"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter." ~e e cummings

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

yin and yang

I didn't sleep at all the night before my 20-week ultrasound during my second pregnancy. I wasn't worried about the ultrasound, really, but we were going to find out the gender of our baby. And what I thought we were about to find out kept me awake.

The first 20 weeks of my second pregnancy couldn't have been more different than the first half of my first pregnancy. The exhaustion and nausea were still there, but all the little pregnancy quirks were completely different. With my first, I craved macaroni and cheese, hamburgers, and mashed potatoes. With my second, I craved lemonade. That's it. I didn't want to eat anything or drink anything but lemonade. I did...but I wasn't happy about it. With my first pregnancy, my hair turned dark brown and got waves for the first time in my life. During the beginning of my second pregnancy, all of my hair fell out. Well, not all, but an alarming amount. The heartburn I had with my first was noticeably absent with my second.....and so on......

And so, because of these differences, I was convinced, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I was pregnant with a girl.

And I was fine with that. Really, I was. But still, I couldn't sleep. I didn't feel like the mother of a girl. And worse: I didn't know her name. Sam and I had known for a long time that our next baby boy was going to be Max. It was just one of those names that one of us said one day and the other said, "That's it!" and that was that. He was ours.

But a girl?! We had a list of names but couldn't narrow it down even a little. In the morning, we were going to find out that we were having a girl...and HOW COULD I SLEEP WHEN I DIDN'T KNOW WHAT TO CALL MY BABY?!

But then, [as if you don't know how this story ends....] the ultrasound tech got the measurements she needed, found the shot that we were waiting for and.....Yup. Definitely a boy. I breathed a sigh of relief because I DID know my baby's name. It was Max. It had been Max all along. And the differences in the pregnancies? Only the first of many, many examples of how my two boys, born into the same family, living in the same house, raised by the same parents, are Completely Different.

*Evan's labor and delivery were two-days past due, even, methodical, smooth, and even calm. Max came roaring into this world a week ahead of schedule and so fast and furious that he almost sent his non-medicated mommy into an emergency cesarean section.

*Evan: full head of dark, curly, mohawked hair. Max: Totally Bald.

*Evan has the most gorgeous, huge green/brown eyes that have these big, deep, soulful pupils that make him look like he's seeing everything and more. Max has the most gorgeous, huge denim-blue eyes that have these little pupils that let you just sink deeper into the beautiful blue....

*Evan was a sensitive baby who didn't sleep for more than an hour or two at a time, punctuated by hysterics and inexplicable wakefulness. Max, though not a sleep-through-the-night kind of kid (I just don't think I'm going to have one of those....), was a much easier sleeper from day one. A great napper and just plain go-with-the-flow.

*Evan is still my long and lean string bean. Max: Thick as a Brick. Have you seen those thighs? The other day, Evan asked, "So what is a Thunder Thigh?" Guess I've been letting that slip.....

*Evan didn't pick up food. He went straight to utensils and would have nursed or let me spoon-feed him forever. Max (because of BLW) has been eating finger food from the beginning of solids, looks at me like I'm a crazy person if I move towards him with a spoon full of food, and is already trying to drop nursings! Too soon, little baby!

*Evan achieved all of his gross-motor milestones right on schedule. As soon as I started reading in baby books or online that "your baby might begin rolling over," he did. And he would work up to these milestones in such a way that I always knew when he was about to accomplish a new trick. I'd have time to get the camera and video ready to capture his every First. Not Max. While still on schedule, he goes from Not Doing something to Doing something like a pro so fast that I almost forget to write it on his milestones calendar. One day about a month or so ago (see?), he saw Evan across the room and started scooting over towards him. Just like he'd done it a hundred times. So effortlessly, in fact, that I almost didn't notice it. Like, "Oh. There he goes. No big deal." The other day he was able to get into a sitting position from his belly with such ease that I wonder if he's been practicing at night.......

*As a baby, Evan's eyes would pop open from a nap and his mouth would simultaneously open in an I'M AWAKE IN HERE COME GET ME wail. Max will often play for a few minutes (or longer, probably, if I'd let him) before wanting to get up from a nap.

I absolutely love their differences. I love that they are unique individuals from their appearances to their personalities. It is helping me to become a more flexible parent, I think, because it's clearly obvious that one style of parenting will not fit all. Already, in these 8 fast-as-lightning months, I'm a different mommy to Max than I was to Evan. Part of that is birth order: the simple fact that I've been here before and know more now what to expect and what to do. But the other factor is their distinct personalities. I love that I don't get to choose who they are. I love that I will be getting to know them as they grow, and mature, and develop into who they want to be. I can't wait to see what they become.......

Lesson Learned:
Oil and Water or Peanut Butter and Jelly? Wonder how these two opposites will fit together....

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