Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The window of early childhood

My friend Laurie asked me the other day if I could believe Esther was already 5. I responded that what I couldn't believe is that most of her "early childhood" is gone already and that the choices Mr. Q and I have made, for better or worse are done and imprinted.

Of course, our friend H. would respond that nothing is forever and habits can always be changed. This is also true.

I got teary when I told Laurie that I am so, so glad with the decisions that Mr. Q. and I have made regarding Beezus. I'm not sure that there's anything I would do differently.

Perhaps since I am smack dab in the middle of Ramona's early childhood and Ramona is a bit in the midst of a crisis, I am feeling rather weepy about this whole early childhood time. For as good as I feel about the decisions we made with Beezus, I am questioning the decisions we are making with Ramona. Ramona seems more stubborn than Beezus, more easily prone to a shriek or a scream when she is mad. While Mr. Q. and I are fairly firm about not giving in to her when she does this, Beezus just as often will give her whatever she wants and will say to me, "I just want her to stop screaming !" We both think that we "give in" to Ramona too often, but it's difficult since it's so hard to reason with her. She's also got the two of us plus Beezus bossing her around, so she may feel increased pressure to assert her independence.

Raising two girls so close in age (they are 22 months apart and we did it that way on purpose - no surprises here !) makes me nervous about treating them differently. I think it will be fairly simple to be consistent on the big milestones (you get your ears pierced for your First Communion) and there are other milestones that don't matter as much (Beezus has not seen a movie yet, and I suspect that they will wind up seeing their first movie together at the same time, say when they are 6 and 4, or 7 and 5; rather that see it separately when each of them is 6, or something).

It's just that Beezus is turning out so nicely, and I want Ramona to turn out nicely too. It's so, so hard to not compare the second born to the first born, and yet I know this is the kiss of death for same gender siblings close in age.

To some extent, I feel a sigh of relief that Beezus has reached 5 relatively intact. In spite of our shortcomings, we haven't screwed her up too badly yet.

But there's plenty of time left for that. ;-)


Rachel et Natalie said...

you are doing an amazing job!

Marya said...

I could have written this post. I also worry that the second isn't going to have the "best" the first has. The only thing I keep whispering (literally) to myself when I think like this is, "Ari has the benefit of an older brother and a mother who has some clue what the hell she is doing." The second will be very different than the first because they are different and you are a different mother to each of them no matter how we try to be "equal" and "fair". Both girls have an amazing Mom - no surprises here!

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