My Daughter is Different

The other night, as I was trying to get back to sleep at around 2 a.m., I couldn’t stop thinking about how different my daughter is from my sons.  The thought kept me awake, because it’s only recently that I’ve noticed any real differences between raising boys and girls.  In fact, had you asked me a few months ago, and believe me, there are many well-meaning (at least I think) women who always like to comment on how different girls are (and I don’t think they mean it in a particularly flattering way to boys), I would have said not really.  And frankly, as the mother of two wild boys, the comparison annoys me just as much as the oft repeated comment ,“at least you got your girl.” As if, if I had had another boy, I wouldn’t love him as much, or worse, that second son didn’t count.

But truth be told, I guess I do get it.  And, well, I am glad that I did have a girl and my husband is too, even though if we’re being honest, I can tell you the day we found out he was less than thrilled.  I think the comment went something like, “Great, now we have to go buy all new stuff!”  Not to worry, though, she’s growing on him (read total Daddy’s girl).  How could he have known?But back to my point, so, at 2 a.m. the other night I heard my daughter crying, which is unusual, so I went in to check on her.  I reached my hand through the side of her crib, rubbed her hand and simply said, “It’s ok, sweetie, go back to sleep. You’re ok.” She looked up at me and said, “Ok, mommy,” in her sweet little munchkin like voice, and I walked out of the room. End of story.  Except, it’s not the end of the story, because I had to go back to my own bed, which meant battling back my space from second son, who is a whole three years older than his toddling sister. And not only did I have to battle it back, but I had to do it quietly, or else he go in search of my husband, who tries to avoid the bed as much as possible, when second son comes in to invade. And yes, it is an invasion in every sense of the word. (Did you see that episode of “The Middle”?) Because if second son gets woken and has decided he has had enough sleep, he will spend the next two hours torturing us with pleas to go downstairs, until he finally falls asleep somewhere around four a.m., only to get woken up when first son (who has seven years of bad sleeping under his belt) comes in at 5:20, ready for his morning snack and orange juice, or as we like to call it, breakfast number one. Oh, the many joys of parenting!

See, my sons would never just take a little hand rub and fall back to sleep. They refuse to go back to sleep. They refuse to go back to their rooms. They simply refuse to be ignored! Now, I know super nanny would be shaking her finger at me right now posing the annoying question of “Who’s the parent?” But really, who wants to battle it out at 4:30 in the morning? Our goal has only been as lofty as to isolate the early riser as much as possible, so as not wake the others, in the hopes that we can still preserve some of our much needed rest.  And if you’re a mother of two boys, and one spirited girl, than you know you need a lot of rest!  Lazy parenting (as my sister and I like to call it) yea, probably, but don’t judge me until you’ve spent a few nights with my brood.But back to my good sleeper, my little lady, who sleeps until seven, who goes to sleep in a dark room with the door shut, all by herself. My sons don’t do that.  They don’t do a lot of things that she does. Like want to help me, talk to each other, put their shoes on. Heck, we’re not even sure if our oldest even knows he has a sister. My little verbal girlie can talk it up with the best of them, yet king talker, oldest son, doesn’t even seem to hear her when she’s sitting next to him two inches from his face. She’s more sensitive, too, and not just to her own needs. The boys yell at her and she’s insulted, brought to tears, where as boy one and boy two follow a distinct pattern all day- play, play, play, fight, fight, fight, wrestle, wrestle, wrestle, time-out, time-out, time-out, ten minutes pass, “Hey, what do you want to play?” No harm, no foul. Which don’t get me wrong, it has it’s merits, but don’t let this fool you into believing that they’re just boys and tougher, and they let everything roll off their shoulders, because they’re not and they don’t. She’s tougher and she forgives them just as quickly. But don’t tell them I said that, because then they would beat the crap out of her just to prove me wrong. Oh, my wonderful boys! I love them, warts and all, just as they love me. In many ways all my children are the same. On an hourly basis, they take turns riling me up, pushing my buttons, making a mess, and of course making me proud. But when that little girl sees me emptying the dishwasher and says in her little angel voice, “I’ll help you, mommy.” I think boy, is she different.

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