Lately, I have been having some behavioral issues with the girls. Nothing out of the ordinary, really. Smarting back, saying words I don’t like – shut up! – and purposeful meanness towards one another and me. We have great times during the day interrupted by massive explosions of complete insanity.
Those are the moments that exhaust me and send me searching for a bottle of Jack Daniels…. BBQ sauce to slather on my pork ribs, or a shot of coke… that I can swig down in a hurry. Or hiding in a closet with a bottle of wine – not that that ever happens, mind you. That would be wrong.
But as I have watched my girls grow and develop into sometimes sweet, sometimes sassy, but always entertaining little girls, it dawned on me that they are little mini me’s. How can they not be? I am their constant companion and have been their entire lives. Except for Katie, who spent her first year with a sitter while I worked to get out of my career as a stockbroker – so I could stay home, mind you – not so I could be jailed for illegal maneuvers – none of them know what it is like not to have Mommy around.
So, I started to assess – the damage – and compare their behaviors to mine. It’s a scarier task than I ever imagined. One that might, literally, send me to the Betty Ford Clinic… to make sure my padded room is still there and ready for me.
Katie is my oldest. She has been around me the longest. In her early formidable years, I was a stressed out working mom to a daughter I desperately wanted to stay home with. Her personality reflects that. She is my fiercely independent but most attention seeking child. She does not do well, at first, with change and she prefers to act out her frustrations rather than talk about them. I was just that way during her first year. I expected people – my husband – to understand my internal battle between being a career woman – which I had worked for my whole life – and a desire to see every moment in my new daughter’s life. If he didn’t, I pouted and acted in frustration rather than just telling him. I was overly protective of her and any delineation from what I though on how to take care of her was met with a sharp look that sent clergy praying for my eternal soul.
She bites her nails… ME! She sasses back… ME! She has great style sense… yes, that’s her Dad. She loves to color and be creative… toss up. And her heart is worn plainly on her sleeve for all to see… and one day stomp on… totally ME.
Sarah is my second daughter. I was a new stay at home mom when she was born and beyond overwhelmed with the care of a 14 month old and a newborn. A newborn with colic, a hole in her heart, and an unnatural attachment to my breasts. Seriously, it almost took surgery to remove her at 15 months. Her personality reflects my complete lack of knowledge in what I was doing. She tries to retain control whenever she can. I think because her first year was so out of control. She had to have the same cup, the same plate, the same fork, the same seat, the same underwear – that she can pee in – the same bedding and on and on. We think she will be an OCD candidate one day.
She is whiney… ME! Well and maybe her Dad, let’s be honest. She is open to new experiences… ME! She is about the sweetest little thing I have ever met… no clue where that came from. And she seems really intelligent and to be developing at a faster rate than her schoolmates – at least that is what people tell me… ME! Hey, just because I am lazy does not mean I was not smart! Oh, and she’s a tad lazy too… I already admitted to that soooo…. ME! She also wears her heart on her sleeve and is incredibly emotional. You know that is me. No question. But she loves tools and to build and to work with her hands. Definitely her Dad.
Megan is my most calm child. Just as I was really calm when I had her. Going from two to three children was a lot easier than I though. Except for the fact that I was seriously outnumbered and missing an all important arm, I handled myself pretty well, I thought. She sleeps the best – sans teething – eats the best, and seems to be more adaptable than the other two were at this age. I feel I ignore her the most during the day because she can not talk, so I don’t hear “Mooom” all day and come running. And she really loves to play with her sister’s if she is not in her room, playing alone.
She loves to laugh… ME! She adores babies… you would think me, but my husband for sure. She shows a fierce desire to do things “right”… ME! And she loves to have things where they go… ME! She plays all day but needs love at night… both of us. And she is an “old soul” – ummmmm… maybe me?.
The more I think about it, in fact, I think birth order has less to do with the development of one’s personalities and more to do with the mothering style one received early on in their lives. Katie reflects my conflict and stress, Sarah reflects my overwhelmed whinyness, and Megan reflects my maturity as a Mom. If we were to adopt a fourth – an option we’re considering – he/ she would probably reflect all of my experiences and be the most well rounded.
But no matter what, no matter how crazy it gets, or how insane I might feel, it is a ton of fun living with me… s!