Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Second Child

I am convinced that God is a cruel jokester sometimes. I am fond of saying that He gives us an incredibly wonderful, easy baby the first time, so as to sucker us into having more.

Our first daughter was the easiest baby in the world. We patted our own backs on so many occasions for our obvious parenting prowess, for we had a baby who slept through the night within a month of being born, who was always happy, who rarely cried, who still, at six-years-old, is as easygoing and sweet as it gets. And then came G.

G, born a mere 16 months after her sister, started in on us right away by steadfastly refusing to poop at the hospital, sentencing us to two extra days with a crazy and somewhat demented nurse, while we waited, hoped, and prayed for some movement. From the very beginning, she let us know she was determined to call the shots. She was ruddy and fat and loud, with no sign of the sweet "Aah Laah" cooing we'd been accustomed to with our first. She took forever and a day to sleep through the night, walked at nine months, talked conversationally at 18 months, and has been arguing with us ever since. I love her dearly, but boy she gives us a run for our money.

She starts kindergarten tomorrow. If ever a kid needed it more, I'd like to know. I will nominate her teachers for sainthood at the end of the year.

In the meantime, I continue to balance my admiration and frustration with her. Today, while buying school supplies at Target, she cheerfuly read from the school supply list provided by her teacher. Admiration.

We approached the composition notebook display. I picked up a black one. She wanted pink. I could have explained that the books go into a big pile for all of the kids to use and so color was really irrelevant, but I have also learned to pick my battles, and told her to go for it. At some point, she added a butterfly-covered spiral-bound notebook that she wanted for herself. At 50 cents, I agreed.

When I returned home, I couldn't find the composition book and alarm bells went off in my head. I asked her what she'd done with that pink book and she cheerfully explained that she'd decided she'd put it back and gotten the butterfly notebook instead, not in addition to, as I'd mistakenly assumed. As usual, at five-years-old, she thought she knew better than me and now I have to go back to Target. Frustration.

And so it goes.

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