From the moment Baby Bear was conceived I couldn't help but to compare him to Bunny. I compared their pregnancies, their deliveries, their birth weights, and their appearances. When Bear started crying I compared their cries, and shortly thereafter, their temperaments. In the past seven weeks since I've known Baby Bear--well, known him outside of the womb--I haven't been able to help myself but to continue comparing them--their sleep habits, their eating habits, even their snuggling preferences.
At first, I'm wary about comparing the two children, but after second thought, I don't think this type of comparison is harmful. Siblings get compared to each other in this way all the time. If you are a sibling, you know that. A sense of belonging can be drawn from the right kinds of comparison. You hear your parents compare you and your siblings and it feels good to be a part of a family. It feels like you belong. When my parents compared me to a sibling, there was love wrapped up in it. My mom shone with pride when she talked about each one of us and our different or similar strengths. But still, though one side of me embraces the experience of comparing Bear to Bunny, the other side of me is worried that I may not be appreciating them as an individual this way. Of course, this leads to comparisons again--I had no frame of reference to make any comparisons when Bunny was born and now I can't help but look to my past experiences as I raise Baby Bear. It may be harmless right now to make my side-by-side photos and notice how similar their cheeks are, or that Baby Bear looks more like his Daddy and Bunny looks more like me. It may be cute to show how similarly they sleep or to notice the different timbres of their cries. Later, though, when Baby Bear starts walking and talking, will I appreciate his slower or faster developmental pace? When he enters kindergarten, will I be able to refrain myself from comparing his academic performance to that of his sister's? Will I rejoice when I see them branching out into different hobbies and talents? Will I take care to embrace the individuals that God has created them to be whether different or similar? Will I rejoice equally in them as human beings? I hope so. I don't want these comparisons to become standards. I want both Bunny and Bear to feel that I appreciate them as much for their differences as I do for their similarities. I want them to know that I love them wholly and completely, apart from each other as much as I do together. I'm human and I'm not the perfect Mommy (though I really try to be) so I'm sure there will be times that I will compare them in a way that is detrimental--we all make such mistakes. But I hope it's the exception and not the rule. I hope that when both of my children (or all of them, if God blesses us with more) look back , they will know that they were loved and cherished for the person they are, not who I wished they could be or who their siblings were.
I'm going to continue making my cutesy comparison pictures and I probably won't be able to stop myself from mentioning the differences and similarities between my two children as they grow and mature. I love reliving Bunny's infanthood and cherishing Baby Bear's for the first time in this way. But my goal is to do so in a way that is pleasant for both of them, not demanding. My hope is that when I can't help but to compare them, it makes them feel part of a loving family rather than feeling ostracized or inferior.
What are your thoughts on the matter?
Cheri P. Date 9/11/2013
cute article -- we'll see what happens with baby #2
Mary Date 9/11/2013
Your children are adorable. I think everyone compares their children; you can't help it!
Maggie M Date 9/13/2013
I keep making comparisons between my boys too. My 2nd has just been so different from my first. It's kinda cool to see how I do things differently because they are different.
Kristen Fortine Date 9/13/2013
I love comparing our boys just to remind myself they are two totally different kids. Even though they have different dads their similarities & differences & even personalites are so different but mesh so well together
Kim Hendricks Date 9/14/2013
My 2nd boy will be here very soon, but I have found myself comparing my current pregnancy & my oldest son's pregnancy a lot. I don't think you can not compare, but as parents we need to make sure ther younger of the 2 dosen't feel less of a person because they don't live up to the older child's accomplishments, especially as they get older.
Rachel N Date 9/18/2013
My first and second child are as different as night and day. I used to compare them but now I just know that #2 will make his own path for EVERYTHING. He has such a strong personality, quite the little character.