Thursday, April 09, 2009

The Tale of Two Kiddies

If anyone had tried to explain the complex feelings that a mother has for her child before I had my kids, I wouldn't have been able to understand. I don't think you really are able to grasp the depth and intensity of those maternal feelings until you actually have a child of your own and you're able to experience the ride for yourself. And, I wasn't able to understand a mother's ability to love two children with the same depth and intensity until I had my second's like a well that has no matter how many times I have to dip into that well, there is always more than enough to share with my two babies.

What has really taken me by surprise is how different my two kids are and how differently I feel about them, but how it's really all the same after all. It's hard to articulate. I am so glad that Grace was my first child. I always wanted to have a little girl, a little princess, who I could spoil the crap out of and dress up in pretty things and giggle with. And Grace is SO that little girl. She is the little princess that I always wanted. Some of my favorite times with her are when she and I are sitting around and just being GIRLY...putting on lip gloss, talking about pretty clothes, drawing pictures of flowers and hearts, and giggling our heads off. This week Grace and I went to the salon to get haircuts, just the two of us, and it was SO FUN. I loved holding her on my lap during my haircut and talking girl talk. If I had had a boy first, I think that I might have been a little sad to miss out on that.

I'm also glad that Grace was my first child because she challenges me more than I think some kids challenge their parents. She tends to be a little more on the high maintenance side than not, and she has pushed me again and again until I feel like I am finally comfortable in my Mom skin. She is strong-willed and knows what she wants, and I am happy about that. (Even though those traits challenge and frustrate me sometimes, I know that they will serve her well as she gets older.) Grace has molded me into the parent that I am and I'm glad I had her first because of the experience she has given me. It has proven invaluable.

It's so cool to watch Grace morph from only child into big sister, too. She is way proud of her little brother, and she loves to help me out with him when she can. And, sometimes when she doesn't know I am paying attention, I will catch her singing little songs to Harrison or whispering little words of comfort to him if he gets fussy. I am so proud of the compassion and gentleness and caring that she shows for her brother. It will be so neat to watch their relationship grow and blossom in the coming years, as Harrison gets older and the two of them are able to interact more.

When I found out I was having a son, I was excited but I'll admit that I felt a bit of trepidation. After all, I have a sister, I have a daughter, and I didn't think I knew how to raise a boy. But man, I love my little boy, and there is such an awesome feeling of pride that I feel when I look at him. Any feelings of hesitation that I felt about raising a son are long gone. I find myself increasingly excited to watch him grow up and see what kind of a boy and, eventually, what kind of a man he will be. And woe to that future love interest who comes into Harry's life and tries to steal him from me. 'Cause it ain't happening.

Harrison is so laid back, too, in contrast with Grace, who has tons and tons of energy. He is content to lay on his back on the couch and listen to Grace playing or sit in his bouncy chair quietly in the kitchen as I am cooking. I'm actually able to lay him down while he's drowsy but not quite asleep and let him fall asleep on his own...something I was unable to do with Grace. If Harrison had been my first child and I had a high energy child second, I wouldn't have known what to do. In reality, I feel almost over prepared for Harrison at times. He's such an easy baby.

How lovely to be a mama and to have so much love for two wonderfully different, yet equally wonderful, little people.