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Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Same, but Different

It really and truly irks me when parents say they love their children the same. They may love their children equally but I think it does injustice to say they love them the same. All children are different and need to be loved in different ways. The love doesn't even have to be really equal, as long as the child gets what they need emotionally.

As for my children there is no way to love them the same. On the personality spectrum they could not be further apart. LaLa is a highly emotional and sensitive child, she needs constant attention and approval. KiKi could care less. She is independent and headstrong. The challenges of parenting these two personalities are complex.

My oldest LaLa is the sweetest little girl. She is very loving and she carries her heart on her sleeve. She is also very cautious, high strung, ADHD, and anxious. Sometimes I can look at her and see the energy flowing in her just waiting to burst out. It is like a dam holding back a swollen river. My job as a parent is to funnel that energy into something that is productive. If not, I have a kid bouncing from sofa to sofa, doing forward rolls all over the living room floor or pulling out ALL my DVDs and lining them up in a perfect line across the living room floor. I also have to watch my tone and wording with her. The slightest raise of my voice, even if I am not angry, can make her burst into tears. I have perfected the low authoritative voice because yelling does me not an ounce of good if it is counteracted by hysterics and a complete emotional meltdown on her part. She craves structure and I am the most unstructured person in the world. I have to force myself to plan ahead for her benefit. This complex individual is wrapped up in a beautiful willowy body, with her fathers dainty facial features. She is an exquisite child and I love her so much. She love me too. Sometimes when I am laying on the couch, she will just come up to me and wrap her arms around me and say "I love you, Momma!" and that means the world to me.

KiKi is a mirror of myself. I can't believe how similar our personalities are. Laid back is an understatement. Unlike LaLa, I "get" KiKi. I understand what she is thinking. I can read her without much effort. She is rambunctious, loud, fun loving, and stubborn. Oh Lord is she stubborn! Try to get this kid to do something she doesn't want to do. I dare you. I double dog dare you. My husband call her "the mean one", which in truth she probably is. She picks on LaLa because she has figured out she can. You can see a little glint of mischief in her eyes when she smiles. It is fabulous. She does have a strong sense of wrong and right even at age 2. Even when she does wrong, she understands when I make her apologize and put her in timeout. I rarely get much resistance from her when it comes to her punishment. She needs me, but not too much. She values her independence. She makes me want to be a kid all over again.

I love my kids differently but equally. I see their good and their bad. I see the trials that they are going to have in the future and it scares me equally. I fear that LaLa is going to be taken advantage of. I fear that KiKi is going to be emotionally hard like I am. The best I can do is to prepare them for the future and explain that it is o.k to be themselves. They do not have to fit the mold of the perfect child, they just have to be their own perfect.


steenky bee said...

Oh. I so needed this post at this time. Both my children need different things from me. I've struggled being a mom of two because I didn't know how to give them different things. You put this perfectly. It touched me.

Lola said...

Great post, Kat. I'm so KiKi, and my son is, too, with a little bit of LaLa. I only have one child, but I know that what you say is right on. Every single being on the planet has different personalities and needs, and you just have to find out how to love them the best you can. It's not possible to love them equally at all times.

LiteralDan said...

I totally agree with you-- thanks for putting that all out into words so well. I'm putting this into StumbleUpon.

Kat said...

jenboglass- thank you. I am glad you liked it.

lola- you got it sista. I am having an extremely hard time loving KiKi at the moment, she got me up at 6:00am.

Dan-Thanks :) You rock.

Captain Dumbass said...

That was excellent, Kat. My sister-in-laws used to annoy the hell out of me by constantly asking which one was my favourite. What? Have a couple of kids and I'll ask you this question. Then you can see how dumb it is.

The real fun is dividing these two totally different ways of loving your children AT THE SAME TIME while they're both crawling all over you for attention. Am I the only one who gets their names mixed up? I figure it because with all the work your brain is doing, something has to give.

Anonymous said...

A beautiful, thoughtful, and touching post, Kat. Parenting doesn't come with a manual. I get annoyed when people say "THIS is how you should raise your kids or THAT is how you should discipline them because that's what worked with THEIR children" or works for children in general. I don't even have kids and this annoys the hell out of me, haha.

Seriously, Kat, I think you are doing a great job:-)