People like to say, "no two children are the same," but you don't really believe that until you experience it yourself. When you have only one child, you liken him to others and keep a mental list of how he's more or less advanced than his peers. You feel your heart swell up when he does something no other child his age is doing, and you start looking up numbers for professional services when he lags behind in some other area. Keeping track of his abilities is a tedious and time-consuming task.
Then you have a second child, and the world as you know it shifts on its axis. Everything's different. You'd heard it would be, but you simply didn't believe it. That list of milestones and achievements starts to seem pretty ridiculous. After all, while you remember the exact moment your older child rolled over for the first time (because it was at least a month before your friend's same-age child did it), you were too busy chasing and entertaining that older child to fully devote your mental energy to cataloging when your second child rocked herself from front to back. And so it goes.
Some might think the general fog that settles in after the second child (and the complete inability to remember which one it was that did that hilarious thing at age 2) is a bad thing, but they'd be wrong. It's called freedom: freedom to laugh at your children's antics instead of writing them down, freedom to enjoy your children's development rather than compare it, freedom to feel pride that these kids -- the ones who depend on you for everything -- are gonna be A-okay. And freedom is a beautiful thing.
Life happens, and I've yet to meet a parent who doesn't lament about how the time is rushing past them. I am so grateful that I've finally realized that the best thing I can do as a parent is bask in the minutes -- whether they seem endless or fleeting -- rather than worry about what they mean and how to make the most of them. My children aren't the same, and they aren't like yours or hers or his. They are their own little selves. Today -- and everyday -- I'll be working on knowing them better and appreciating them for the unique souls they are.
Now if only I could forget that my oldest was potty trained at 18 months as my youngest sits across the room laughing about how she just (purposefully) peed in her pull-up!