Raisin was a by-the-book baby. I know, because I was obsessed with The Book. If The Book said she should be holding up her head 45 degrees, I was under her belly with a protractor, measuring the angle.
She weighed 7.5 pounds at birth and was 20 inches long. I’m told this is the exact average weight and height of babies born at term. She sat at 6 months, crawled at 9, and walked at 12. Her head was always off the charts in size, and if the pediatrician hadn’t assured me that it was just fine, I’m sure I would’ve found a way to create a crisis out of that.
Three kids and almost three years into motherhood, I have learned what all new mothers eventually learn — The Book is a reference guide, not a Bible.
Which is a good thing, because with two babies to compare not only to everyone else’s baby but to each other and to their older sister, I could quickly make myself very, very crazy (er). (Confidential to Sarah and Linda: thanks again for helping me get off the crazy train.)
As it is, I am mostly able to enjoy their differences. Like at bathtime. Raisin has always loved taking a bath, and she was a splasher as a baby. Or so I thought until I started putting Apple in the baby bathtub. His little legs go so fast, I almost don’t need a shower after I’m done bathing him. Orange, on the other hand, prefers to indulge in a quieter, more restful bath. She daintily taps the water with her feet, but seems offended when I gently splash her tummy. She’s far too much of a lady for that, I guess.
Ditto at feeding time. Apple gulps his milk, from the bottle or the breast, and cries between spoonfuls of baby food if you don’t feed him fast enough. Orange nurses eagerly, but dislikes the bottle. She swirls each mouthful of cereal or fruit around her mouth before swallowing it — quite the gourmet. In this, she’s the one who’s more like her big sister. It took months for us to get Raisin to take a bottle — in the end, she really only took to it because I went back to work and she was hungry.
I amuse myself wondering — will these traits continue as they grow up? Will Raisin keep using imagination and wit to charm her way into people’s hearts? Will Apple always approach life with such a hearty appetite? Will Orange have that same slow, sweet smile at age 5 that she does at 5 months?
*I feel compelled to add that I’m not comparing my kids for the purposes of some maternal pros-and-cons list. I just enjoy their differences. It amazes me that three kids with so much in common can be so unique.
**Edited to add (mostly for my benefit, since this blog is kind of my baby journal): My girls are both very verbal — vocalizing with coos and gurgles from an early age. Both Raisin and Orange could tell a whole story without any words at all. Apple prefers grins and giggles and whole-body squirms to convey his feelings. And the sleeping, oh, my, the sleeping. Apparently the sleep gene in our family is connected to the Y-chromosome, because Apple and the Jellyman seem to have a positive talent for being able to sleep long and hard whenever they need to. Alas for me and my daughters, we are not so blessed….