When Hannah was born, I was amazed that she fit my initial pie in the sky idea that babies are supposed to be pink and wrinkled and quiet and angelic. This because, my idyllic ideas were shattered when Liam was born; he was everything a baby was NOT supposed to be. He was born awake, and he stayed awake A LOT. As a newborn, if he napped for 40 minutes at a time, it was cause for celebration. Night times were worse, we couldn’t make an hour without him stirring and yelling for something to eat. He was a boob baby, and a formula supplemented baby, and he ate porridge at 3 months, all in an effort to make him SLEEEP. How he remained a cute, happy little boy on such sleep deprivation is beyond me. We soon realised that Liam was born ready – for EVERYTHING. He started teething at 3 months, walked at 11 months, started baby talking at about 4 months and real talking at about a year and oh my giggling granny, hasn’t stopped since. He is a real rough and tumble boy’s boy, does everything with gusto and dramatics, he is a ball of energy and I think he is destined to be a leader and not a follower. So when Hannah was born, all prim and proper, quiet as a mouse, a four to five hour schedule baby, and slept a full eight hours from about 3 months, we were a bit taken aback. She was a very calm baby, happy to just sit in her pram and watch the world pass her by. She hardly cried, she didn’t require much attention, other than watering and feeding here and there, and she was a total breeze to deal with. I used to say that Liam was blessed enough to get my antsy pantsy genes and Hannah got her Dad’s more laid back kinda genes.
Boy, was that short lived.
I read an interesting blog post, which supports my theory on the Power of Association. “The power of association and surrounding yourself with other successful people is a sure fire way to reach your goals and dreams much faster. The plain and simple truth is that if you are not spending time with other action takers on the same path to bigger things in life, then you hinder your own success.” It goes on to say: “…the outcome of who you are, the goals you achieve, the dreams you accomplish, the destiny you fulfill, all has its roots either as a result of associations you keep or maybe you personally. Let’s look for a good association, because it will determine your accomplishments.”
So now my theory.. since Hannah has been hanging around with her big brother, she has evolved into a little tigress. If I can use a simple example.. she evolved from one of those cute cuddly things in Waybaloo into that pirate chick in Jake and the Neverland Pirates, almost overnight (still cute and cuddly though). It seems even her physical milestones are being reached quicker, as a result of being around Liam. She only cut her first tooth at 10 months, but everything else has come at whirlwind speed.. she walked before her first birthday, she went from a quiet, introverted toddler who really only spoke when she was spoken to, into a word-a-second finger wagging, rule breaking toddler. I stand back and watch how she admires Liam, how she tries to imitate everything he does, how she tries to pronounce words like he does, how she tries these Evil Knievel tricks that get my heart racing. While potty training Liam, we used to let him wee in the garden – something that he hasn’t quite gotten over, even though he is fully potty trained. The other day I found Miss Hannah trying to wee in the garden with her brother, except she couldn’t get out of her press-studded vest so she was kinda leaning hip forward, legs apart, mimicking her brother who was creating a yellow stream across the yard. WHERE was my camera. She wants to be just like him, she wants to eat the same food as he does, and even though I know she doesn’t have an affinity for mushy foods – she won’t even eat mushy breakfast cereal or mashed butternut – if Liam is eating it, she will force herself to swallow it down with a sick look on her face.
I think it’s great that she has a mentor of sorts, that she endeavours to be just like her smart big brother, and I have no doubt that she will learn faster; that her mental and physical capabilities will develop quicker because she spends every waking moment with her mentor. But my concern is that she is also picking up on the not-so-admirable qualities of a strong willed two year old boy.. like the tantrums, the crying just because I feel like it, the naughtiness (and no, I don’t believe that children can’t be naughty). I know this phase will come regardless of who your child is, or who they spend time with, that’s just raising babies for you… but Hannah, at the tender age of 17 months, wags her finger in my face and says no no no no no, when I raise my voice and make big eyes at her to show my disapproval at something she’s done. She looks at me with that just-you-dare-try-it look when I reprimand her for touching something she knows is off limits, and runs away in a fit of giggles when I make as if I am coming to catch her to discipline her. She isn’t afraid of a smack on the fingers because she knows that Liam gets lots of those and he seems fine – she finds it all quite amusing actually. She looks to Liam when Dad raises his voice, to gauge how he reacts, so that she can do the same, because you don’t mess with Dad when he raises his voice, you see. She is a two and a half year old Liam in a 17 month old body – except her English is still pretty sucky.
My idea is to train Liam to be the perfect little well behaved, well mannered boy, so that she will pick up these great qualities from her brother.. but training Liam is like training a yappy little puppy who is just too excitable to listen or learn and just wees his pants when you shout and goes back to chew on that same piece of furniture no matter how many times you tell him not to.. its HARD!
So now that my hopes for a little princess in a pink organza tutu have been dashed, I’ve reconciled myself to the fact that Hannah will most likely be a tom boy, who only wants to wear camouflage and dig in the sand (boy, she loves digging in the sand!). And I’m cool with that, I just hope that Liam will grow out of his Terrible Twos phase quickly so that Hannah at least learns how to be a well behaved little tom boy.
No matter what, my kids are living proof that the Power of Association is real. Who are you associating with, and what does it say about you?
Also from the blog post I mentioned above, a thought provoking article by Gen. Colin Powell, which stirred my heart..
- Don’t follow anyone who’s not going anywhere, with some people you spend an evening: with others you invest it
- Be careful where you stop to inquire for directions along the road of life
- Wise is the person who fortifies his life with the right friendships
- If you run with wolves, you will learn how to howl but, if you associate with eagles, you will learn how to soar to great heights
- The less you associate with some people, the more your life will improve
- Any time you tolerate mediocrity in others, it increases your mediocrity
- An important attribute in successful people is their impatience with negative thinking and negative acting people
- As you grow, your associates will change. Some of your friends will not want you to go on; they will want you to stay where they are. Friends that don’t help you climb will want you to crawl
- Your friends will stretch your vision or choke your dream. Those that don’t increase you will eventually decrease you