I was looking at my adorable little lump of baby flesh the other day, wondering when he will start being a little more person-like. My mom laughs at me for this. I love babies, but if I’m totally honest, I think they’re a little boring. Of course it’s not my baby’s job to entertain me, but I just love watching their personalities develop and I’m obsessed about milestones – I look forward to each new milestone like it’s Christmas. I try to enjoy these fleeting baby moments that disappear faster than you can imagine, but I can’t get rid of the “I can’t wait! I can’t wait!” feeling bubbling around inside me.
There’s nothing better than the moment your child really starts talking: being surprised at the words they copy in their babyish tongue and later the actual, independent thoughts that come out of their little mouths (!), listening to them chatter to themselves while playing, and the silly things that make them collapse in giggles (my preschooler still thinks that covering my face with my hair and watching me pffft it away from my face is about the funniest thing on the planet). Almost every day I write down something new or funny my daughter has said.
In second place for the best baby moments of all time, I’ll put the moment they start being mobile. A lot of parents shared sympathetic looks with me when they saw O starting to pulling herself up on chairs and said, “Oh, here comes the hard part – when they start moving around on their own!” Usually I murmur something agreeably, but in my head I’m shouting, “Are you kidding me?! I am SO excited! This is the part I’ve been waiting for!”
I get the sympathetic looks even earlier now. When we’re out and my preschooler is walking next to the stroller, it’s like everyone feels they must warn me of the hell that is assuredly coming now that I have 2 children. If I tried to explain how I really felt, I’d probably come off like an evil scientist rubbing her hands together with a manic smile – “It’s going to be amazing!” Of course there are also times when I want to rip out my hair in frustration (the tantrums, oh god the tantrums). But they don’t last long, I forget about them just as quickly as my daughter does (squirrel? squirrel? sorry, Pixar joke) and even the worst episodes I’ll look back on one day with a sigh about the “good times.”
So, anyway, I was looking around for information personalities characteristics manifesting in babies. I remember O was just always such a happy baby – she honestly didn’t cry unless she was hungry or tired (even being wet didn’t really bother her, something that has actually backfired now that we’re at potty training time…) – she took a regular 1-2 hour nap twice a day would entertain herself happily for blissful amounts of time. I guess because it was always just so easy to say she was a happy baby, it was easier to feel like I knew her. Now that I don’t have a simple, one word explanation for my second baby’s personality, I’ve been asking myself what Number 2 is really like? Do I know him? What kind of preschooler will he be? The quiet, shy child who hides behind my legs? The kid that runs circles around his parents and never seems to stop moving? Is it too early to know this stuff?
Parenting.com had this article about the 9 traits researchers believe babies inherit and which reveal themselves from birth and over their first few months of life. But no mater what type of personality your child has, the article states, knowing this “you can help him realize his full potential by providing him with the opportunity to experience and discover what best suits him.” The traits are:
- Activity level
Going through these with Number 2:
- high activity level definitely – he’s bouncing at every available moment and wants to be entertained 24/7. We’re lucky to get 5 minutes of self entertaining
- pretty regular in his eating and sleeping habits
- he’s not around a lot of other people since we’ve been winter shut-ins but he definitely has moments when he wants his mommy and no one else (like the minute I take him from Daddy or Mimi, he stops crying)
- he seems to tolerate changes pretty well: falling asleep in places other than his crib, accepting new foods, etc
- very intense. He goes from laughing to omg-I’m-going-to-die-of-hunger screaming in 1 second flat
- it’s fairly easy to get him to smile but he also seems to be an observer. Especially if his sister is in eyesight, he’s always watching her and mirroring her emotions.
- I would have said very distractible earlier, but lately he’s been having clear favorites/interests and voicing his displeasure when things are taken from him.
- I’d say not very persistent. He seems to get easily frustrated when he can’t reach a toy but this might change once he can move around better.
- He is fussy but I’m not sure whether it’s because he’s sensitive to his environment
I’m still not sure how to collect all that information into a single word or even a basic idea about what it means for Number 2’s personality, but it did give me lots to think about. The article on Parenting.com concludes, “In the end, it’s your perceptions and reactions to his traits and behavior that will go a long way toward shaping your baby into a happy, well-adjusted child…” Absolutely.