As the Lion gets older and develops his own wonderful personality it becomes more and more obvious how different he is from his big sister, and if I’m honest it’s a fact that fascinates me completely.
My children, like my brother and I, and like so many others both before us and after us are so different, yet they are raised in the same way, with the same genetic make-up; they are just intrinsically them.
Where the Bear would happily have sat on my knee all day, singing songs and reading books. The Lion is an explorer, determined to find his own place in the world. If he can find it, he will – and yes, if he can destroy it he probably will too!
He is fearless, our little extrovert, diving in first and thinking later. The Bear meanwhile, even as a baby, preferred to contemplate the world and think of all eventualities, joining in with activities only after careful analysis.
She loved organised activities, and we were regular attenders at pretty much every baby music group we could find. She relished the familiar songs, the carefully structured movements and the known environment. The Lion on the other hand, has no interest in any organised activity. His mission during classes, is to escape, find plug sockets and discover any other contraband available in the room.
Is it because a the Bear is a girl, and the Lion is a boy? Is it because she was first and he was second? Is autism playing its role?
If I’m honest – I have no idea. And in many ways I’m not sure it’s important. But is has altered my opinion.
What it has shown me, is that there isn’t just one way to parent. I already find myself doing things differently than I did the first time, altering my parenting, my ideas about what the role involves, and what games I play.
I guess naively the second time around I thought I had the answers; a roadmap to follow. I thought I knew the kind of mum I would be. I thought I knew how to make a baby happy, what boundaries I would set and how we would spend our days.
I was wrong, but happily wrong. The Lion is his own person with his own personality, we will learn together – what it means to be a mummy and what it means to be a son. I will not give him less of myself than the Bear, they share my heart equally, but that does not mean I will treat them the same.
With each I will find the path that works, winging it and learning, one day at a time.
Slowly yet surely being a second time mum, learning as I go.