Type A


So last week in my typical Type A personality, I was perseverating on what Bean’s personality is like. I once had a supervisor use that word with me in a performance review. He said I had a tendency to perseverate on things when it wasn’t necessary and that I needed to learn to move on. Basically, he was telling me in a really nice, fancy-word way that there were things that I could not control, I was not always going to get my way, and that I needed to stop being so godd@amned stubborn.

I probably was trying to convince him of something. My cousin once told me that I could convince her to do anything. That I could convince her to eat dirt. This was after I convinced her to try this breath mint after she kept telling me how much she hates breath mints. Like, really hates them. I swore it was “different,” and listed off a million reasons why. It wasn’t. At least not to her. In my defense, I really thought she would like it. I don’t know if I’m really that good of “convincing” people to do things as I am at being persistent (you may remember the ham sandwich incident when I was a kid). Or, persistently annoying maybe? I also had a co-worker tell me that I missed my calling and should have been a lawyer. Hmm. I think public relations suits me well. I have a heart. A big one. And lawyering is too cutthroat for me.

On a related note, I was over at my parents’ house several months ago and came across an old sixth grade report card. In the notes section, my teacher had commented something along the lines of “has tendency to argue and exhibit stubborn behavior.” In sixth grade. Who knew? The die was cast. Obviously, both my sixth grade teacher and my co-worker were right about me. I just think it’s ironic that the same themes have been coming up in my performance reviews since I was a kid.

Which brings me back to my original point — figuring out what kind of kid Bean is! I know, you probably think I’m ridiculous, or that I am spending way too much time analyzing this. And while I was half-joking that I wanted to know so that I could just KNOW, and be more “in control,” I also really meant it when I said that I felt like I could better attend to her needs if I better understood where she was coming from. In work, I’ve always said that I can deal with almost any personality type. If I can figure you out, I can work with you. It’s the ambiguous people that I have a hard time with. When I don’t know what’s going on in someone’s head, that’s when I struggle.

With Monkey, it’s kind of easy to know the best approach to take because she’s so much like me. I just think about what I would want. But Bean is different and I’m trying to figure her out!

I came across this Parenting.com article about the nine distinct traits that make up a baby’s nature. At the end of the article it said:

“Almost all temperamental traits can be positives when you learn to work with your child’s particular constellation. That’s what’s known as goodness of fit: the ability to accept your child and help him adapt. In the end, it’s your perceptions and reactions to his traits and behavior that will go a long way toward shaping your baby into a happy, well-adjusted child — which in turn will bring you more satisfaction.

Exactly! The reason I’m feeling a need to know is so that I can achieve my goodness of fit and learn the best ways to work with my baby.


Or maybe you all thought it was normal that I was wondering this and not crazy at all, and now it seems a little weird that I’m trying to convince you that I’m not crazy and you’re starting to think I am crazy.


In my Googling frenzy I found some online baby personality quizzes that I thought I’d pass along in case any of you are also not crazy like me, and simply just wondering, for the sake of better attending to your baby’s needs, what their personality is like. Or maybe you already know what your baby’s personality is like and want to confirm what a genius, well-attuned mother you are. Either one.

I’ll warn you — these quizzes are obviously highly subjective. I mean, how on earth can you answer this for a nine-month-old:

“When your baby is going to play with a sibling or a friend:”

  1. He’ll only play with what he wants to play
  2. He’s willing to compromise

Huh? She’s a BABY. Yes, I definitely would interpret that series of  grunts and mouth-clicking noises as her willingness to compromise.

Also, sometimes none of the multiple choice answers were accurately describing Bean, so I had to just pick the closest one.

But, I did find some interesting results.

In the Babyzone.com survey, Bean was characterized as an “Active Adventurer: active, curious and into everything, this baby is a force to be reckoned with.” Yep. ‘Bout sums it up.

The Parents.com quiz said that I have a “Type A” baby. Seriously, what are the other personality types?? (Okay, I guess it’s just called Type B. How lame and obvious. This Wikipedia entry doesn’t paint a very flattering picture of a “Type A.”)

I’m a Type A and so is Monkey, so I guess it’s no surprise that Bean is too. This category is described as “intense, persistent, stubborn and competitive.” I would say that she’s persistent and stubborn. Competitive? I don’t know, she doesn’t like to give up her toys, but how can you really identify competitiveness at this age?

The Yourbabytoday.com quiz said that Bean is “expressive and energetic without being intense.” I would agree with that. She “is happiest with a predictable routine.” Yes, definitely. And “Enjoys physical activity, but also quieter moments.” Her initial response is “slow to accept new situations and tends to avoid the unfamiliar,” but she is “fairly adaptable to new situations in the long-term.” I would definitely agree to that. While Monkey tends to be a social butterfly, Bean will hang close and then eventually warm up.

And again, I thought the Parenting.com article had some really interesting insights without being a quiz. The nine distinct personality traits that make up a baby’s nature are:

  • Activity level
  • Regularity
  • Sociability
  • Adaptability
  • Intensity
  • Disposition
  • Distractibility
  • Persistence
  • Sensitivity

Obviously her activity level is off the charts and she thrives on having a routine. She’s pretty serious and shy in new social situations and takes awhile to warm up to new people and places. She’s more adaptable over the long term and she can be intense at times. One thing that struck me about intensity: “Life may seem easier with a less intense baby, but you have to work harder to understand what she’s thinking.” Um, yeah! With Monkey I never had to guess. When she was happy, she was HAPPY. When she was mad, she was MAD! With Bean, it’s not always as obvious.

I also loved this about the “distractibility” trait — “It’s a cinch to keep an easily distracted baby out of trouble or avert temper tantrums. Simply steer her away from the light socket and she’ll forget about it. But keep in mind that things may distract her in a negative way ­— a noisy room may disrupt her feedings. If she’s more focused, she may not notice, for example, a lawn mower when she’s settling down for a nap.”

Yes, again! This totally describes the difference between Monkey and Bean. Monkey is MUCH more easily “distracted” which has always worked to my advantage with her intense personality. I can easily move her on to the next activity to avoid temper tantrums. Whereas Bean is more focused. Which may explain why she is so “focused” on climbing up my leg! She knows what she wants and she is so persistent! I think Monkey is fairly persistent, but now that she’s older she’s more likely to huff and shriek when she can’t accomplish something, whereas Bean will just keep doggedly trying.

So what’s the bottom line? I think she’s somewhere in the middle of “spirited” and “laid back.” She’s not as intense as her sister, but she’s no shrinking violet either. And her most obvious characteristic is how physical she is. Is she really a “Type A?” Meh. There are degrees of Type A. I’m not really sure yet. But I do know it will interesting to watch it all unfold.

I’m curious to know if you took any of these quizzes for your kids and whether you think the results are accurate.


One response »

  1. Pingback: A Baby Story « On the Night You Were Born

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