Thursday, 11 February 2010

Elliot will always be my (rascally) little baby, even when he's 45

I can already see a huge distinction between my kids' personalities, even at 17 mo and 34 mo. Madeleine is the most cheerful little bug you could ever imagine - she literally springs out of bed singing and chattering. I can barely even speak until 11 am, so I think she must get it from my dad, who likes to chat about his love of sorting mangoes (for proper ripening) at 5 a.m. Anyhow... she's also very precise and methodical, reads and paints with intense concentration that you rarely see on a (nearly) 3 year old, and loves being a "grown up big girl". It doesn't take much imagination to work out that by the time she hits school age she could very easily be a curly version of Summer from School of Rock. She's very much a First Child.

Elliot on the other hand is, well, ... like the tazmanian devil or Roger Rabbit in an incredibly delicious little wrapper. On speed. He has never been seen in one place longer than 10 seconds, and runs everywhere at lightning speed. He refuses to climb down the stairs backwards, but instead launches himself forwards off the top step and hopes for the best. If he wants something, he doesn't bother asking, he just climbs up and gets it. If he is hungry, he pours all the Shreddies out onto the floor and just stuffs a handful into his mouth and speeds away giggling and crunching. In short, he's a mischievious little rascal but too quick to catch and reprimand. But even if he slowed down long enough for me to tell him off, who could possibly stay angry at my baby boy's sweet little face? He knows, and he milks it. He'll be that kid in school who saunters in 5 minutes after the bell, and smiles sweetly at the teacher while he makes up an excuse for not having done his homework, and be forgiven all his sins (there will be many - that I can guarantee!) for his adorable little grin. He'll be the classic Baby of the Family.

It's strange to think that neither of them will ever have the same experience I had growing up as a middle child (my legs are firmly crossed). I think having less attention when I was growing up made me more outgoing, more frank, more energetic, more expansive in my gestures - I needed to have a big personality to be noticed at all. When it suited me, though, I could tone it right down and just sail along in my older brother's slipstream - people automatically pinned his personality and abilities on me, so I really lucked out at school having all my sins forgiven because people assumed I was as smart and diligent as my big brother.

Being the baby of the family and then suddenly having it ripped away is something that both the older child and middle child experience, and actually I think it affects your whole perspective on life, your ability to deal with emotional trauma, and your expectations of others around you. I don't know whether that's a good thing or a bad thing. I have this sense that the Baby of the Family will always have an extra special place in his mum's eyes - whether it's shrugging off his rascally behaviour or turning up with tupperwares full of food when he moves into his own place.

All I know is that my delectable little Elliot will always be my baby.

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