I don’t really know what to make of it. At nearly nine months old, I still can’t quite figure Bean out — her personality that is. I just don’t know what to make of her. For the first three months of her life I labeled her as easy going, laid back, and chill. She could fall asleep anywhere, anytime. She would fall asleep at night VERY quickly and easily, after being laid down fully awake but sleepy (AT TWO MONTHS OLD!). She would fall asleep in her little rocker, without anyone rocking her to sleep. She would fall asleep in the car. And she would sleep for a loooong time. For naps she would sleep at least two hours, three times a day.
And she rarely fussed. She did not have an insatiable need to be held. In fact, I spent a lot of her early months feeling guilty for not holding her MORE, because she was always sleeping, and when she was awake, I was holding her some, but she also was being laid down a fair amount so I could attend to her older sister.
And all of this sleeping was oh so contrary to all of my experiences with Monkey at this early age, where sleep was a daily struggle. And, Monkey always wanted to be held. From the moment she was born she wanted to be UP. She wanted to be AWAKE. She wanted to be ENGAGED. She wanted to SEE. Monkey’s personality was so evident from so early on. She was a handful. She was busy. She never stopped moving. She was opinionated.
At four months, something with Bean changed. It was as if she hit four months old and suddenly became fully enthralled with this big world. And she developed this personality. I’m not kidding you — it was sudden and dramatic. It was night and day. Like someone flipped a switch. She had been, “sleep, sleep, sleep, eat, sleep, sleep sleep, what? we have another kid in the house?” To “I’M HERE. LOOK AT ME. HOLD ME. I WANT TO SEE. I WANT TO EXPERIENCE. HOLD ME, HOLD ME, HOLD ME, HOLD ME, HOLD ME.”
And while we have gone through our share of sleep fluctuations with Bean, the fact remains that she still loves to sleep. It’s very normal for her to take two 2-hour naps. In fact, last week she slept for over 2.5 hours, woke up close to 4:30 p.m. and then was yawning, cranky and irritable for the rest of the night because she apparently was still tired. Ca-ra-zy.
(I do have to point out though, that these naps only take place at her Nana’s house; when she’s home with us on weekends or on my days off, she naps like crap. This is the same thing Monkey would do, and at the time the girls’ doctor assured me it was only because she wanted to spend more time with exciting mom and dad. I still think it sucks.)
And I wonder, was I mistaking her desire to sleep as having a laid back personality? Because the more and more time goes on, the less and less I think she is “laid back.”
Now, Bean never stops moving. She’s SO physical! And I thought Monkey was physical, but Bean has outpaced her!
She is vocal — we’ve probably had more crying and fussing in the last two months than we did in her first six months combined! And the crying and fussing reach extreme levels when she’s tired, which she seems to be a lot; because as I’ve already covered, she really loves to sleep.
She is a handful. She is opinionated. Especially when it comes to eating in her high chair, which she doesn’t favor. She is persistent — whether it’s objects she’s trying to grasp, or my leg that she’s trying to crawl up. And she’s always trying to crawl up on me. Like she needs to be ON me at all times.
Which brings me to, “why does she need to be ON me at all times?” I know, this is the age for separation anxiety. Plus, I think she’s teething. But it is all. the. time. And hell hath no fury like a separation anxiety-riddled baby who has been set down. Talk about fussing and crying!
Am I not remembering the crying and the furious crawling after? Perhaps partial amnesia is to blame. I also know that while Monkey experienced separation anxiety, I do not think it was to this degree. Is Bean going through this because I didn’t hold her enough as a tiny infant?
I wonder, if because I pre-labeled Bean as “easy going,” do I give her less slack than I did her sister, who I labeled “spirited.” I wonder if I’m more easily frustrated by certain things she does because I’m expecting her to go with my flow, instead of expecting her to hold, and vociferously express, her opinion the way Monkey did from day one.
Am I mistaking her naturally growing and expanding brain and curiosity about the world as being “spirited?” I mean, maybe this is just the natural progression of things. Even laid back people have opinions.
Does she push the limits like Monkey did? I don’t know yet. I don’t even think Monkey really “pushed the limits” until she was over a year. Am I just not remembering what it was like at nine months?
Is she somewhere in the middle?
I don’t know exactly why I am so obsessed with figuring this out. Maybe it’s because Monkey’s personality was so evident from such an early age, and I’ve never experienced this type of evolution. Why am I in such a hurry to label my youngest daughter? My student council days taught me to “label jars, not people,” yet here I am. Trying to label!!
I think it’s because I just want her to be happy and to attend to her needs. And I feel like if I can figure her out, then I can better attend to her needs?
Or maybe it’s because I’m flummoxed by all the changes Bean is going through. And I hate being flummoxed. I’m reminded that the only constant in a baby’s life (or anyone’s) is change. And babies change so, so rapidly, which is very contrary to my way of life, which I prefer to be run clearly, precisely, and orderly. I also have an oppressing need to KNOW things, everything. Because, you know, when you KNOW things, you can control them, and let’s be honest. Ultimately I just want to control things. Gee, I think I just saved myself a bundle on therapy.
But I still don’t know the answer to the question of her personality!
Do you think your baby was “laid back?” What characteristics did they display that made you think that? Are they still like that now that they’re older? And what made you think your baby was “spirited?” Is your child still spirited? Did your baby’s personality evolve over time, or was it evident from the very beginning?
Save me from myself! 😉