Nature and nurture with a small dose of guilt

When Arthur was born I asked the doctor if he didn’t have a different baby. I already had this one! Arthur looked identical to his brother. It was like I had given birth to the same person twice.

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But very soon he started to look like his own person, different from his brother, but obviously related. And personality-wise, they couldn’t be any more different. Julian was a huge baby and as laid back as can be. He was never super outgoing with strangers, and still to this day takes a while to warm up to people. He gets that from his Mama. He hit all his milestones right on time and took his first steps the day before his first birthday.

I had all day to dedicate to Julian. We would take extended naps on the couch, his little chubby baby body on mine, or go on walks or hang out with other mamas and their babies. Julian was literally my entire world, day in, day out.

Arthur started to army crawl at 4 1/2 months and took his first steps at 9 1/2 months. He is the most determined little boy. He wants to be a part of everything. Now at 12 months he can walk and crawl up steps, climb on tables and high chairs, run everywhere and chase after his brother. Or be chased, as he prefers. He is very independent and will play by himself forever. He never wants to sit on my lap, never sleeps on my chest, and has no patience to sit down to read a book. He is constantly on the move. He high-fives strangers, claps happily to himself and only recently has started to push his head against my chest and away from people when it gets too much for him. He is the epitome of a happy baby.

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I never had much time to just be with Arthur when he was a baby. I had a two year old to chase after. In the beginning, I was constantly plagued by guilt. I’m sure all mothers can relate. Guilt is second nature to us, always there, a reminder that we should be doing something different or better or not at all. It’s kind of like a parasite and will eat you up if you let it. Sometimes I let it.

So Arthur’s independence is probably partly due to the fact that he is the second kid. And part of it is him, the person he was born as.

Both Julian and Arthur are affectionate kids. Julian needs lots of hugs and kisses and loves to cuddle. I had to find different ways to make that happen for Arthur. He loves to be worn in a wrap or Ergo, so we do that a lot. He loves to dance with me. We have a setlist that we dance to as often as we can, and as soon as the music comes on, he rests his head against my shoulder and lets me sway with him. It is one of my favorite moments of the day. And he loves to jump in my lap and rest his head there, if only for a moment, beaming the entire time.

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So nature or nurture, who the hell cares? I have no idea what I did or didn’t do to make my kids the way they are. I’m sure I make plenty of mistakes and do plenty of things right, so hopefully in the end it evens out. My mantra is: “I am doing my best.” I say it all the time. When I become stressed, Julian will often ask, “Mama, are you doing your best?” And yes, most days I am.

And that’s gotta be good for something.

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