10.08.2011

As Different as Could Be

They look a bit a like, don't they?

Genevieve, almost three months
Juliette, three months

But from day one, they are just so different. Of course they are both sweet and adorable and perfect in my eyes. But at birth, Genevieve was sleepy and mellow, whereas Juliette was fitful and, to be blunt, kind of angry. But Juliette luxuriated in our arms. She loved to be held, and was totally at rest when she had skin-to-skin contact. She couldn't get to sleep unless she was being nursed or rocked or carried around. Ben used to pace for hours to get her to go to sleep. We could set her down without waking her up, but Lord have mercy if she did wake up, because she would be irate to discover that she was in her crib. We ended up becoming attachment parents because we had an attachment baby; I can't even imagine what it would have been like around here if we hadn't adjusted our parenting style to her very clearly communicated needs.

Genevieve, on the other hand, is not an attachment baby. She gets upset if she's tired and you don't get her settled into her crib quickly enough. She likes a tight swaddle and a clean pacifier, maybe a little white noise, and she's good to go. Although she sleeps for stretches as long as six or seven hours at night, she rarely goes to sleep in our arms. When she's done with her milk, she's done nursing. Sometimes I misread her cues and tick her off by offering to nurse instead of her beloved pacifier. She always wakes up if we have to move her. And we discovered another difference this week, while dog sitting. She is incredibly reactive to sound. The dog's bark has scared her a few times, and for a few moments she's completely inconsolable. Juliette did not so much as wince when the puggle barked during her newlycome days.

I'm realizing that these are more than just personality differences. They have different physiologies, it seems. I marvel at this, since after all they have the same set of parents.

Somehow having two makes it all the more clear that there is something within them that is more than the sum of their nurture and nature, that they are more than just a mashup of our DNA and a product of our culture. Somehow having two makes me all the more mindful that these two little girls have been outfitted with unique and lovely souls, a spark that is wholly divine. And just as it's our responsibility to figure out what our girls need to sleep and feel safe and loved, we also have the responsibility of tending those altogether unique sparks.

What a gift this all is.

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