Saturday, May 14, 2016

Birth order & personalities

I am the baby of my family (of origin). I'm also the third child. I have one older brother. He's the eldest. I have one older sister she's the middle child. Just to paint a crystal clear picture. My parents always said there's a good reason I'm the last child. That reason being ME. I was do you say this politely...a...handful. Or according to the book on my mom's bedside table "a strong willed child". Ironically that book is now on my bedside table. The reason I own the book is also my third born child. Unlike my parents I (foolishly?) persevered therefore she isn't my youngest. Though in my defense I think I'm the youngest because my siblings and I were all born within a three and a half year time span. Three kids three and under? Yep that sounds exhausting! 

After my first was born my mom said to me "Too easy. Try again" (in regards to his temperament). After my second was born she said it again. "Too easy." Shortly after my third was born she said "BINGO!  Good luck. Have fun! You deserve this." And chuckled as she walked away. *Or something like that. And when Hannah is acting a little too much like me my mom fondly refers to her as "Hannah Bear". Joe often calls us "Bear and Little Bear". Usually when I'm at the end of my rope with her. So while it's cute I'm not so fond of that nickname! 

Naively I assumed parenting a child with my temperament would be easy. Not because it's an easy to deal with temperament but because I would understand it. I mean I understand me. I know what makes me tick. I know what drives and motivates me. I know what frustrates me. I get me. So I assumed I would understand and therefore easily parent a child just like me. 

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. 

Dead wrong. 

This girl challenges me and drives me to the brink of insanity. Daily. Hourly. Sometimes even more frequent than that! Dealing with a miniature version of myself feels impossible at times. I should know what I'm doing...but I don't! I am so out my parenting league with this one! 

Just going to the grocery store with this child feels like a battle. I'm exhausted by her never ending need to discuss/argue EVERYTHING. Every item I put in our cart warrants a long in-depth discussion in regards to my reasons for purchasing said item. Usually followed by her counter arguments. Why we should NOT buy the item. All while I'm just wanting to shop in peace and quiet/get out of the store before the baby melts down! It's draining. And none of my usual parenting tactics work with her. She laughs at my bag of tricks. And she fears no consequence. 

It turns out parenting my two kids that have similar personalities to my older siblings is much easier! I have YEARS of experience interacting with/managing/navigating/relating to them that has easily translated into parenting children similar to them. 

My eldest reminds me a lot of my big brother. They are both insanely imaginative and inventive. They can make something out of nothing. Often weapons:) And their minds are always on. Pondering. Creating. Learning something new. Thinkers. And creators. Too smart for their own good. Those two. 

Charlotte is sweet and caring and incredibly empathetic. To a fault in fact. She cries when others are sad or hurt. Often she cries before the hurt person! She is the peacekeeper in our house. Always looking out for others. Growing up I actually used to get annoyed with my sister for being "too nice!"  Ha. And now I have a daughter just like her! 

I didn't grow up with a younger brother so no comparisons here. But so far Levi fills the cute, laid back youngest child role very well. 

Back to my original point - Hannah and I butt heads a lot. More days than not I am at a loss as to what to do with her. How to best parent her. I count down the minutes until her father comes home and can take over as her primary caregiver. For very different reasons I was at a very similar spot with Isaiah a few years ago (the time I took all his toys away). Thankfully we aren't there anymore. In fact we are in a very good place as mother and son. And while I can go back and re-read that post and distinctly remember how worried I was about my son and my ability to parent him at that moment. It's just a memory now. One filled with anxiety and insecurities. But those feelings no longer haunt me in regards to Isaiah. So in typing this out I m hoping that some day I can look back and re-read this post and say "thank goodness we aren't in that spot anymore! Wow that was tough but look how far we have made it." It will take a lot of work. And consistency. But I think we will get there. 


*I promise her words were not this harsh. But that was her general sentiment. 

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