Siblings share, on average, 25% of their DNA. The sharing of DNA between parent and child is fixed at exactly 50% (yes, we are doomed to become our mothers and fathers) however siblings can vary theoretically from 0 - 50% shared DNA bc the DNA a sib inherits from parent is random. With Thing 2 still being so young it is difficult to know how similar in temperament she will be to Thing 1 though photographic evidence shows that they are very clearly related:
Maybe this is the expression shared by all babies when they are plucked from the warm, whooshy womb and dumped on the cold stainless steel scale:
I call this one "She has more hair, I have more chins but we share the same straight jacket":
Not really pertinent, just a gratuitous inclusion of this picture (hint: the bald ones aren't real):
But I sit on the edge of my seat wondering if Thing 2's toddlerhood will resemble Thing 1's. Time for the standard parental disclaimer: I love my child blah blah blah, best thing that ever happened to me blah blah blah, wouldn't change anything for the world blah blah blah (ok yes, I actually do mean these things but OMIGOD do parents realize how overplayed they sound when they preface their complaints with The Disclaimer??). So, that probably makes it somewhat obvious that I find myself struggling with toddlerhood. And by struggling I mean morphing into a yelling, impatient, red-faced, strident, irritating monsther (cross between mother and monster).
Back when Thing 1 was a smiley, drooling infant I decided to get ahead of the curve and started reading "The Happiest Toddler on the Block" by "the brilliant" Dr. Karp (really, he's brilliant, there are pages and pages and pages of anecdotes talking about how brilliant he is... in fact if you skip the "I'm brilliant" content the book shrinks from about 300 pages to 10 pages of rather good advice). He advocates child rearing approaches based on the toddler's particular temperament and neatly divides toddler temperaments into three broad categories: shy, easy and spirited. Unsure as to what temperament your child has, just do this simple test. Go to a crowded mall and let go of your child's hand and pretend you are not paying attention. The easy toddler will hang out near you, the shy toddler will cling to your leg and hide his face and the spirited toddler will be gone in a flash. I remember looking at my still immobile, speechless infant wondering what flavour I had. By the time Thing 1 was mobile enough to run the test, it was a moot point given that I spent most of my days 10 feet behind her fast retreating behind yelling and pleading and cajoling and generally being thankful I am a fit runner.
So we have without a doubt a spirited toddler, spirited being a highly euphemistic term. I struggle with the 30 pounds of id that IS Thing 1. (As as aside, I stole the "30 pounds of id" line from this article which, if you have ever had to fly with a toddler you MUST read because it is pee your pants hilarious). I do realize that my impatience and frustration with the id-ness of Thing 1 is really a reflection on ME and not at all on her... she is exactly what toddlers are supposed to be: self-centered, limit-testing, danger-seeking, noise-making agents of chaos. Toddlers can be thought of as sub-civilized aliens... they have a code but it is not one that is generally appreciated by the rest of society. The role of parent is to be the toddler's ambassador to the world. Parents exist to act as buffer between the toddler's frustrations and the world and the world's annoyance and the toddler. I know this. Things with Thing 1 are exactly as they are supposed to be but OH do I find it frustrating.
Frustrating that she has twenty thousand toys (give or take) but if Thing 2 receives one toy she must immediately claim and monopolize it because she must have All Of The Things All Of The Time. Frustrating that we can spend the whole morning pleasing her with trips to the park, loads of focussed attention, little treats but she cannot let us have five minutes to listen to a song we want to hear because "Moi aime PAS ca" and if MOI doesn't like a certain thing than that thing MUST cease to exist. Frustrating that we cajole her to try to go to the bathroom and she adamantly refuses, throws a temper tantrum telling us "Moi n'as PAS de pipi" and then she goes and pees in the bouncy castle causing it to be shut down for cleaning for the next hour (And yes, I offered to clean it and was refused given instead the humiliating job of guarding the entrance and turning everyone away. And since when did "it's closed" become not enough information??? I swear every toddler jonesing for the bouncy castle AND their parent NEEDED to know WHY). Frustrating that she cannot share with anyone, ever... not even say a seat on the bus with me... kind random dude gives up his seat, Thing 1 takes it, won't move over to share and mom is left hanging onto the pole with one pinky while trying desperately to keep Thing 2, stroller and daycare bag from poking people's vital organs.
And I say all of this is normal but a small part of me wonders as I guess ultimately all parents do... IS this normal? Parents OWE it to society to raise conscientious, thoughtful, confident, polite children. It is against all of our interests to have entitled, spoiled brats roaming around because although it may be normal at age 3, it starts to wear thin when the same behaviour is exhibited in say the workplace. So like all parents I want to release a kind, thoughtful person upon the world not only because it is my duty to society and but because kind, thoughtful people are happier than spoiled brats and more than anything else, parents want happiness for their children. And I am trying... but at age 3, the age of ID it is so hard to see around the corner and know if things are going to turn out okay. And in case it isn't obvious... I welcome the chorus of "it's normal" and "listen to what my child does"... please tell me I am not alone.