Monday, May 26, 2008

A Study of Opposites

-Leah cries about sooo many things. No water left? Cry. Ben is playing with "her" yellow block? Cry. Or wail at a super-sonic pitch.

We actually expect Ben to cry more often than he actually does. Bang his head on some furniture? NO crying. Leah grabs his toy? No big deal. He just gets another one.

- Ben's crying? So what? That's not Leah's business. And most importantly, she didn't do it.
But if Leah's crying? Or anyone else (like Mommy during an emotional breakdown a few weeks ago) Ben must go give her a hug.

- The other day, we were in a waiting room that had a water cooler. I got each of the kids a cup about a third full. Ben put his on his chair's seat and proceeded to climb into his chair without spilling the water. TWICE. I still don't know how he did it.

But his big sister? Even if we've taken every precaution against spilling, she'll find a way to manage it. Like the other morning. The kids were eating breakfast in the kitchen, and Aaron and I were in the living room. We heard a bad sound, followed by Leah's wailing. I went in and saw rice krispies and milk all over the cloth tablecloth, chair seat and floor. As I started cleaning it up, Leah wailed, "And I want new PJ's!" I asked why, because I couldn't see anything on her. Then she turned around, and the poor kid had cereal all the way down her back.

She must have been sliding off her seat with her elbow on the tablecloth, which followed her down. Oops.

- Leah likes her food separate. No sauce, even. Hotdish/casserole is her nemesis. Grilled pork chop, peas, and mashed potatoes would be her ideal meal.
Ben pretty much refuses to eat meat plain. Although we've learned a trick. If we let him go ahead and fill up on carbs (rice is an especial favorite) first, eventually he'll eat his meat, too. If we melt the meat into cheese in any form, he'll probably chow it down.
- Ben is a pro dipper. He loves ketchup, hummus, ranch dressing, and even tartar sauce. Also, very oddly, he likes to dip his food into his beverage.
Leah passes on ketchup, eating chicken nuggets and even hot dogs plain instead. She does like ranch, though...hard to imagine anyone who wouldn't, of course!

- Leah is like her mommy, and mostly enjoys the pleasures of being inside: TV, watching video games, reading or listening to books, etc.
Ben is addicted to the outdoors. He was all set to go out in his pj's this morning.

- Ben naps really happily in the afternoon for an hour and a half. Unless we are in the van just before nap time, however, he won't sleep. On road trips, he actually sleeps LESS than usual.
If we are driving anywhere, for any amount of time, after 4pm, Leah WILL fall asleep. Sometimes surprisingly quickly and virtually mid-sentence. On road trips, she sleeps more than usual. Of course, this is because she is the one who can self-entertain. Murphy's Law.

- Ben moves non-stop. Running or galloping, usually. Leah starts to complain about being tired if we walk more than half a block.

But for all of their differences, they are both good sleepers, both affectionate, and both becoming good helpers. And they both have lucky parents.


Aaron said...

Reads more like a study of "Ben is awesome and Leah sucks", he he he.

I am like a combo of Ben and Leah in how I will eat any meat, sauce or not.

JJ and EJ said...

Ha! I didn't want to say it first, but I felt the same thing! We love Leah and Ben-o!

Noel said...

One of the definitions of "sisters" at our house is "two genetically related individuals who will disagree if given a choice".

Also at our house, the head cook likes to mix stuff together and leave it for the other three people to pick out the ingredients they don't like when it would be much easier to let the diners combine what they want on their plates.

At the tail end of the original post, something that came to mind was the challenge of raising kids in Fargo who will be robust in the adversity of elevation changes during a walk (based on Ben and Leah having different horizontal tolerances). We started with the annual family hike up Halloway Hill in Maplewood State Park with dad carrying someone who was tired or afraid of the garter snakes sunning themselves on the path. Then came hiking along the North Shore of Lake Superior where the phrase "Stairway to Heaven" was coined. The Mn state parks people construct these structures with several hundred steps to facilitate going up and down the hills. Unfortunately, a meltdown about not being able to go on at the bottom of one of these structures becomes problematic as the child grows bigger and dad grows older....