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    « Friday Reads & Recommends: the Vintage Edition | Main | Where the wind comes sweepin' down the plain »

    May 19, 2013

    Six years, three kids, a bajillion neuroses

    Even though I could positively karate kick every single person who feels compelled to tell me that my baby doesn't look like much of a baby anymore, they're right. At some point in the last few weeks Emma Cheung morphed into the next version of herself. She's not two yet, but for all the whining and demanding and temper having and sheer personality getting thrown around, she might as well be. And it's as I suspected - there's a loud, assertive, charming little extrovert inside that kid and I admit it, I'm a little intimidated. 

    I thought my other kids were full of personality at this age too, but I think they were personalities I understood a bit better. Maybe a little more like my own, or easily handled. I see a lot of myself in Jack, and Molly is a sweet, soft, delicious little spoonful of girly whipped cream. Or maybe it's because I'm familiar with them, I know what to expect, and Emma's self is suddenly exploding all over the house. Even Jack and Molly seemed stunned by the force at times, unthinkingly handing over a toy or snack, immediately giving in, yielding to the emotional noise that is their baby sister. 

    Just this last week she's begun to choose walking - a drunken stumble, really - over scooting, and she's high on the experience. "LOOK AT ME!" her face says, as if she started walking at 9 months instead of 20. She talks. Constantly. Repeats everything we say. Yells it. And if she can't form the words she emits this awful mind-numbing "Eh-ehhhh!" until we figure out what she wants. She is sweet and darling and cuddly and loving until the instant she is not, and then she is furious, offended, indignant, and spilling white hot tears of HOW COULD YOU?!?!?!

    And while she is still very clingy and attached to me, she has absolutely no fear diving (literally) into her siblings' games and toys and carefully structured pillow forts. Aren't all of these things here for her own amusement? Including the older siblings? Is not this entire house and everything within it simply existing for her own personal enjoyment? 

    I feel sorry for my kids sometimes, having as they do a mother obsessed with Myers-Briggs and enneagrams and birth order and various other personality theories and assessments. I don't WANT to assign them traits and characteristics before they can pronounce "enneagram" but dudes, if Emma Cheung doesn't have YOUNGEST CHILD oozing out of every pore. I see it in action every day. She studies Jack and Molly, she takes note of what gets a laugh, and she'll do those things over and over again. She REMEMBERS those things, weeks and weeks after they happen. I'm afraid she'll be playing "steal Mommy's napkin" for laughs until she's thirty-five. Even at not quite two she's the ham in this family, though admittedly she doesn't have much competition. I fear for this child, growing up the lone noisy extrovert in a family of rule followers. But see - I'm doing it again. Who knows what she'll be like! Who knows what the other kids will be like! I don't blame her for capitalizing on being Super Cute Funny Baby Sister, a role I've often envied. 

    I think of all the times growing up when I swore to myself that if I ever had kids I would be FAIR! And EQUAL! And I would remember how old the oldest was when she got to shave her legs and not even CONSIDER letting the youngest do it until she was AT LEAST the age the oldest WAS etc. etc. etc. But I cannot fathom a time when Emma won't be my BABY and so much younger than her siblings and therefore needing special treatment and attention. HORRIBLE! But even Jack and Molly fall into this line of thinking, getting irritated when people would try to get Emma to stand on her own and walk, taking over, protectively grabbing Emma's hands and barking, "SHE CAN'T WALK." 

    How am I encouraging Jack in his "oldest" role and Emma in her "youngest"? How am I neglecting Molly as the "forgotten middle"? 

    It is such a BIZARRE and AMAZING thing to have three brand new never-seen-before individuals living in your house. Where you're observing every minute detail, recording many of those details in a BLOG for heaven's sake. WHO ARE THEY? More importantly, HOW AM I SCREWING THEM UP? 

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    Comments

    I do this all the time with R and W. R is the rule-follower; W is the comedian. I always whined about not being treated fairly by my parents, so I feel a bit bad assigning them roles, but they are different. I figure, at the very least, I'm giving them something to rant to each other about someday. "GOD! Mom always wants to put us in these neat little boxes!"

    Yep yep. S is the ruledollower here (and the little general about getting others to follow the rules) and H is brazen and demanding. I joke that he's bipolar because he has SUCH highs and SUCH tantrums when he doesn't get his exact way. Personalities on little people, it's crazy!

    Ha! Funny post...go Emma! I'm sure you're not screwing your kids up any more than the rest of us, Maggie. :)

    As the mother of an only, I don't have to worry about assigning fair and equal treatment, which is great. I do tend to assign personality traits though...Sophie is shyer and more introverted than I am, so she's just like her Dad! I feel kind of bad about this, but it is glaringly obvious. I wish she took after me more...it's tough being the only extrovert in the family! LOL.

    She is NOT almost two. That's ridiculous. She was born WEEKS ago. I remember it.

    Also, I really loved this post, for no particular reason. Just because it was nice hearing all about all of your awesome kids.

    You are a great mom and you WILL be given all the grace you need for each child.

    And besides, you already get 1,000 gold stars for making the cutest kids! :)

    I'm sitting here studiously avoiding my Writing Class Homework (which I'm pretty sure is going to KILL ME at this point because I have no creative juices left, what-so-ever) and I flit over here to your blog and BLAM your writing just oozes metaphors and description and LIFE. You are such a good writer!!!! Just needed to tell you that.
    Also, I think it's funny you've decided EJ is the youngest. So there's definitely not going to be a number 4? :)

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