My three year old just ran into my office naked and sporting a pair of fireman boots. Great. I have a future stripper in my future and I was hoping to have a Mets reliever. Of course, the older one – not to be trumped – promptly removed his clothes and broke into a song:
“Oh, we are the naked brothers and we hate clothes!” The little one joined in the chant, marching in his boots as they made their way around the room.
Look out Jonas Brothers. Here come the Naked Brothers.
I watched them crack themselves up and wondered how they could be so alike yet so different. Sometimes my younger one gets pushed to the side a bit because he is an easier personality than my oldest. In fact, I term one an old soul and one a new soul. I could tell when Jake was born and our eyes met, that he had inherited part of me. I have always known I am an old soul, have been here before many times, and like Eeyore, I trudge ahead going “Maybe this time I will finally get it right.” But I am a perfectionist so I keep coming back to do better. Joshua is brand new. He slid in with a roar, got grabbed from me right away into the NIC unit for the next few days so we missed our bonding. When I went to finally take him home, the nurse called him a “meanie.” His face puckered and he looked mad and pissed off at the world. I was afraid he would be a cranky kid but he turned all sunlight and sweetness, from his streaky blonde hair and boundless energy. He takes things more in stride and looks at the world like, “Cool. I’m finally here.” Jake just looks puzzled he got sent back. Again.
Anyway, I was struck by the unique differences between my children, as every parent is. Same mix of genes but boom: different souls. I also knew the differences would grow in leaps and bounds as they grow older. This was pretty evident with one scenario that gave me a flash forward to my future.
My niece received a Barbie four wheeler for her birthday and all the kids got together at my mom’s house for the party. She took the jeep out into the street, and with her blonde hair flowing, one hand on the wheel, she sped up and down the road with ease. ( My poor brother – three beautiful girls, ouch). Anyway, Jake wanted a ride and got in next to her and she flew up the road at top speed. He immediately looked nervous, hung on to the dashboard and began to tell her to slow down. He was so stressed out from his fun ride he decided to go inside to rest. Now, my younger one wanted a turn so I plopped him in the passenger seat and they took off.
Joshie leaned back, at ease with the speed, one hand resting along the top of his seat as if she was his girlfriend. Lazily, he let her swing into sharp turns and speed down the road, looking relaxed and happy.
I am in SO much trouble with him.
This is a good thing for a mom to keep in mind as they grow. I keep reminding myself that they may have the same rules, but I need different techniques for each child. I want to honor each of them as they grow into who they need to be and hope to smooth the path before them. Almost like my characters. Sometimes I will start a book with a genuine idea of who my hero and heroine are, and they grow ahead of me before I know it.
With The Marriage Bargain, my secondary character kept infiltrating herself into every scene until I didn’t know what to do with her. I was afraid she began overshadowing my heroine. I ended up giving her a full backstory and she wasn’t even the main character! So, I got cruel and cut her out with the promise to write her own book…She is still nagging me to do her justice, but I wanted to sell the book in a series and if no one buys the first, why is an editor going to buy the second one? Not sure what to do. I wish she would leave me alone. I don’t even have the full plot…
Anyway, I follow my gut and write from the seat of my pants a lot – just letting characters tell me what they want to do. Not the most organized, logical way to write, but then I noticed that is the way I parent. Sort of like a hippie mom, which may not be the best way to be a mother but I am who I am as Popeye said and I am sticking to it.