Children all reach milestones at their own rates, they all achieve things in their own time, and they all adjust to changes in their own way. Some are slow learners, others are late to walk, whilst others do everything fast and early.
Both bring about advantages and disadvantages, and in our house we manage to have extremes of both examples in both of the bigger children. Miss Rose takes time, slowly transitioning between one state to the next. Never can this be seen more clearly than in comparison to her step brother who adapts to things at lightning speed. With only five months between them in some ways it’s like having strikingly different twins.
When we toilet trained Rose we started in the spring. She saw her big cousin Jay using the toilet and wanted to copy. She started asking to sit on the toilet, usually after a wee but still. We put her in pull ups. Gradually she became more reliable, would use the potty slowly more and more, sometimes not for days at a time but then other times a couple of times a day. We then moved her into knickers. She had days of constant wetting herself. Then weeks of occasionally wetting herself. Then months of rarely wetting herself. It took about a year in total from starting to show interest to being reliably dry. And she’s still in pull ups over night.
When we toilet trained Z he wore pull ups for a few days. Then we put him in pants. He was resistant but accepted that it was time. For one day he wet himself a few times. And then he was dry. Day and night.
Going further back in their lives, their adaptation to change can be seen clearly in how they handled the breakdown of their parent’s marriages.
Rose’s father left and she fell apart. She had panic attacks in the night, and had tantrums in the day. After his visits she would break down and lash out, hysterical. It took months before she adjusted, and still it impacts her now. She has daddy issues, fear of abandonment and insecurities. She’s never fully recovered.
When Jon and his wife broke up, Z noticed. He saw his daddy somewhere else rather than at home, but he was fine. He adjusted to the new situation by just accepting the change and carrying on with life.
Even in their day to day lives the difference is apparent.
When Rose wakes up in the morning she shifts about a bit, has a mumble and a groan, snuggles her face into the pillow and turns over a few times before eventually announcing she’s hungry. Then she rolls slowly out of bed and stretches.
When Z wakes up the morning he goes from snoring to sitting bolt up right and announcing in an perky and loud voice that it is morning!
When Rose goes to bed at night she needs wind down time. We go upstairs and look at books together on her bed, then we get her into her pyjamas and brush her teeth, then she lies down in the dark whilst I sing to her or read her stories whilst she snuggles up. She chatters and needs reminding to close her eyes and listen quietly. Eventually, after a bit of patience, she falls asleep.
When Z goes to bed at night he needs no wind down. He charges around singing songs and watching TV until the last minute. He goes up stairs, gets into his pyjamas and brushes his teeth, excitedly chatters away and leaps around for a bit, then lies down in bed, closes his eyes, and starts to snore. In approximately seven seconds flat.
They handle transitions completely differently. Rose is by no means stupid but she needs time to adjust. Z simply adjusts.
The only time they’re in reverse is eating. Rose scoffs a huge plate of dinner then asks for more. Z takes two hours to eat two nuggets.
What does it mean for their development? I don’t know. I know both children are very smart and in many ways very advanced for their ages. Rose adapts to change slowly but has a fast brain, so will she speed up in her transitioning or always need time to adjust to things?
Having two children so extremely different is fascinating. We get to watch their development, the similarities and striking differences, and see where they end up.
What is your experience with adjusting? Has speed either way been a help or a hindrance?
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Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!