August 18, 2008

Kids: It's The Little Differences

I was just saying to Andy, sometimes having another kid feels like Groundhog Day; it only dawns on you slowly that you're going through the exact same ordeals as you did before [e.g., kid fighting her naps like crazy; or waking herself up half a dozen times in the night when she rolls over onto her stomach. Seriously? I'd blogged and lived it, and I swear, we didn't have these kinds of problems with the first kid. But of course, we did.]

Then sometimes, with a little looking and a little context, it's obvious that K2 is different in significant ways from her older sister. Like in her temperament and how she reacts to the world around her. Since I'm about to quote some stuff from Dr. T. Berry Brazelton's book Touchpoints, I'll go out on a limb and say that in fact, every kid might be slightly different in her own way.

Brazelton refers to Stella Chess and Alexander Thomas's nine elements to observe when assessing a kid's temperament:

Chess and Thomas wrote a book in 1987 called Know Your Baby. I've never heard of it, but when we watched these various aspects of K2's behavior and temperament, it was easy to identify differences with the kid at the same 6-7 month timeframe [p. 102]:

1) Activity level
2) Distractibility
3) Persistence
4) Approach - Withdrawal - How does she handle new and stressful situations?
5) Intensity
6) Adaptability - How does she deal with transitions?
7) Regularity - How predictable is she in sleep, bowel habits, and rhythms during the day?
8) Sensory Threshold - Is she hyper- or hyposensitive to stimuli around her? Is she easily overstimulated?
9) Mood - Is she basically positive or negative in her reactions?
K2 turns out to be far mellower and happier generally; she'll cry or complain only when she really means it, or when she obviously needs something; the first kid had a phase where she just cried and cried.

Also, K2's more sensitive to sounds and changes in her environment than the kid was; she startles more easily and needs more coaxing and sheltering when she gets in new surroundings. [Example: she hadn't been to our regular sushi restaurant in a couple of months, and when we went back, it was like she was there for the first time, just totally distracted by everything--and then she was overwhelmed by the half dozen waitresses who accosted her, and then streamed by our table the whole meal to play. She totally freaked out, and for a while we worried that even 5:30 wasn't safe for dinner anymore.]

So anyway, someone else's kid's therapy, but the point is, once again, I'm finding a pattern:
1) kid freaks out
2) we get stressed
3) wife reads Brazelton, figures it out
4) wife tells me to read it
5) we talk about actually reading ahead for a change
6) wife probably does.


Heh. I know--now that we're expecting our second, when we see our friends' little ones, I'm like, crap, do I remember how to do this stuff? I mean, 3 years wasn't that long ago, but still. And then, of course, the parents of The Pumpkin's best friends who are, say, are or were a little more spirited than The Pumpkin, have publicly wished us to have a more challenging baby this time around. Heh.

From a single kid dad -- it's amazing how you block stuff out or forget about it 6 months down the road. Like, life is an eternal "now" -- it's hard to picture my son any age other than what he is right now. Trying to compare and contrast between kid one and a 2nd kid would just be mindboggling.

And on a sidenote, not sure if you'll ever see this...but it's good to see you're still around, Daddy In A Strange Land. I was just going through my blogroll last week and realized it'd been almost a year since you posted. Hope things are going well -- if you're posting elsewhere, drop me a line at the email in here to let me know where.

Sorry to bogart your blog, Greg, but I can't access Mark's email from his comment. So hey Mark, you only think I haven't posted in a year (not that I post much) thanks to Apple's "upgrades." When I upgraded to iLife 08 and its new version of iWeb last year, it not only republished the site with a slightly new URL and thus new RSS address (and thus you need to go to to find the rss link and get the new address), but since it was a new address it didn't take all the old comments with it to the new site, and of course, there was no way to publish to the old address to let people know about the change (because apparently they weren't quite sure why the old address and site survived the switchover at all, thanks Apple). I'm still at Rice Daddies as well. Thanks for asking! :) Okay Greg, back to your regularly scheduled programming.

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