Friday, February 3, 2012

Every Rutabaga Is STILL Different

When I was pregnant with my daughter Katie, I wrote a blog entry called “Every Rutabaga Is Different,” in which I explained why we referred to the then-unknown-gender baby as “Rutabaga.” For those of you who missed (or have forgotten) the story, the short version is that in college I did an experiment analyzing the enzyme content of rutabagas, and when the class got wildly differing results, the professor assured us that was okay, telling us, “Every rutabaga is different.” Since my pregnancy with my daughter felt so different from my pregnancy with my son, I reassured myself that the baby was okay, it was just that “every rutabaga is different.”

Now that my daughter has been born, and especially now that she is developing her own personality, habits, and quirks, I am seeing even more how true that statement is. She looks a lot like her brother, and has a few baby habits that are similar to his - she grunts while she eats, she laughs when she falls over, she loves to bounce in her bouncy seat, she grins at anyone who looks at her, she wakes up in the morning laughing and playing for a while before crying to get up. And yet, she has many habits and traits that are entirely her own – she sucks her thumb; she lounges in a funny half-lying, half-sitting position that I refer to as “The Cleopatra;” she eagerly rolls solid food around in her mouth, rarely spitting it back out (by accident or on purpose);  she squalls wildly before falling asleep; she flails her arms away from her body instead of bonking herself in the head the way he did; she sings and hums to herself constantly in a way he never did.

I love that my children are such unique individuals, and I look forward to seeing their growing differences as well as their growing commonalities as they grow and mature and each become their own person. I hope that they continue to share their sunny, laid-back personalities, their eager curiosity, their love of people, their quick smiles, their easy affection for their family, and their good manners. And I hope they each develop their own interests, their own set of friends, their own strengths and areas where they can excel. If they both turn out to be athletes, or musicians, or physicists, that would be great. But I hope that they each choose to follow their own heart and don’t feel the need to follow in another’s footsteps (be it a parent’s, a grandparent’s, a sibling’s, or a cousin’s) or to compete with someone else just for the sake of competition. I will love them both, no matter what path they choose to follow. I just want it to be a path that leads to happiness and fulfillment.

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