Last week I was catching up with an old friend of mine, we have been close since our late teens but now we live at opposite ends of the country we only catch up one or twice a year. While she was on the phone I told her about how the boys are getting on, the usual sorts of things really. I mentioned how Monkey is such a cheeky and mischievous live-wire that he can be quite a handful sometimes. I also told her about how Bear is so calm and caring, but also likes to be the centre of attention. We laughed about how Bear must get the attention seeking trait from me and then she said, “it’s funny isn’t it? How two children who are raised the same can be so different.” I pondered about it for a minute before replying, “but they haven’t been raised the same, not really.”
When I first had Bear, I had just left my job, I had just moved to the other side of the country and I had no friends close by. It was a lot of change in such a short period of time and I found myself feeling quite lonely. Bear was the only thing keeping me going some days and so I invested myself into him entirely. He was my entire world and I his. I cuddled him all day on the sofa, I set up activities every day, his meals were always fresh and prepped weekly, we took at least one long walk a day, we went to all the baby groups, I made sure he settled in his own bed and because I only had him to focus on, discipline was quite easy to keep on top of.
By the time I had Monkey, I had been living in my house for nearly two years, I had found a great group of friends, I had just launched this blog and I had a toddler to look after. Life was very different compared to when I first has Bear and it meant that Monkey wasn’t raised in exactly the same way to Bear. Monkey wasn’t cuddled as much as bear was (because let’s be honest, who gets to do that when they have a toddler to look after as well?), then to make up for the lack of cuddles I decided to co-sleep (still do), he only got to go to the odd baby class, he always had a playmate from the start and quite honestly, I play referee a few times a day and so discipline isn’t always quite up to scratch. It’s difficult to discipline children when you aren’t sure who is the one in the right and who is the one in the wrong.
So actually, despite having similar DNA and being raised by the same two parents, it isn’t surprising that their personalities differ so much, because actually they haven’t been raised the same at all! If I’m completely honest, some aspects of their upbringing are polar opposites and with that their personalities have developed differently.
I quite like that they are so different though, it makes the days of parenting that much more colourful and I love watching the boys grow and develop in their own little ways. It’s exciting seeing them take different attitudes towards things, start down different paths and I’m looking forward to watching their own, unique and individual little adventures unfold.