On Monday, our baby will be eleven months! I cannot believe it's been nearly a year since his birth! It honestly feels like it was just a few months ago, and yet how much has happened since then.
One thing I cannot get over is the night-and-day difference between our sons - it's like they came from different parents, different states, different countries. Wow.
Our first son: A very challenging baby, though adorable. Cried for hours on end. Has been extremely bright, smart, advanced, curious, stubborn, opinionated, motivated. He has been a challenge from day 1, and he still is. Learning how to parent him has been like taking an advanced Master's degree in parenting, and I've been running to keep up with the coursework ever since he was born. Very active and extremely advanced physically - completely mobile before 6mos (he would arch his back and push off with his legs, scooting backwards on his head) and walking at 11 mos. Could climb before he would walk.
Our second son: An extremely mellow, laid-back, easy-going, sweet-tempered, delicate baby. Many more health issues (all minor) than #1, who has hardly known a day of ill health in his life. Content, plump, mild-mannered. All of our nicknames for him are descriptors of his adorable chubbiness (and thus will have to be dropped before he gets much older) - Chubs, Tubby, Chublet, Wee Pork Chop, etc. etc. etc. He is utterly unmotivated physically - at nearly 11 mos. of age, he just last week turned over for the first time. I doubt he'll be even crawling for several more months. It's not that he has "problems," but that he is simply happy happy happy. While #1 was, in a word, driven, he is simply content to sit back, slurp succulently on his hands (both at once, if possible), and watch the world go by. He can be fussy, but it's nothing on the scale of baby crankiness, and on the whole he is a dream baby.
I remember our pastor's wife saying that one of her babies was like what Jesus must have been like as an infant, and this one is very close to that.
For example: I can actually walk into the bedroom with him, he being fully awake, and put him down in his crib to let him fall asleep. Yes, SERIOUSLY! Is that not a miracle? It is wonderful! In fact, I can put him down and then walk around the room doing things, or lie down myself to sleep! Occasionally he'll be momentarily fussy, but on the whole he'll just suck on his fingers and gaze around until he dozes off. That's right! Wallow in your oozing jealousy, my friends!!
With our eldest, we had two choices when putting him to bed. We could spend an hour nursing him to sleep, or we could listen to screaming. A lot of screaming. At some point he would did learn to go to sleep on his own if he was drowsy and we played his mobile, but then we'd be rushing into his room every 2 minutes to reset it - "Quick! The mobile is running down! Run!!" And we'd have to do an army crawl across the floor after he was in bed, because if he saw/heard us, he'd be up in a second and we'd have to start over.
Can I say there's a bit of a contrast?
When our eldest was a few months old, we visited some friends who had a baby a wee bit older than ours. At some point in the evening, she left with the baby and came back a few moments later without her. I said, "Where's the baby?" My friend said, "Oh, I put her to bed." I puzzled over that mystery for YEARS. Literally, years. I couldn't figure it out. How exactly do you just "put a baby to bed"? In my mind, there were two options - a very long nursing session, or listening to a lot of crying. Nothing in between.
Now I know. And it is wonderful. Mmmm.
I am very thankful to have had what (at this point, at least) seems to be our "harder" child first. For one thing, it lets me learn all the hard lessons first and then have an easier time with the next, which I much prefer. A friend of mine told me that her first was her easy child and her second was her hard one, and her second child hit her life like a lead brick - it turned her world upside down. So did #1 for me, but I'd rather have that happen when I don't already have another child in my life!
Secondly, I know that I would have been one conceited mother if I'd had an easy child for #1. "You see that beautifully behaved child over there? Yes, that one? He's mine. And he's so perfect because of my parenting. If you parented as well as I do, then your child would be perfect too. Too bad. Tsk tsk tsk." My first child is in the business of keeping me humble. :)
Though it does make me afraid to have another - you just can't make temperaments to order! And there's no guarantee that it will stay this way. One friend of mine told me that her "easy" one actually hit the toddler years harder than her "hard" one. If that be the case for me, I am really in for it. Ye gods!
But nowadays I am just enjoying the sweets of having an easy baby!