Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sample size of 2

I think one of the most interesting things about parenting two kids is how much it resembles a reality TV game show. We get to "expect the unexpected," enjoy scrambling after "this week's twist," and slog our way through "detours, roadblocks, and u-turns" galore here. Every time I make the mistake of expecting B2 to do roughly the same things at roughly the same time that B1 did them, or expecting B2 to behave in the same way as B1 at any point in time, I am routinely and profoundly schooled.

For example, when we moved into this house, B1 was just over 1 year old and I was about halfway through my pregnancy with B2. We were planning to move B1 into a big boy bed so we wouldn't have to get a second crib. I fretted profusely about the door handles (they were the long lever kind, not round knobs) and what we would do to keep him from roaming the house all night. We ended up changing them and buying those door knob covers for childproofing and it was such a waste of effort. B1 never even tried to get out of his room. Like ever. When he got a little older, he started to, but his Good Nite Light took care of that. This boy is a rule follower (for the most part). 

Now. B2 has also been in a big boy bed for a while. And I don't know if he's actually tried before, but his doorknob was kind of sticky, so he could never get out. Until today. Twice today he has managed to bust out of there and I will tell you, I'm totally dreading tonight. I have visions of a tiny face popping up by my side of the bed a zillion or so times, saying "Hi Mama. It wake up time now?" when it will most assuredly NOT be wake up time. 

My problem is this. I'm a statistics kind of girl. I like predictability, and patterns, and charts. I've made a career out of predicting how people will behave. A 50% margin of error is very difficult for me to compute. I suppose that's an argument for having a larger family (no thanks) in favour of improving statistical significance. That must be what's really behind the "3 is the new 2" movement. They're just trying to enhance their predictive models. 

I suppose this is part of the beauty of parenting two children - the constant imbalance between expecting them to be carbon copies of each other and forgetting completely what the first one was like at age X. Perhaps I should spend less time trying to figure out what they're going to do, and when, and how, and spend more time getting to know each of them for their uniqueness and learning to love them for (or despite) what they are.

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