We've all heard it before: No two pregnancies are alike. Nor are two children. But until you have actually lived through two pregnancies and lived with two children, you really don't have a full appreciation for that old adage. In some respects, it's hard to believe that my boys are even related, their innate differences are so profound.
Take, for example, eating: Justin lives to eat while Lucas...
Lucas was diagnosed with reflux at 2 months and was an early teether — cutting his first teeth at the ripe old age of 3 months. The combination of these two issues left Lucas with not only a mild oral aversion, but also practically a disdain for eating that continues even to this day.
He exclusively nursed until 8 months, though not without my repeated, unsuccessful attempts to introduce solids once he turned 6 months. When he finally started eating solids, he was extremely sensitive to texture and consistency, both of which seemed to invoke his apparently very sensitive gag reflex. Did I mention his sensitive gag reflex? If Lucas gagged while eating, the meal was immediately over. For two days.
Then came along Justin. I had no idea at that point what it was like to have a child who
liked food loved to eat. As soon as Justin was old enough to sit up, he was reaching for the food off of everyone's plates. When Justin turned 5 months, I introduced solids, as I couldn't bear to wait until 6 months for fear that I would permanently scar him with the deprivation. Now at 10 ½ months, Justin is eating anything and everything that is put in front of him, plus still nursing. Justin seems to also have inherited the apparently sensitive gag reflex, but when he gags, he just keeps eating.
There are many other areas where the boys' differences are dramatic. Behaviorally, the boys are on opposite ends of the spectrum: Lucas is a go-getter while Justin prefers to direct others to "go get it for me."
And in the bath, at first their reactions were overwhelmingly different: Justin took to the bath like a fish while Lucas took to the bath, well, like a cat.
For the purposes of a post it's funny to "label" the boys with catch phrases, but in reality their little personalities continue to develop. While Lucas spent the first 20 months of his life screaming and crying in the bath, he now cries when it's time to take him out. (Not to mention that labeling can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.)
I have also learned from experience that it is important to try not to compare the boys, especially in the presence of each other. While it might seem reasonable to expect that calling attention to Justin's fabulous appetite would encourage Lucas to eat more than once every couple of days, such comparisons have only served to create an adversarial relationship by highlighting the boys' differences!
But regardless of their innate, profound dissimilarities, and the fine tightrope I as a parent must walk to balance them, the boys are also truly brothers. Justin spends a great deal of his day trying to do what Lucas is doing — he giggles when Lucas laughs, babbles when Lucas sings, and tries to walk after Lucas as Lucas runs around the family room.
And Lucas is proud to have a little brother who clearly looks up to him. Obviously, opposites do attract.