You Never Know What You’ll Get
Posted February 10, 2014 by Prairie Wife - 1 comment
One of the joys of having a whole herd of children is seeing who each child resembles in personality and looks. Our first child, Cowboy J looks almost exactly like The Cowboy, we even had an Asian man come up to us at the airport and say “He is your photo copy!” while pointing at Cowboy J. He is a scarily intelligent and insightful little boy who is more worried about right and wrong than anyone I have ever met. Let’s just say it was really no surprise, when our doctor explained that while the warts that had suddenly spread across his stomach were caused by a virus, they were usually seen as a reaction to stress. Because Kindergarten is really stressful… Even as a baby Cowboy was anxious, nursing anytime we went anywhere new, and crying when anyone unknown tried to interact with him. When discussing if we were ready for another child we literally said “It can’t be any worse than this!”
Cowgirl G came along and was an absolute piece of cake. She was content to hang out in the swing and would smile at anyone who came near her. She was born with a mop of dark hair and dimples on both cheeks (the jury is still out on who she looks like). Then at about 6 months we noticed that rather than coo delicately at her admirers she smiled and growled. Little ladies would slowly back away in fear. It soon progressed to a loud aggressive yelling that sounded like a drunken Russian soldier (no offense to all the Russian soldiers reading this). As soon as she was old enough to be told “no” we realized that we had been a little premature in our celebration. It turns out that the growling Russian voice was an early insight into her temper. At 1 year old she threw a tantrum that lasted 2 hours…over her socks. You never know what you’ll get!
After a particularly rough week with my tantrum throwing 2 year old (did I forget to mention she bit, too) The Cowboy came home and I promptly burst into tears “I can’t do anything right, all she does is scream at me, she hates me!” The Cowboy in all seriousness asked me if perhaps Cowgirl G was bipolar. This of course wasn’t the case. We sat down and had a brainstorming session, and I am proud to say that with a ton of consistency, firm love, and patience (I can proudly say I can outwait the longest of tantrums) Cowgirl G has learned to control her temper…most of the time.
Next came Cowboy W, another boy that looks exactly like his father…other than the red hair (which should have been our first hint into his personality). Once again we had ourselves the sweetest baby! He was so easygoing, and he took a pacifier for the first 4 months, an unheard of luxury in this family. From the start Cowboy W had this amazing sparkle in his eye and a crooked smile that just melts your heart. But this time we weren’t fooled and kept on waiting for his “true” personality to come out. He turned one and still was just the happiest little boy. Men and women alike were drawn to him and would stop to chat with him; it took me an extra 20 minutes to get through the grocery store when he came with me. When he was about 18 months old I began to notice though that our sweet little Cowboy W was beginning to use his powers for evil rather than good. When I would admonish him for bad behavior, like climbing onto the kitchen table and screaming for no reason, he would flash his sparkling eyes at me, smile his crooked smile, and whisper words of love for his mommy. Now by this point I had a heart of stone and this did nothing for me…but I realized that I was the only one immune to his powers. The Cowboy, Ma, Pa, our neighbors and even my ally TallGirlJ, would all melt and smile and hug him rather than chastise his often very naughty behavior. I am happy to say that with a whole lot of nagging most of them are now on my side, or at least have learned to turn their backs to deflect his powers.
When it came time for Cowbaby’s birth I spent hours trying to decide what personality we would get, I mean really we didn’t have too many choices left! To add to the excitement, for the first time ever we didn’t find out what we were having (though I said it was a boy all along). When Cowbaby was born he looked so much like Cowgirl G that I thought my instincts were wrong and it was a girl. Which is funny, because after a few hours it was clear that he is the spitting image of Cowboy J and his daddy. I braced myself for a high strung baby because of his physical resemblance to Cowboy J. Nope, you never know what you’ll get. He is easygoing as can be just like Cowboy W, and will hang out happily with anyone that gives him any kind of attention. He has just started to crawl and now that he is hearing the word “no” we are seeing the beginning of Cowgirl G’s temper (thought he seems to speak a less harsh German instead of drunken Russian), and he bites just like his big sister. I was just starting to relax and feel confident about this kid being a piece of cake; after all I know how to deal with manipulative charm and tantrums!
Then this last month I got thrown a curve ball, it turns out we have a picky eater. I usually make my own baby food (I’ll be sharing more about that with you on Monday) and all my kids have loved it. Not Cowbaby – as soon as he sees a bowl rather than a glass jar or yogurt container, he turns his head, clams shut his mouth and waves his hand in scarily accurate ninja baby moves. So, fine after a few weeks of this I gave up and just bought a bunch of baby food, I’m not too proud to give my kid jarred food (and it is a little easier anyway). Well that lasted about two days, and then he did the same thing again, turning up his nose at the mango and kiwi concoction that he had just gobbled down the day before. I put on my thinking hat. He loves his little dried yogurt bites; maybe he just wanted to feed himself? He sees his brothers and sister doing it that way, maybe he felt ready. I cut up the pasta we had for dinner and put it on his tray, he couldn’t get enough! So the next day for lunch I cut up blueberries and cheese and put them on his tray. First he looked at me like I was crazy, then he slowly stuck a blueberry to his finger and put it in his mouth. He chewed it slowly and rolled it around his mouth and smiled that sweet Cowbaby smile. And then simultaneously spit it out onto me, and swept all the other pieces onto the floor while screaming and blowing raspberries.
Really it’s my own fault. I have had friends with picky eaters and I carelessly doled out advice like, they’ll eat when they get hungry, and as long as you don’t feed them junk they’ll be fine. I thought I was being helpful, and my other kids had gone through picky stages, so I thought I knew what they were going through. And secretly yes, I might have thought in my head, thank goodness it’s you and not me! I am putting it in writing now, I am sorry. I should have shut up and listened to you and encouraged you to never give up! I am now resigned to the fact that I will need to always wear dark clothing because I am going to spend the next two years covered in smashed up smeared food. And, I am seriously wondering what on earth we will get next if we choose to have more children…because you just never know…
Any tips or tricks from other moms with picky eaters? Please help me!