You ever just sit back and observe your kids, like in their natural elements? Sometimes I just like to sit back and watch my girls do their thing. It’s in these moments that I get to see their true personality shine through. Earlier today I took the girls to the park to give my wife a few hours to catch up on some work. So, I’m walking around the playground, London in the baby Bjorn, Riley and Olivia running off to play on the jungle gym. Within 1 minute of arriving at the playground, Olivia already knew what she wanted to do: make a new friend. She went right up to a girl hanging from the jungle gym and introduced herself, saying, hi, my name’s Olivia. (Too bad the little girl didn’t respond). Riley, took her time testing out a few of the playground toys, then settled on the jungle gym.
Fast forward 30 minutes, I’m still pacing the park while I notice that Riley has bonded pretty closely with a new friend. They’re tugging at each others hands as they race from one activity to the next. Meanwhile, Olivia has become my shadow, now bored with the playground muttering…no one wants to play with me, I don’t like the flies, I’m hungry… By this time, London is sound asleep in the baby carrier, and all I want to do is enjoy the breeze of the warm almost spring afternoon. As we finally leave almost an hour and a half later, Riley wishes we could stay longer, Olivia can’t wait to get home (or to the store, or anywhere else but the playground), and London well…she’s peacefully oblivious to it all.
Here’s what I know about my girls (which by the way all could be subject to change as they get older and develop more of their personalities):
Though sometimes I worry about Riley more than Olivia (she’s the less assertive one, sometimes the more tentative one), I have to remember that she’s also the analtytical and persistent one. I sat and watched her figure out how to climb onto a certain portion of the jungle gym, after repeated unsuccessful attempts. The look of pride and achievement on her face when she finally did it was priceless! Olivia meanwhile, sure she’s a fast starter and she knows what she wants pretty quickly, she also doesn’t yet have the persistence to overcome repeated failure. Yet. She’ll get there. I watched her give up several times after being unable to climb the same jungle gym her sister was climbing (which is a lesson in itself- she likes to hang with the big dogs. She was probably the smallest, youngest person at that park and she attempted to keep up with all the other kids). She’s definitely scrappy.
I’m also realizing that there’s beauty in just appreciating their differences, it’s what makes each of them who they are and I wouldn’t have it any other way.