Friday, September 21, 2007

To Be the Baby of the Family

Rant of the Week Scott recently read an article about birth order. You know all that research that says the first born is going to the leader the one be CEO and the last born is the slacker and will still living at home at 30. I am not dispelling the research, but right about now I can't quite figure out how it all ends up that way. It seems to me being the baby of the family means you have to learn things quicker, solve problems better, and overall be more independent.

It is just simple math. Divide 24 hours by how many kids you've got (moms don't ever really sleep), the more kids you've got the less time for each one. It used to be that our world revolved around Sarah and only Sarah. We helped, we solved, we coddled. Poor Jaley never had that luxury, there was always another kid clamoring for all the attention. Jaley gets half the solutions, half the help, and half of most everything (EXCEPT LOVE). As Jaley gets older, we may all fall into treating her like the "baby of the family", but for now it sure does seem like she is the one growing up faster, being more of the independent, and turning into the leader.

She is already learning that if she doesn't do things herself, it won't happen. I don't have enough time or energy to everything for her and Sarah, and take care everything else to. I probably carried Sarah out to the car until she was 2. But for Jaley, I just open the front door. She climbs down the stairs, over to the car, and climbs right up into her car seat. At age 1, there was no expectation for Sarah to be self-sufficient. But things are so different for Jaley. The other day, like all days, I was running late. I yelled (I mean asked politely in a loving voice) for the girls to get their shoes on with the full expectation it will be done. I found poor Jaley sitting next to Sarah struggling to slide on her own shoes. Jaley is also expected to keep track of her own blankets, sippy cups, and stuffed animals - a trick that neither she nor Sarah has fully mastered.


As much as I don't currently see the how this birth order stereotypes come to fruition, I have learned a few things this year. No matter what you think beforehand, you parent every child differently. Oh yes, it sounds bad, but, it actually makes a lot of sense. You treat each child different because they are different. No two people are the same. And in the end it is much more important to act fairly than identically. So Jaley may have to get her own snack out of the pantry and soothe herself back to sleep at 3AM, but she also gets the benefit of all I have learned over the past 3 1/2 years about being a fun and loving parent without as many of the mistakes I made as a first-time mom.

Life in the Stroller Lane
I haven't written in almost a month, so I guess I have a lot to catch up on....I'll try to keep it short and sweet.

Nana came to town to see the girls. She
stayed, played, made cookies (of course), and gave Scott and I a whole day to ourselves (God Bless you Nana). We used that time to celebrate our anniversary. We celebrated nine years of building a life full of kids and responsibilities, by taking an entire day pretending that we have didn't have kids or responsibilities. We ate out, we relaxed, we went shopping, we relaxed some more, we even went to a play. It was heavenly. And then the next morning we took Nana to the airport and resumed our real lives with our real kids and our real responsibilities and thought that was heavenly too.

For the past month, Scott hasn't traveled for work. He hasn't been on an airplane this entire month - a feat that hasn't happened in recent memory. Although he is still has been working hard , it has been great to have him home every night. That joy, however, is soon coming to an end. He is on the road the first two weeks of October.

At the end of August, I got our 2nd and last rental home leased and was looking forward to 6 months of quiet time in the rental biz. But, n
o rest for the weary. The resident at #2 hadn't even unpacked when the folks at #1 told me they bought a home and wanted to break their lease. Now, I have #1 advertised for sale and for lease. Whoever bites first gets the home. In the interim, I have been trying to spruce up the place - because of the drought the yard has seen better days. My back is aching because of it.

But real estate isn't my only venture these days, I have started volunteering at a non-profit organization, The Kramden Institute. The charity takes donated computers, refurbishes them, and gives them to local honor roll students that can't afford to buy a computer. It is a great cause and a great charity. I am going to help out with writing some grant applications. As they say, money makes the world go round - true in the for-profit and not-for-profit worlds alike.

As for the girls, we have been having a great time. We have been recently on the field trip kick with neighborhood kids and moms. Off to the NC Natural History Museum last week, to the Duke Lemur Center today, and to the Pumpkin Patch and Animal Farm soon. I don't know how much Sarah and Jaley are getting out of the trips, but as Scott will attest, no one likes an educational tour more than me. So off we go, tour book in hand.



That's life in the stroller lane. Lots of love.