Wednesday, 31 August 2016

My smiley baby

I’m not the first parent to be surprised at just how different their children are. Even in the womb the movement of my babies were different. Big girl seemed to do a lot of somersaults and dancing, small girl did more kicks. The pregnancies were pretty similar really, and my bump didn’t look too different (other than me being a few kilo’s heavier the second time round) but the movement was definitely different.

When M was born she cried and cried. One of the midwives made a comment about how she was going to be a difficult baby. A bit unfair to judge a baby so soon when they have just been pulled out into the cold I thought and she soon calmed down with a bit of mummy cuddles. 

Little’s birth was much calmer. She was passed straight to me for skin to skin, feeding and cuddles before the traumatic things like being plonked on a cold scale and measured. It’s not surprising that her cries were quieter and she cried less. I was more relaxed and over that first night the second time round I was filled with the confidence of having been there before. 

My early introductions to my babies were different and as we spent more time together I noticed a definite difference to their personalities. Little was a much calmer baby and cried less. 

It’s hard to know how much their behaviour and personalities were influence by their early days and my different style of mothering. M spent hours crying in my arms as I misguidedly believed babies only needed to be fed ever 3 hours so if she was crying half an hour after a feed it couldn’t have been because she was hungry. Little I would just pick up and place on my breast whenever she showed signs of unhappiness. M I repeatedly placed down in the moses basket where she cried, Little I held next to me if she wouldn’t settle. 

Of course after speaking to other mum’s and reading various attachment parenting posts I learnt that there was another way and I started following my instincts rather than my health visitor and Gina Ford influenced routine mums. Did those first few weeks of tears affect her personality? I remember that M as a baby was always laughing or crying. A child of extremes. She shows the same strengths of moods now and I have to admit that I recognise my own personality in her.

With Little I had different expectations of how a baby behaves, more ideas in my toolbox, more sleep and more support. There were those long nights spent awake of course, but this time she was attached to my breast in bed rather than in my arms as I walked around like a zombie rocking her.

Little started to smile at 6 weeks and I have lost count of the number of times strangers have commented on how smiley she is. Sometimes, particularly if she is tired, she will look at strangers with a slight frown, but she will normally break into a big gummy smile soon afterwards. M used to smile as a baby, but I wouldn’t discover she had randomly be smiling at the person behind us in a queue as happens all the time with Little.

M exhibited an early weariness of strangers. There were a number of people, usually men, who she would burst into tears at on sight. I remember an early visit to the GP where she burst into tears as soon as she looked at the doctor. The doctor found this hilarious and decided to repeatedly traumatise M by waiting until I had turned her away and stopped her crying before getting in her eye line and setting her off again. He even went out to reception as I left to show the trick to the Receptionists. “Kids love me” he claimed, I honestly have no idea why.
Two girls in red dresses. The older girl (M) is cuddling the baby (Little) who is smiling

Now she is older M frequently has me in stitches, she is so funny. She is also kind, confident, smart and shows a lot of love, but boy is she fiery. She knows how to push my buttons and she goes from calm to mad in milliseconds.

When I go in to Little after her nap she gives me a huge grin. When I am struggling through the day due to tiredness she smiles at me and I smile back. Little is only 7 months old, I have no idea what she will be like as a toddler let alone at age 5 (M’s almost age), but I do know she is going to be different to M. Her smiles make things easier and make me a better mum. I always smile back at her and give her more happy kisses. She demands attention because I know I can keep her from crying, instead of me having to give her attention to stop the crying.

When I was pregnant with M I said I didn't want one of those boring, quiet, always behaving children. She definitely heard me. She has all the personality I could wish for and more. I wouldn't change her for the world, but I don't think I'm a strong enough mum to have two like her. She makes me need to count to ten, repeatedly. When M makes me fall apart, Little glues me back together. I am so grateful for my crazy, loud, clever, funny, creative girl, but I am so appreciative that I have a smiley, happy, calm girl too.
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1 comment

  1. It's scary how similar our kids are, I could have written this post! My 4 year old was always very extreme, and cried loads. Baby is much calmer and smiles loads. And yes, the differences started in the womb - 4 year old kicked so hard I would wince, Baby just wriggled. Maybe I've had some influence on their differences, but chances are it's just because they are different people!

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