As each of my daughters grows and gets older, it becomes more clear exactly how different each of them is.
Aside from their build (tall and skinny, like you-know-who), their brains, and their beauty, they don’t have a stitch in common. Well, those and the girly propensity for drama, of course.
Monkey is a dark-haired blue-eyed beauty, with olive-toned skin. Bun is a blonde (after her Bella) with hazel green eyes (my eyes) and Irish-fair skin.
As an infant, Monkey was so noisy, even as she slept, I called her uccellino (Italian for “little bird”, pronounced “oo-che-lino”). She was always chirping. Bun was quiet, quiet, quiet. As a result, Bun co-slept with us a little longer — I am an extremely light sleeper, and Monkey kept me up, even though I was so exhausted. Nonetheless, they were both in a crib in a separate room by five months.
Monkey was a skinny baby. That girl never had a fat roll. Bun was my chubby one — and then she turned 18 months old, lost all her toddler fat, and grew two inches overnight. True story.
When Monkey started being more alert as an infant, she thought that 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. was party time. That was a bad few weeks. Then somewhere in between four and five months of age, her internal clock switched — not a day too soon.
Bun’s alert times started out during the day right away. Thank goodness, because I don’t know how I would have stayed up with her at night and then stayed up with Monkey during the day. Probably being part of a daylight household helped Bun right off the bat.
Temperamentally, they are different, too. Monkey is calmer (I can’t believe I just wrote that), more inquisitive, with an impressive attention span for a 4-and-a-half year old.
Monkey is more aloof as well. She often plays by herself even when she is in a group of kids (something I’ve noticed when I pick her up from day school), and she is less physically affectionate. She decides when and where and whom she will kiss or hug.
Bun is in-your-face. She is bossy; she is demanding of attention. Although she likes to cuddle, she is so squirmy it can be challenging. She jumps on you, and she hugs so hard she can hurt you.
Bun is expressive and more emotional. She shrugs her whole body when she is asking a question; her eyes open wide, wider, widest. Or she glares and frowns; she puts her hands on her hips. Or she throws her head back in laughter.
Monkey is more still, and was more still even as a 2-year-old. She listens to stories as I read; she watches TV shows.
Bun cannot sit still, ever, at all. Not for dinner, not for TV, not for night time treat. She doesn’t walk anywhere — she runs. I don’t know how she actually manages to fall asleep, all the wiggling that goes on.
At night, Monkey gets in her bed and stays there; she never had a problem (or was a problem, I should say) with the transition to a toddler bed. We all know Bun’s a different story.
Monkey is pretty easy going. Don’t get me wrong: she pushes her boundaries, and pouts, and can scream with the best of them. But at this point, she is starting to discover some self control, as well as the ability to express empathy (saying “I’m sorry” for example). Bun… well, I’ll give her a couple more years on this.
Two other things they have in common: they are good eaters, have always been good eaters. I think Monkey tried to get picky on me, and I just ignored her. And they love music — they dance and sing and play with sound.
They are amazing. They floor me. Their differences really floor me: same parents, same environment, but two such different little girls and personalities.
Everyday is something new, for all of us.