So Different – What the Hell?

I love our boys. I cannot remember life without trucks, cars, Ninja Turtles, Thomas the Tank Engine, and dirt. I was so thrilled just to be blessed with two pregnancies that I didn’t even worry about whether we would need to buy pink or blue until I realized the second time around that it would be important to determine the sex of the baby; I either would need to hire movers to come and haul out all of the clothes and toys I had stashed away after our first son was born so I could begin making room for dresses and tutus, or I would need to start laundering the ungodly amounts of onesies I had hoarded. (Okay, I don’t really know what I would have needed if we had had a daughter, but judging from friends with daughters, I would be in a pink princessy haze right about now.) But, I was thrilled to learn that baby #2 also was a boy. I have a boy. I know how to do this. We won’t need to buy clothes or toys ever again!

Boy, was I wrong! Baby #2 entered this world a bruiser and hasn’t slowed down yet. A full two pounds heavier than his older brother at birth, our younger son has been his own man since we first laid eyes on him. And, of course, he didn’t fit into many of the clothes I had ready and waiting for him. Size wasn’t the only difference. He had squawked so loudly when he made his grand entrance that nurses came to make sure everything was okay. He spent his time in the hospital crying in such a unique way that the other families in the maternity ward knew right away that it was that “big baby.” Baby #1 only cried in the hospital when we tried to bathe him and put him in his car seat for the first time. Oh, isn’t he cute? That’s THE cutest cry we’ve ever heard. You know, silly first-time parents think that even the crying is adorable. And that first poopy diaper? Precious!

By the second time around, though, you think you know what you’re in for. You’re expecting to not sleep ever again, only wear clothes doused in spit-up and drool and God-only-knows-what-else, and never clean your house again. You know how to measure formula in the middle of the night without any lights on and not spill a single drop while bouncing a screaming baby and praying that he’s not really waking up the entire neighborhood. Car seats and high chairs and strollers and Pack ‘N Plays that once seemed like you needed a degree in rocket science if you ever had any hope of using them correctly are now operated with one hand.   I got this!

And then we realized this tiny creature was getting to be evermore different from our first tiny creature. This one had a little giggle instead of a deep belly laugh. This one loved tummy time instead of screaming like a banshee if we even attempted to put him on his belly. This one only puked every time he ate sweet potatoes instead of every time he ate. Every. Time. This one did an adorable Army belly crawl instead of refusing to crawl until he was up on his hands and knees like the poster child for infant mobility. This one loves to take naps and asks for “Night, night time” instead of forcing you to drive up your gas bills and put hundreds of miles on your car just for a fifteen-minute reprieve. This one is fiercely independent and stubborn instead of letting you talk logically and show him how to do things. This one throws the most unholy tantrums you’ve ever seen, complete with kicking, thrashing, hitting, screaming, crying, and banging his head on the floor. Wait. What the Hell?

Oh, yes. The tantrums. We didn’t have these before. We don’t know how to handle this. We don’t know if we need to buy him a helmet, put him in a padded room, or start looking for an expensive therapist. Mother of God, how does one child create such noise and mass confusion? What could possibly cause him this much stress and frustration? The trains aren’t staying connected when he pushes them across the floor. He can’t find the milk cup that is two inches from his hand. His mother stood up and walked to the bathroom when she should have been pushing the truck. It’s Wednesday and the sun is shining. He doesn’t need a reason. He just loses it. And then we want to lose it.

It’s funny how two children from the same parents can be so different. We haven’t changed our parenting style, and he certainly didn’t learn this from his older brother. The only logical conclusion I’ve been able to reach is that we got the wrong baby at the hospital. I just don’t know which one is the wrong one: the sweet, sensitive child or the impatient, irrational child. Either way, we are stuck with this tantrum-throwing beast that we love with all of our hearts and who causes his older brother to look at him, shake his head, and mutter, “Oh, that kid,” while I look at him and think, “What the hell?”

(Connect with me @baileyshawley or share this post on Facebook so your friends can see what you’ve been reading.)

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