Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Compare and Contrast

Having a second child is fascinating, because it gives you great insight into your first child.  You see the things you got off easy on, or the things you never knew were way harder than they had to be.  You see which genes remained strong for round two and which ones got to mix things up a bit.  You start to get a little more context into the experience you had the first time around, and I definitely appreciated the experience way more this time.

When it comes to similarities, there are a select few.  They both have dark brown eyes like me.  They're both super skinny, but thanks to Carter's challenges since he's started solid food, he's just a little smaller than Jacob was at this age.  They both dealt with reflux at a young age, though Jacob's issues manifested more in a nasty cough after bronchiolitis, whereas Carter was a hardcore spitter-upper with a nasty milk intolerance.  At this age they were both very smiley with a determined, mischievous side.  They both have a way of enchanting people with just a smile.  Carter is gravitating toward "ball" as one of his first words, just like Jacob.  While there's a very slight resemblance in some of their pictures, that's about where the similarities end.

Eating is one of the biggest differences.  Jacob fought me on food from the get-go.  He was a pretty good nurser, but even with that he was a little hot and cold.  Solid foods were a nightmare, and to this day he's a challenge at the dinner table.  Carter, on the other hand, has been far more consistent.  He is beyond excited every time he sees a bottle.  He was on formula since he was six weeks old, and for the most part he's loved his bottles.  Despite the rice intolerance and concerns with dairy, he has been a champ with table foods since he got past the puree stage.  He loves most of what I give him and lately he's been a bottomless pit.  I can't get certain things (meats, grapes, yogurt melts) on his tray fast enough.  It's almost like, "Oh, so this is what it's like to have a kid that likes to eat!"  Ultimately I do hope that Carter avoids the Celiac diagnosis and his rice intolerance wraps up soon.  I would appreciate, though, if they could have the no-allergy thing in common.

Sleeping is another difference, although we're still pretty early on in this one.  Jacob definitely had more sleeping challenges early on.  Part of it was because he was sick a lot, but he also had a harder time at night while teething.  Carter has been such a good baby at bedtime for most of his life.  Both were very good about sleeping through the night, but I think Carter's been a little more consistent.  Jacob was a great sleeper for years and only recently has imploded into a kid who wakes up multiple times each night looking for company, so I guess the jury is still out on this one.

They've both had their fair share of issues with pooping.  Carter had worse diaper rash and more consistent constipation issues, but I'd venture that Jacob had more extremes--tons of blowouts, meatball-sized poops when he was most constipated, etc.  The one big difference is their personalities on the changing table.  Jacob was often at his happiest up there, but Carter is not a fan.  He was miserable for the first couple months of his life each and every time he was up there, chilled out for nine months or so, and then decided again that it was the worst thing ever.  To this day diaper changes are pretty miserable, be it because he's squirmy or just generally uncomfortable.  Not sure what's causing his current issues, but he definitely lets me know he's not happy.  He barely lets me wipe him most of the time, whereas Jacob was always relatively cooperative. 

Jacob was a serious snuggler for a long time.  As a baby he'd snuggle right into your shoulder and sleep there for hours.  For years he'd nap with Craig all the time, and loved to cuddle during movies.  Even now, despite our challenges with him, he can barely fall asleep without someone snuggling him, and when he wakes up multiple times each night, he's always looking for a snuggle buddy.  Early on, Carter wouldn't nap unless he was sleeping on someone, so I thought he was destined to be a snuggler.  And while he can snuggle, he's much more likely to look around or find something else to do.  He's busier during the day, and at night he's more eager to get into his crib than be rocked to sleep.  As much as he loves people, he seems to prefer to get into his bed and snuggle in there. 

Jacob was first to hold up his head when on his belly, but Carter crawled earlier.  I think Carter also pulled up earlier.  He seemed to be on track to walk first, too, but his recent illnesses seemed to derail that a bit.  He's almost back to where he was a few weeks ago, standing without holding on and trying to walk while holding hands, but I still think it may be a couple months before he walks on his own full time.  Jacob didn't walk regularly until about 16 months, which may put them nearly even.  Most of this stuff has yet to be seen, but based on what I've seen so far, I have a feeling they're going to excel at different skills in general.  Jacob is very smart and in the past year or so an artistic side has emerged.  It took years before his drawings looked like anything, and suddenly not only were they recognizable, they were great.  Carter doesn't seem to acknowledge talking quite as much as Jacob did at this stage.  We had Jacob holding up one finger on his first birthday when we asked him how old he was, but Carter doesn't quite seem to mimic as readily or understand certain instructions yet.  Jacob was probably advanced, but my guess is that Carter's strengths will be very different yet no less strong.

Jacob has been all sports, all the time, since he was a baby.  He liked puppies for a while, I suppose, but his first toy of choice was a ball, and pretty much after that it was any sort of stick, bat, or other sports-related equipment.  He was going to games from the time he was six months old, and he would sit and watch intently.  It took a long time before he would actually focus on the TV at home, but the main thing to catch his attention was sports.  He liked Elmo, but sports were definitely his thing.  Carter loves playing with balls, and he can even throw one now.  He also loves playing with mini hockey sticks and lightweight plastic golf clubs to hit those balls.  But he also loves trucks!  I'm convinced the kids in the same room with us at church got him going, because they'd push trucks around and he always wanted to play with them.  Now he will push trucks around the room at daycare, and he usually gravitates toward a certain musical firetruck at home.  He loves pushing the ride-on car he got for his birthday, too.  One of his other favorite pastimes is crawling into a little tunnel we have.  Our baby play mat/gym had a feature to convert it to a tunnel (about two feet long, at most), and he loves crawling in there and peeking out at us.  I think he's used the tunnel and firetruck far more already than Jacob ever did.  Oh, and Carter does not have the same attention span at sporting events that Jacob did.  He definitely gets a lot antsier, and I realize now how lucky I was to have Jacob be the kid that I took to countless hockey, lacrosse, and soccer games while Craig was working for multiple teams.  I'm actually a little relieved that Carter isn't SO into the sports thing.  I want him to like sports, for sure, but knowing all we've been through with Jacob, a casual enjoyment sounds like a pleasant change from full-time obsession.

From the moment Carter was born, I knew that I wouldn't have much trouble telling the boys' baby pictures apart.  While certain expressions or angles may look similar, as a whole they don't look alike.  When Carter was born, he was so hairy and his complexion was so much darker.  His skin was dark (in retrospect, I think he was just really pink), and his hair was practically black.  Jacob was always very fair with lighter hair.  Both boys' hair has lightened as they've gotten older (Jacob's went from brown to blond, and Carter's has gone from very dark brown to medium brown), and Carter's complexion is plenty light now, but as a whole he's still a bit darker.  Jacob has his dimple, while Carter has those chubby cheeks that everyone loves.  Both boys are super skinny, but Carter seems to be a bit skinnier at this point, for whatever reason, even though his face always makes him look like a chub.  Still, face-wise Jacob is much more me, and Carter is Craig, based on Craig's baby picture, at least.  I don't see much resemblance among my immediate family (at least, not like some families), so I guess I shouldn't be surprised that they're different. 

I suppose this goes without saying based on everything else, but the two boys couldn't be more different personality-wise.  I guess it's hard to know for sure how Jacob compared to Carter at this same age.  I know that the happy-but-determined label fits both of them at a year old, but I do have to say that as a whole Carter has been far more "chill" for most of his life.  He's a huge people person who does everything in his power to catch people's eye when we're out in public.  He's gone to bed without a fuss, eaten most of what's on his plate, and sat calmly through countless events that most kids would have freaked out through.  Yes, he's getting considerably more impatient and is showing his defiant, troublemaking side more often, but as a whole there's still a sense of calm in him that I don't remember from Jacob.  Jacob was very social as a baby, and still can be despite his awkwardness.  But nowadays he's much more intense about things, which makes for a major contrast when he and his brother are in the same vicinity.  Carter just loves Jacob so much, even though Jacob is nothing but mean to him.  Jacob will yell at him and Carter will smile.  Jacob will stomp and Carter will laugh.  Carter just wants to play with him and have a good time, but Jacob wants nothing to do with him.  Of course, I worry that Carter's complete obliviousness to Jacob's anger is some small sign that he'll have similar issues to Jacob (who often doesn't flinch when we're angry with him), but then he'll do something completely differently than Jacob would have and I breathe a small, momentary sigh of relief.  I wish I could see both boys at this age side-by-side, but I know there are no guarantees anyway and comparing is just futile. 

They're both individuals, that's for sure.  Sometimes I wonder how we could have produced two such different kids with the same gene pool, but then I'll look back in the blog or have a deja vu moment where I realize they're not that different after all.  It's all relative, I guess.  It just depends on the moment, the context, and how much sleep I've had :) 

Parenthood is certainly a trip, but when you add another passenger, it definitely becomes more of an adventure.

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