he accidentally scratched up a DVD beyond repair, tore the bell off a Santa hat, bowled with glass Christmas ornaments, ate an unknown number of Tums, mummified his Thomas the Train set with an entire roll of Scotch tape, gave Buzz Lightyear a bath with about 20 Clorox wipes and boxed something up to send to his cousin, Cullen. (I don’t know what’s in the box.) And where was I while he was doing all this stuff? Oh, I was here – washing the dishes or sweeping or doing something industrial and thinking that he was watching television. Again, how silly of me! I’m beginning to think I’m the one that needs to learn my lesson: Matthew is never doing what you think he’s doing. But he’s not malicious. He’s not being a bad kid – he’s just super inquisitive and active. Really.

Now, had I heeded the words of wisdom, I probably would not have been terribly surprised when Matthew had horrible, horrible colic that turned out to be reflux and I would not have been surprised when a doctor at our church suddenly snatched Matthew up off the floor, just before he inserted my car key into an electrical outlet. I’ve been slowly desensitized to Matthew’s actions, as my sister-in-law pointed out when I didn’t get upset when Matthew was climbing over the fence of the caiman display at the zoo. I very calmly told him to get down. And he did get down, but not after giving my sister-in-law quite a scare.

So I’m slowly coming ’round to the wisdom of others: Matthew is a completely different kid than Brandon. Not bad ‘different,’ but just different. Probably more stress inducing, though. And since I know several people who are about to produce their second offspring, I thought I’d give you the same advice I received four years ago: don’t be surprised if you have to develop a whole new bag of parenting tricks.

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2 Responses

  1. Thanks for the words of wisdom. I know that the chances of my two being the same is slim, but I only pray that my second is different in all the positive ways. (Wishful thinking maybe?) I need a child that is laid back, not the least bit stubborn and can sleep through the night. There, I put it in writing so that in a few months I can jinx myself into getting a child that is even more “intense” than Grant. Still, I am hoping for the “different” in all the good ways child. Either way I will learn to adapt to another parenting style.

  2. I guess you have already read my blog at all the ways our kids are already different. It’s not that I didn’t believe it when people told me the same things, but I just hoped that Brooks would be as E-A-S-Y as Kate was. And, it just isn’t as so. But, he is easier in other ways. In that, we can take some relief…

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