Parenting – One Size Does Not Fit All

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I have two daughters.  And while I try not to compare them, I find myself remembering the milestones of my first born while watching the milestones of my second.  

And it’s so true what they say, parenting is definitely not one size fits all.

My younger daughter took her first steps this week, just a few days after she turned 11 months.  It occurred to me that both of my daughters have taken some of their first steps at the same therapy unit.

My older daughter with her physical therapist at almost 16 months old and now my younger daughter at 11 months.

How ironic.

My older daughter was delayed with her milestones and yet my younger daughter has been right on track. She does everything in the typical average time frame, just like the baby books and emails say it should go.

I am learning that parenting them is completely different.

The other day my mom asked me how my older daughter did with the Christmas tree when she was younger. Did she pull on the ornaments? I couldn’t remember.  I can’t remember if she was able to pull herself to standing yet. I don’t think the Christmas tree was an issue.

Yet, for my younger daughter, who is not yet even 12 months, it is going to be an issue. We will have to put the ornaments up high and we will have to be careful and keep an eye on her. I have a feeling she will be pulling ornaments off every chance she gets.

With my older daughter I never baby proofed the house because there was no need. And yet my younger one, I have to watch her like a hawk.

She tries to climb into the fireplace and off the couch. She pulls on things. Gets into the toilet paper, the trash, the cupboards. She is so busy, all the time. Crawling, standing, climbing.

While observing the physical differences between my girls, I realize that my parenting goals have to be different for each one. In addition to the obvious differences in their physical capabilities, my girls seem to have very different personalities.

Of course, I wonder if this has to do with my older daughter’s disability, or is it because my younger one is the second child and I’m much more laid back?

With my older daughter, I believe my parenting goal, at least for now, is to encourage her independence. I want to push her to take care of herself and be able to do things on her own. She is timid and shy and hesitant to try new things without some sort of encouragement. With Audrey, I’m not concerned about her independence. I think my goal for her, at least now, is to foster and encourage her curiosity. I love how she is so interested in people,

With my younger daughter, I’m not concerned about her independence. I think my goal for her, at least now, is to foster and encourage her curiosity. I love how she is so interested in people, places, and things.

I don’t want my fears about my older daughter’s disability to hinder my younger one. I want her to be free to roam and to climb and I don’t want to hover over her.

I wonder how their personalities will continue to evolve as they grow older and I look forward to modifying my parenting styles to meet their specific needs.

One thing is certain – being a mom keeps me constantly on my toes and challenges me daily. Just when I think I have it all figured out, something changes!

 

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Kathy was born and raised in Big Bear, CA. She left the mountains for the beach and attended college at UC Santa Barbara. After graduating Kathy spent about a decade exploring different cities and lived and worked in San Francisco, Boston and St. Louis. She settled down in Fullerton, CA in January 2013 and is ecstatic to be back in Southern California living near family. Kathy is a licensed clinical social worker who works part-time doing medical and psychiatric social work. She is married to Erik and is mommy to two girls, Elizabeth and Audrey. She is a former long-distance runner who once ran a marathon. Current passions include coffee, working out with mom friends, beer, and wine tasting, exploring all the kid friendly outings in Orange County and renovating her mid-century modern home and yard.