Comparing siblings is, I suppose, only natural, especially when you have 2 of the same gender. Side-by-side comparing was actually one of the only concerns I had when finding out Simon was a boy. I didn’t want everyone (or me) to expect him to be exactly like Declan, or to achieve things on the same pace as Declan did. I would think as the second child, especially second boy, a natural competition exists between you and the first-born. Or a natural desire to shake things up and find your own path. Or hell, maybe the second kid is just glad to have somebody to blame things on, I dunno. My parents didn’t want to risk it and stopped with me.
But with all the milestone-watching that comes with raising a baby, some comparison is bound to happen. Even though Simon, at 5 months, is only just starting to display his personality and do things besides eat, void and sleep, I am already seeing major differences in his timeline and his brother’s.
The biggest one is that this week, at just over 5 months, Simon has cut his first TWO teeth. I can’t believe it. Declan was well over 9 months old before he cut a tooth, even though every day from 3 months on, I was CONVINCED he was teething. Every mood change, every “off” day, every time he didn’t sleep (and Declan NEVER slept), I blamed it on this mystery tooth that I was certain was just about to burst out of his gums. Yea, that wasn’t the issue. Babies are just weird.
Anyway, Simon suffered from his first bout of the sniffles last week (Declan’s first cold: 8 weeks. Simon’s: 5 months. Score 1 for Simon) and any crankiness or neediness I attributed to that. He has always been a hand-chewer and a drooler, so whenever someone commented “I bet he’s cutting a tooth!” I’d dismiss them with a “Doubt it, it’s too soon.” So imagine my surprise when I noticed a white mark on his gums the other day. Could it be?? Really? Yep, there it was, the first little jagged edge, poking through. 24 hours later, Tooth 1 has broken through and Tooth 2 is on its way. Crazy.
Other obvious differences in my boys is their interest in eating solid food. Being a first-time mom, I couldn’t wait to start feeding Declan “real” food. I don’t know what the obsession is with feeding babies, but people love it. So the minute he turned 4 months old, we busted out the old trusty rice cereal, and he hit the ground running. Declan LOVED baby food. Loved it. Everything you put in front of him prompted a huge, baby bird-like open mouth, huge smiles and a total eagerness to gobble up anything he could. He remained a great eater up until 2.5, which is pretty damn good for a toddler. He’s much pickier now, but that’s just him being 3, and I still think he does pretty well, considering. He will actually eat meat, veggies at times and doesn’t scream for mac and cheese more than, oh, 3 times a week. Success.
My eagerness to introduce solids is diminished for Simon, probably because of breastfeeding. There’s a certain sense of pride or responsibility (or pretension, whatevs) that comes with being your child’s sole source of food and nutrition, so the desire to mess with that hasn’t been very strong. But as I’ve mentioned before, we’ve been having sleep struggles, so I was willing to give solids a shot.
We offered him rice cereal first. He was unsure of it, but didn’t reject it. Normal first reaction. Tried some avocado next. Same reaction. But then we took a break because we were working out some gas issues (with him, not me), and his sleep wasn’t improving anyway. Over the course of the past month, I’ve frozen some batches of homemade goodies like I did for Declan, and so far, he has been less than thrilled with my culinary skills. My sweet potatoes and squash taste good to him but are too thick (and I’m too stingy with my liquid gold to thin it out), so he gags a bunch. My peaches and plums are a better texture but are too tart/sweet for his taste. I bought some Stage 1 jarred food, and he seemed ok with the baby peas, although he only got about 3/4 of a jar in him before losing interest. All of this is fine with me, I’m in no hurry. I like to keep the door open so that I can watch for his readiness, but I am not pushing the issue at all.
I have to admit it is really strange to see him so underwhelmed by the food, though. He just doesn’t care about it. Declan would have unhinged his jaw and eaten a whole steak at 6 months old if he could have. Simon is apparently content with what I’m serving up. Fine by me.
Now that Simon is about to get into the mobility stage, I’m very curious to see if he follows in big brother’s footsteps. We already know he definitely shares Declan’s hatred of sleep, but unfortunately for him, Declan taught us that that hate of sleep can be remedied. Or at least defeated. So we are nipping that in the bud now.
He’s a chunky monkey like Declan, but not nearly as big overall. I love that Simon has inherited Paul’s looks but fear he may have inherited my (lack of) stature. Whoops. Sorry, kid. Declan can reach the high shelves for ya.
I’m fairly confident he’ll be more laid back than Declan, but I hear that a lot about second kids. I’m sure that has a lot more to do with parents being more relaxed with the second kid, but even in utero, he was calmer than Declan. Neither boy was colicky or overly fussy as a baby, and they both learned EARLY to flirt with women. Declan puked constantly (literally. Constantly. Happily, but constantly.), Simon thankfully doesn’t. They both love bathtime, but Simon especially, even as a newborn.
The list is endless, and will continue to grow. I look forward to seeing their differences and similarities, but hope I can always remember to view them individually and appreciate their own rhythms.