I have discovered that I am not the only mama living in the house. Sure, I may be the only one that actually has real live children to rear, but there are a couple other mamas around here practicing with their beloved stash of stuffed babies and critters.
Recently, I have been thinking about the differences between boys and girls. I have two nephews and have always seemed to be around boys more than girls until my little duo came along. Before I had the girls, I had ten family members or friends who gave birth within a year's time and eight of those little ones were boys! Needless to say, I was quite alarmed when the nurse told me that I just had two little pinkies. Life certainly was never the same.
I was always frightened by the concept of having girls. According to several women that I know, raising girls is supposedly much harder and more taxing on a mother than boys. Supposedly, we don't worry about our boys as much as we do our little girls. Now, I am no authority on boys since I don't have any and I really am not even an authority on girls either since mine are so little, so I can't answer this question right now. What I can tell you is that many little girls and many little boys have gender roles built right into them. I don't know why this is and why girls and boys pick up on different things even if they are exposed to the same environment, but I have seen it happen time and time again.
Now as my little girls are almost getting to the old age of two, these little personalities have shaped into what I can only believe is their God-given maternal instincts. Of course, those environmental behaviorists can argue that they see me caring for them and they want to imitate me. I totally buy that and from last week's post, you know that I am watching this very carefully. However, it is the sweet little gestures that I am amazed they will do for each other, for me and twindada and for their little brood of stuffed friends.
Peanut especially assumes the role of big sister (by one big whole minute!) quite well. I don't ever treat her like she is older of course, but she just seems to be a little more take charge and affectionate than Jelly Bean. Just today, when I stepped out of the playroom to answer the phone, I turned around and Peanut had found the box of baby wipes, pulled one out and was proceeding to wipe Jelly Bean's nose for her. (Something we have had to do a lot lately.) Jelly Bean giggled while Peanut rested her hand on Jelly Bean's shoulder and babbled something to her that I can only imagine went something like this, "I am going to wipe your nose. Please blow." (Well, this is what I say to her anyway!)
Another example was last night, twindada was laying on the couch and Peanut gathered up a pillow, blanket and some stuff animals and started laying them all over him. Once he was covered up, she looked at him and said, "Night. Night."
Jelly Bean loves to share her sippy cup with everyone around, but she has to hold it. She will walk up to me and stick out her sippy cup making the funniest expression with her face. All I can see is her top lip curled up and her teeth bucked while she sucks in air. I think she is trying to show me how to do it in case I have never used a sippy cup before. I will pretend like I am drinking from it and she gets the biggest laugh from it. I have also caught her feeding her best friend, "Bear", the once white, now unsightly grayish, squished, floppy head bear that is in a permanent headlock under her right arm. (That reminds me that I need to send in a reconnaissance team to take out Bear so that he can get a good washing...)
Many stuffed animals have been put down for naptime and covered up. If I try to ask them what they are doing, they will say, "Shh" while putting their finger to their mouth. What was I thinking? I could have woken up the monkey!
So it is really cool to see them acting out these maternal instinct skills. I have never considered myself very maternal at all really. Before kids, I enjoyed my niece and nephews and friend's kids, but I would say that I have always been more of a playmate than a mother to any of them. (Probably since I am still kind of a big kid myself.) Once I had children, it was amazing how much my perception changed and my confidence grew about raising children. Certainly not because I had all the answers suddenly, but because they were my children and it was up to me and twindada to decide how they were going to be raised and what was important for our family.
I like the fact that the girls are already exhibiting these personalities and I hope that it means they will be more maternal than me. I am so glad that I am teaching them about how to care for others and hope they grow up to be happy mothers of their own little ones.