Keeping up with my girls, their changing moods, needs, wants, growth, can be a bit of a race, leaving me breathless. Bright boy didn't prepare me for rapidly changing children who learn, soak up information like sponges, grow taller by the day, and move into adolescence at breakneck speed. Bobby at the girlies' ages wasn't like them. His speech was still limited, he was still not entirely toilet-trained, and his needs were far greater. He was also still little, looking more like a preschooler at seven. Rosie looks her age. And Lil, who is now nine, is pushing into competencies that my son, at 12 years her senior, still hasn't ventured. She looks big, acts big, whereas he was still little (short, but wide, as the risperadol had done a number to his weight by that time).
When Bobby was eight, I still carried him on my hip. Still. The girlies I quit carrying years and years ago. Part of it was age (mine), part of it that they were bigger at their respective ages than Bobby, and lastly, that they did not need me to.
Bright boy at 7, throwing bread up at the gulls.
My girls are solid, grounded, and moving forward, always forward. This forward progress, especially socially, is not smooth, not easy, but it is progress that my bright boy did not make at the same ages. At nine, the age Lil is now, he had a stroke, and many gains were lost and had to be won all over again. The picture of him above represents well how he was and, still is, reaching, always reaching. He has a wonderful personality (even when he drives me batty), and that picture is still my favorite one of him.
Parenting my girlies is drastically different than parenting my son, even when I compare present parenting skills required for each of the three rather than looking back, back to distant times. All three keep me on my toes, questioning my choices (both they and I doing the asking), making me try harder to be a good enough parent for each of them, to know where and when to back off, to let them try, to let them fail: to let them grow at their own pace and in their own way.
And when and how to have a bit of fun.
After all, you're only young once. :-)
Updated: Gah, never fails, write something fuzzy, warm, and then go look at their rooms. OMG. They had better be moving is what I'm saying. Yuck, just yuck. And we cleaned them, sorted their stuff, got rid of a bunch just last week!