Sunday, January 06, 2008

Nature vs nurture

The twins are a month old. Apparently they looked like this, once. If they handed me these cottage-cheese covered monkey babies now, I think I'd hand them back - they're much prettier a month on.

The twin studies have commenced. It's surprising how quickly the babies are demonstrating different temperaments. I wonder whether the characteristics will stay the same over time, or whether their baby behaviour is unrelated to later personality traits?

Either way, I'm glad I have two babies, because when those silly competitive conversations between mothers start up where we try to prove what good mothers we are by the advanced/settled behaviour of our children I will know I had nothing to do with it - they just came out this way.

Lucky is very calm and placid, what is commonly called, I believe, a 'good' baby. She seems very confident and sure that we will turn up and meet her needs eventually. She's not scared of new experiences - breeze on her skin, a bath, a new person holding her, she takes them all in her stride. When Lucky cries, it's just a case of figuring out what the problem is. Sometimes this takes me a while, but eventually I get it.

If a relaxed, non-crying baby is a 'good' baby, what is a 'bad' baby? Junior cries in the evenings for an hour or two, or even three, for no apparent reason. I think it's just that the whole living-in-the-world thing is overwhelming at the moment. New experiences are frightening. On the other hand, he's much cuddlier than Lucky, who seems pretty independent, happy to just lie and look around her.

Oops - they're awake. Gotta go. If you have kids, when did temperament start to assert itself?


Debstar said...

He's not a 'bad' baby maybe just a more 'high need' baby. My high need baby is still high need at 21 yrs who is highly intelligent and keeps me on my toes and my youngest who displayed the same traits as your girl is now a happy go lucky, easy-to-live with delightful 16year old who I wouldn't trade for the world.

It's the loving them that never changes.

E, M, and the Little Man said...

Our Teo showed his temperament very quickly. He is pretty easy-going unless starving or being restrained in some way (car seat etc.) He never did that 2 or 3 hour a night crying. He would cry in the evening, but not for long lengths of time. He has been observing the world in earnest since he came out. We think he's an old soul.

Justin said...

Clover has been exactly this way since the day she was born!

Can we come visit you one morning this week? Clover having swimming lessons at 9:30am each morning, and we could come one day after that. what do you think? The photos of your babies are absolutely gorgeous... I am so proud of you both.


JahTeh said...

My mother is an identical twin in looks but they are so different in temperament and always have been.

They did sometimes have a twin moment in their teens where they would buy a dress only to find the other had bought the same but in a different colour.

Susoz said...

Lots of new babies cry in the evenings - it's because their nervous system is tired out after a day of being alive. After the magic 12 week mark, most of that stops.
My baby cried most evenings too. That said, his temperament was apparent from birth - quiet and responsive to human connection. He's been pretty much the same for 9 years.

Chris said...

"I think it's just that the whole living-in-the-world thing is overwhelming at the moment."

And who can blame the poor little tyke, really? Just don't tell him it only gets worse :)

Kirsten said...

Yeah, like the other people said, I think my two (not twins though) both showed their temperaments from day one. Mikaela (who's only only 21 months now) was not as obvious as Liam (who's now 6). She was more placid and easy going generally, but then developed reflux so lots of crying - and now has a wicked temper on her, yet is cheerful and easygoing most of the time (just until you cross her!). Liam was more obvious from birth - interested, engaged, active, not cuddly, and definitely not sleepy! He's still extroverted and active, very much the same.