Saturday, November 3, 2012

Why I Love My Kids Differently

Yes, I do love my kids in different ways. I DON'T mean with different intensities - my obsession over them is so equal that I often feel overwhelmed with caring so much for 2 little people that I have no control over. Having the 2nd kid is experiencing the exact same wonder-excitement-worry-panic-anger-enormous love you feel with the first one, all over again. Which means your life can be either twice as wonderful or twice as painful, depending on the day lol.

What I'm talking about today isn't child preference, but a simple realization that my kids are different and need to be treated as such. I'm beginning to see more and more that they don't need the same things from me. Not only because of the age difference; their personalities also make them show and receive love in their own ways.

When Andrew wants attention, he tries to make me laugh. He nods pretending to sneeze, claps or blows raspberries. What he wants from me is much more interaction than a hug. Of course he wants to be held as much as the next baby, but he's not nearly as touchy-feely as Melissa. She's ALWAYS loved kisses. As a baby, when we'd kiss her cheek, she'd lean over, as if asking for more. Andrew's okay with it, but after a few seconds his little hand pushes my face away, as if saying, "enough, mommy" :).

This works out great since while Melissa's demanding the 100th hug of the day, I can be making faces at him while he's at his exersaucer, and often that's enough to make him happy. That is, of course, if he's just had his fair share of being fed/carried, but I think he's much less clingy than Melissa was. I see more displays of jealousy from him when I'm playing with Melissa than when I'm hugging her.

So here's my prediction of the future: Andrew will be an outdoorsy, manly guy, who isn't as sentimental as his sister, but will love a good laugh (I promise you, he was laughing ever since he was only a few days old - didn't think it was possible! :). My way of showing love to him will be quality time - maybe being there for his games, or just cracking up at his stories. I so look forward to loving him more and more that way.

Now sweet & sensitive Melissa needs to both hear and feel (physically) that she's loved. I anticipate lots of make-up playing (she already loves my brushes), spa trips and heart-to-heart talks about some cute guys or mean girls. With her, I know I need to validate her emotions before I can get a response. "Stop screaming" doesn't work as much as "I know you're upset, but you can be quiet now, it's okay" (followed by a hug).

Before getting pregnant with Andrew, I did worry about not being able to love another child as much as the first one. If you're going through this now, don't let it stop you from taking the plunge (if that's the only reason). Yes, is it a LOT of work, but it doesn't make it any less wonderful to love twice.