Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Children Are Gifts That You Unwrap Slowly Over Time

I was reading my friend's blog-- Mummy Mania--whose latest post is about her three daughters. How different they are and how she is always seeing a new side of them and learning more about their personalities. I wrote her a comment, and at the end, said, "One of the best parts of motherhood is that your children are gifts that you unwrap slowly over time." And then I thought to myself, That's a pretty profound thought, Brittany. You should write a blog about it.

Here it is.

I think you can tell a lot about your future child's personality in utero. I had intense, persistent morning sickness with Sam--as if he was intent on letting his presence be known. And Sam was a kicker, and an elbower, and a flip flopper. He was especially active at meal times--especially breakfast. During my last trimester, I'd start off every day with a big bowl of watermelon, which he apparently liked. If I ever dared to oversleep and he didn't get his watermelon fix when he wanted it, he would kick me awake and continue kicking me until the watermelon was forthcoming. That child was active and persistent from day one.

John, on the other hand, was much more sedate. My morning sickness (compared to the kind I had with Sam) could be characterized as half-hearted. John wasn't very active. He slept a lot. He was a snuggler. When we had a 3D/4D ultrasound at 30 weeks, he was cuddled up against the placenta. The ultrasound tech predicted he would be a blankie-lover, and he is. The world as we know it would come to an end without Green Blanket. He also likes to sleep against me with his feet wedged underneath me. This isn't much of a surprise, considering that in utero, he wedged himself so tightly underneath my rib cage that he was hard to extricate (even with a c-section).

As babies, Sam could scream and cry for hours at a time. John had short bursts of upset-edness and then it died out just as quickly as it began. Sam was needy (and hungry). John wasn't (and satisfied easily).

As toddlers, Sam is the adventurous one. The one who stands on his bean bag chairs so he can reach the garage door opener suspended from the wall, opens the garage door, gets his tricycle, and takes it for a ride down the street--by himself. The one for whom the word "No" doesn't represent an insurmountable obstacle, but, simply, a challenge to be overcome. John, on the other hand, is the homebody, who loves nothing more than lazy day snuggles on the couch. Who wakes up early in the morning and comes all the way upstairs to sleep for an hour or two between Mommy and Daddy.

Before they were ever born I could have predicted as much.

But even though I could've guessed at a lot of things, there are just as many more facets of their personalities that I never would've expected.

Sam loves words and language. He delights in hearing (and finding) rhyming words. He loves to sing and dance. He's empathetic, and loving.  He's the emotional child, the one who gets his feelings hurt easily, the one with a gooey-marshmellowy center. When I was sick as a dog with the stomach flu, I woke up to find Sam in the bed with me, just sitting there, holding my hand.

For all his mellow qualities, what John lacks in persistence, he makes up for with volume. John has an angry scream that would rival the high-pitched wail of any Steven Tyler or Sebastian Bach anywhere.  He is insatiably interested in mechanical and physical phenomena, which means a lot of things around the house get smooshed, thrown from tall heights, rammed into each other, and wrecked beyond all repair. For all his (mostly) quiet reserve, he is fearless when it comes to meeting new people and trying out new social situations. This is the child I sent home with a fellow co-op parent for the morning, a woman neither of us knew well (at the time), who went to a strange house with strange people and came home happy as a lark. This is the child who hides in plain sight in Sam's preschool classroom, who plays with older children so easily, no one notices he's there. This is also the kid who can defend himself, and has no qualms about pummeling his way out of a sticky situation.

And just when I think I have a handle on the boys' personalities, and can finally know what to suspect, they do something new to surprise me again.

As Sam comes within sight of 5, he's becoming more cautious, more patient. He'll sit and work quietly all afternoon on a puzzle.

John, who's mere weeks away from being 3, is gravitating toward more physical play and really enjoys his swim lessons.

Each day with them is a gift, and it's always a surprise.


  1. how very true, and yes, profound. i am continually amazed at all my kids' facets.

    what a wonderful peek at your boys as they grow and change and surprise you!

  2. Aw, this is such a sweet post. No one knows a child like their mommy!


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