Wednesday, August 4, 2010

One of these things is not like the other...

Felix: 7 months
From Felix 7 months
From Felix 7 months
From Felix 7 months
Miles: 7 months
From Felix 7 months
From Felix 7 months


From Felix 7 months
From Felix 7 months

I keep having strangers say to me "your boys look so much alike."

Huh???

Although I think Miles and Felix look like brothers, I don't feel like they look like each other at all. Miles's features screamed "Eric" to me, whereas Felix reminds me of what I looked like as a baby.

True, there is quite a bit that these boys share...
  • Less than desirable sleep habits
  • Getting up way too early
  • Frequenting Children's Healthcare for physical therapy
  • Wonky hair and balding patterns
  • Insanely long eyelashes
  • Outie belly buttons
  • 2 Teeth in the 6-7 month
But in so many ways, they are different. I think their different personalities amplify their differences in looks, too. Both boys love to be around people, but in very different ways. Miles is an innate observer. He watches everything. I remember even as a small baby he would just love to watch other little kids playing--examining their moves. Still, he is the same way. He takes stock of the playground...following all the other kids around with his gaze before he even dares to approach the swings. He studies his environment, which is why I think he amazes us with how much he remembers and knows without us ever giving direction. And Miles loves to be held. He always has. He loved the swaddle blanket and I have spent hours at night just nursing and holding him.

Felix, on the other hand, loves being around people, but is more of an "engager." He talks in mermaid squeals like Darryl Hannah from the movie "Splash" and chortles and smiles on command. And when he is tired, he flails his body in ways that seems like he is jumping out of your arms. And rocking and nursing him doesn't soothe him. He doesn't want hours of cuddling, he needs you to put him in his crib so he can settle on his own. And his nursing style is completely different. Miles painted Monets on my chest...Felix is more Jackson Pollack...with nails. He's aggressive and wild...and when he is done, he pops off, whereas Miles could comfort suck for eternity.

Miles poops multiple times a day. (Yeah, potty training is not going so well. As in, not going anywhere beyond sitting on the potty with a diaper, then flushing the adult potty, and pointing out "pee peens" and "gineys." Too much? Don't worry, I'll inevitably expand in another post.)
Felix is like an every other day-er. Let me tell you. There is nothing more jarring than going more than a year plus with a multiple times a day pooper, to being introduced to an every few days pooper. It was pure shock and awe.

(And any other mother out there knows how poop is like second in command for the most talked about topic with parents...right after sleep, so I don't feel bad putting their poop habits on the blog.)

As Miles gets older, I am starting to recognize that he will most likely be an introvert. Timid. Tender hearted...shy. And I need to learn to be more sensitive to those characteristics, as I am a natural extrovert who, on my Nursery School report card, had one teacher write that I "shun other kids" and that I was, in essence, bossy. I was the type to develop a script based on Haley Mill's version of the "Parent Trap", cast my friends in supporting roles (clearly I was the lead), and then make them all perform my work in Ms. Malhoit's 2nd grade homeroom class. I have no doubt that will be Felix. And Miles will be the one forced to play the role of the Father against his will, and he'll stay up all night the day before the performance and agonize over the thought of being in front of the other kids.

Okay,  so I am projecting a bit...but what I am starting to understand is what the whole nature versus nurture debate is really about. By nature I have two very different kids, and my nurturing needs to reflect those differences, embrace them, and be sensitive to the aspects to each of their personalities that don't resonate with me.

And in general, Felix's first 7 months have not been a carbon copy of Miles's first 7 months. And if we have any other children, I am sure again I will be amazed at the differences between all of my children. It makes it both fun, but also frustrating. Tactics and plans that worked with one, don't work with the other.

Case in point: feeding. With both Miles and Felix we didn't start solids until much later than their contemporaries, around 6-7 months. It's not a "right" versus "wrong" issue...but a "right for OUR situation" issue. Miles I didn't start right away because he was so little, and I felt like he was not ready to eat solids, and he showed no interest. With Felix, part of it was me being lazy, avoiding the cloth diaper/adult poop issue, some new information I read about advantages of delaying until 6 months, and also an attempt to keep my milk supply up.

Another mother recently said to me, "If Felix was grabbing at your food at 4 months, you should have just started solids then. He must have been really pissed at you!"

But listen, Moms. It's not right or wrong to do it how I did it. Leaving your child in the car in 100 degree weather for 30 minutes is wrong. Starting your child on solids after 6 months isn't. Don't judge.

Miles preferred the spoon. I spent countless hours on weekends pureeing organic foods and freezing in exactly 2 oz portions so I could meticulously account for how much he ate. And with only one child, I had the time to do it. And I secretly loved experimenting with my Beaba baby cook and making all sorts of neat purees. With Felix, he has little interest in the spoon, and we are opting for a baby-led weaning approach (BLW). (No, it doesn't mean weaning from nursing...we're still going strong!) Essentially, you give the baby small, but manageable pieces of food that he can pick up on his own and feed himself. For the first few months, it's about exploration, experimentation, and MESS!
From Felix 7 months
With Felix, I have zero concern about his weight, and if for the next couple of months if he just smears food around on the table, and gets a taste or two of food, so be it. Additionally, I don't have those countless hours to puree food this time. (It's a good day if I put a brush to my head!) So I credit the universe for giving me the children I have in the order I do. Additionally, with Miles, I was much more concerned about calorie intake. And the truth is, Miles would never have gone for feeding himself.

What works for one, may not work for the other. And that's okay. 

So, we've started with bits of avocado, chunks of banana, and baked apple.

And from the contents of his diapers. He's doing more than just smearing. 

It's not right or wrong. It's just different. And different is good...even if it makes a titanic mess for Mahna and Mommy to clean up every night. Isn't he just delicious?
From Felix 7 months

These two, too.
From Felix 7 months
From Felix 7 months
From Felix 7 months

Yeah, we eat topless.

Full album here.

5 comments:

  1. ouch!

    that's all the cute hurting.

    i think they looked a LOT alike at that age, but what do i know about kids that look alike? :P

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  2. Okay, my word verification is twins. :) But I don't think that is the case at all. I think people think they look alike because they both have those big beautiful eyes. After those you can't get to anything else.

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  3. one thing I have learned about people is that they have a pocket full of phrases that they say to mothers whether it is true or not. it is actually kind of funny.

    I can't wait to hear more about BLW with Felix. I think that Owen and Felix have a bit in common. Ginny is more like Miles - an observer through and through.

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  4. love it! we "started" solids with amelia at 6 months, but then quit until 8 months because she wasn't ready... and then we went full force into table foods too... no puree's for my baybay girl. do whatever is best for both boys and don't be afraid to shush the nay-sayers... i'll be shushing them along with you. i mean, come on, 21 months and still nursing... i'm use to the nays! :)

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  5. That's the thing about parenting - you will never feel expert because your children will continually present you with different challenges due to their different personalities and as they grow through stages in their lives (wait for teaching them to drive!!!).
    It is a particular challenge having a child/ren who are unlike your personality, but it's a gift to become sensitive to other personality types. I was the extreme introvert presented with two wildly extroverted children, and it was a marvel to me!

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