It’s funny how I parent my two sons differently. Of course, I have to parent based on their personalities, but I also find myself parenting differently because one is the firstborn – first to try new things and hit milestones – and one is my last born – the last to hit these special achievements.
With my firstborn, I’m constantly pushing him to try new things and start the next milestone. He gets ready completely on his own in the mornings – teeth brushed, bed made and dressed. In sports, we learn one skill and then push for the next skill. Once he learned how to hit the tball, we started catch, then dribbling a basketball. When he says things wrong – “learneded” or “slepted” – I am quick to correct him so he knows how to speak properly. I pushed hard for him to be potty trained.
With my last born, there is always a hint of reservation to move to the next thing because then he won’t be as “baby/little boy” anymore. While I like him to get ready in the mornings by himself, I also secretly love when he asks for help on occasion – because he still needs me. When we do sports, I don’t want him to learn too quickly. I’m ok if he can’t do it just yet. Especially because he looks up to his big bro so much and wants to do exactly what he does. When Brooks says the wrong thing, I often don’t correct it – because it sounds so cute and “little”. And this boy night time potty trained himself before big brother did. I didn’t get to do any pushing to do it. But I still often wake him at night before I head to bed for one last potty break and the snuggle I get carrying him back into bed is the highlight of my day.
I love seeing my oldest learn new things and see success in his achievements. But I also hold fast to any little babyness I can keep in my youngest. I want the best of both worlds – the kid who stays ahead of the curve and the kid who stays little for just a day longer.
I know I have to be careful on both ends. I don’t want to push my oldest so hard that he’s resentful of the push. I want him to be driven for his own successes on his own timeline. So far, he’s pretty determined to get better at things on his own – asking daddy for help with sports outside, wanting to do homework and get better at school. Alternately, I have to be careful not to coddle my youngest and baby him so that he thinks he can get away with pulling the baby card. He needs to be expected to hit the milestones we set for our family – whether it be helping with chores or being part of a sports team. And I think we’ll be ok. As much as I love his sweet babyness and kissing those kiddie cheeks of his, he is bound and determined to try everything and get better and “be older”. He pushes hard for us to take off his training wheels and to teach him how to catch like Landon does.
Funny how the parenting approach is so different for two kids sleeping just down the hall from each other.