It’s hard to tell sometimes if the personality traits that Taylor has are different because she’s Taylor or if they are a result of being a second kid. However, I think at least a good number of them are due to our different parenting and because she’s always watching her big sister.
Taylor is a bruiser. She’s fearless. While Peanut was always (and still is!) incredibly cautious, watching everything around her carefully and never taking any steps until she was sure that she wouldn’t fall, Taylor has none of these worries. She walks even though she’s still unstable on her feet. She falls, smiles, gets up and tries again. While a single bruise was a huge deal with our little Peanut and required an hour of cuddling and lots of ice, Taylor has on average at least 2-3 bruises at all times. Some of these we don’t know the origins of.
Peanut was also incredibly dependent on us. She asked for help to get to anything high. She learned early to point and get our attention to get what she wanted. She walked behind her walker, stopping when it hit a dead end (approximately every 5 seconds since our house is tiny) and waited until we un-jammed her and then continued to walk. Taylor? Nothing stops Taylor. And I mean nothing. She spots her walked in the corner of the room, behind a number of toys. With ease she gets to it, scrambles to remove it from its place, turns it and begins to walk, laughing and waving. She hits a wall, pulls the walker with force, turning it a few degrees each time, and continues on her merry way when it’s free from obstacles. She walks into walls with it, turns and goes on. She pulls it backwards, loses balance, falls, stands up and keeps going. In fact, she uses just about every surface that isn’t nailed to the ground or wall as her personal walker. We’ve caught her using a box, basket, laundry basket (some times with clothes still in it), chairs, the dog, a potty, any number of bigger toys. If it slides or moves, she giggles and pushes it all around the house.
Falls scared our little Peanut. With time and readjustment on our part, she’s gotten pretty good at getting up and moving on (after a cuddle and some ice), but she still looks at us for reassurance any time she falls and sheds tears easily. Taylor? I’ve seen the kid “trust fall” herself backwards on hardwood floors, hitting the ground with force because her “trust fall” was unplanned and she did it while I was 10 feet away and didn’t get to her in time. Result? A giggle. She found herself hilarious. In fact, she “tests” me with these trust falls on a daily basis. It’s a like a game she plays, “can mommy catch me in time at the drop of a dime” (or more accurately a barbell). Most times I do. Sometimes I don’t. Regardless, she laughs her little tushy off.
There are probably a number of things that Taylor doesn’t get as a second kid, like our complete and undivided attention 24/7, overabundant amount of new toys, clothes that don’t have stains on them or shoes that still have the sticky part that actually sticks. But there are so many more things that she does get.
Complete attention of 3 people that adore her to pieces. Since she’s the “baby” of the household, Taylor is always doted on. Between her adoring parents and her proud big sister, Taylor is constantly being entertained, played with, or watched over. She’s rarely alone and loves being in the center of attention.
So. many. toys. Although as an obsessive de-clutterer who either stores or donates or gives away anything that we don’t use/won’t use/have more than we need of, there are still many more things in our home than I would like to have. As for Taylor? This is great since she has a “new to her” toy almost every week (helps that she can’t remember the ones we store away and pull out again after a month or two). They may not be brand new or even new at all, but at the ripe age of almost 11 months she has no idea. What she does know is that she has more toys than she knows what to do with. And every single one of them goes directly into her mouth.
A play mate at all times. I remember how much time we always spent on the floor, playing with Peanut. Now I find myself in a chair, watching as Peanut entertains her sister, showing her the ropes or sharing her toys. Taylor wants little to do with me (unless I am reading books) and watches her big sister closely. Anything that Peanut does, Taylor needs to do. So what if she doesn’t know how to use a crayon yet? Up she goes, standing side by side with her big sister, eating a crayon instead of coloring.
Her kangaroo mommy. That’s right. I said it. I baby that little nugget more than I ever thought I would or even could. While we were always out to make sure that Peanut was independent and played well and learned how to entertain herself, I spent the same amount of time with Taylor on my hip. I am pretty sure that my body has changed to make room for my little kangaroo joey because she’s always hanging on my hip. Don’t get me wrong. Taylor can play on her own for endless amount of time and does. But since we’re on the go a lot more (dance class for Peanut, play dates, chores), she’s used to being carried everywhere on my hip or in the carrier, within reach of about 5 million kisses that land on her at all times. And while I know that I should probably put her down more often and let her learn that I am not accessible 24/7….I don’t. And I don’t want to. She’s the last baby we’ll have and I’m soaking it all in.