Saturday, August 23, 2014

Slime'n'Snails vs. Sugar'n'Spice

It's funny to me when people ask if raising Benjamin—a boy—is different from raising "the girls," as if they're assuming Rachel and Miriam are personality clones. A boy certainly has presented different challenges, for example, when Benjamin decided he could go potty like a big boy the other day and dragged a stool over to the toilet so he could pee standing up. He peed everywhere.

I never had that particular problem with either of the girls, but still raising Miriam has been quite different from raising Rachel.

When people ask me that—if raising our boy is different from raising our girl—I try to explain that Rachel and Miriam are polar opposites, personality-wise, and that Benjamin fits somewhere in the middle.

Rachel was a loud baby, a fit-thrower, and about as precocious as could be (fully crawling at five months old (when her peers were barely starting to roll over)). Miriam was a quiet baby, a self-soother, content to play in one spot (I thought she was developmentally delayed until I realized she was actually right on target). Benjamin can throw a good fit, but he also easier to comfort than Rachel ever was. He didn't crawl or walk particularly early, but he was rolling over before he'd even reached his due date (front to back and back to front—a skill probably attained, in part, to the gravitational pull of his huge head).

Now Rachel is a self-proclaimed tom boy, a tree-climber, a soccer player. Miriam is a self-proclaimed girly-girl, a dancer, an artist. Benjamin is a toddler, still too young to tell exactly how his boyhood is going to be. All three children are different.

But I was reminded (again) this week of how different Miriam and Rachel are when they each found an article of clothing that needed to be retired. For Miriam it was her Minnie Mouse swim suit, which she passionately needed to cast off:

"Mom," she said, "I need to get rid of this swim suit. It doesn't fit. I don't need it. Can I give it to Marcella? I just need to get it out of the way because I have a new bathing suit now. Can I put it in the give-away box? Where is the give-away box? I just need to get rid of this old bathing suit!"

For Rachel it was a pair of purple clogs (not Crocs, but same idea) that she's been wearing almost everyday for the past year. The strap broke on our way up to Palmyra and Sister Kellis gave us some pretty duct tape (a floral pattern) to fix it with until we could find a replacement shoe for her to wear. Now she's developing a hole in the sole of one of the shoes. Besides which they're getting too small. We bought her a new pair of Crocs when they were on sale at Costco but she won't wear them. Not yet.

"When these break for good," Rachel murmured solemnly (probably while caressing her shoes), "I'm going to take one of the heel straps and glue it into my journal so I can remember these shoes forever. I think I'll put the duct-taped strap in, so I will remember the very first time my shoes fell apart. But I'm going to keep wearing them until they completely wear out."

So that's why I giggle a bit when people ask if raising Benjamin has been different from raising his sisters, because, frankly, raising his sisters has been two very different adventures.


  1. Well said. Gender is only about anatomy, not personality!

  2. Love the story about R's shoes! Andrew often teases me about wearing things until they fall apart. If I happen to buy something new and *gasp* wear it in the same week, he about falls over from shock! :)

    I enjoyed learning more about your children!