I've heard people with seven kids say that all seven are as different from each other as different can be.
But it is so true. And we love each of them so much for their own uniqueness.
He is the rule-breaker, she the law-abidin' citizen. He is the silly to her serious. He is the do-first-ask-later, she is the ask-first, probably-don't-do. He is the physical to her cerebral. He is the gas to her solid. He is the kinetic to her potential. He is the Malcom X to her Dalai Lama. He is the practical to her idealism. His memory is the elephant to her Dory (in the movie Nemo). He is the exhibitionist to her privacy. He is the Felix to her Oscar.
We won't have to worry about her taking drugs in high school, but he'll be the one wondering what his brain would feel like as an egg in a frying pan.
He will be at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studying engineering in 14 years, visiting her at the Iowa Writer's Workshop while on spring break.
And I can tell you that his differences are reverberating throughout our household.
You will be aghast to note how Christmas mornings have gone for us, for the past (literally) nine years.
Maybe you'll think we are evil parents for what I am about to say, but I hope you'll understand and forgive us, and even experience a tinge of empathy. Perhaps you would do the same given the circumstances.
Nine is like BioMom in her law-abiding tendencies. Theirs are not the personalities of bending rules. Once we were at a pool with very exciting looking slides for which one's height had to reach a particular line on the wall in order to qualify to ride. Nine (at that time Five) missed the mark by fractions of an inch. I told her that I would vouch for her and that, in her parent's opinions, she could feel free to go.
Rather than break the official rule, even with her parent's permission, she looked longingly at the slides the rest of the day.
So, ever since I can remember, on Christmas Nine has come into our room, possibly forgetting the fact that the tree downstairs has been, most likely, accosted with present and stockings stuffed with chocolates and other assorted goodies, but willing to, none-the-less, given our urging to wait a bit before rushing downstairs to open presents while we sleep in.
Seriously. She has waited patiently by our bed, often engrossed in this book or that, until we groggily wake, perhaps even brew a cup of joe, before heading to open her presents. . . Often after 9 a.m.!?!
We got a taste of Christmas future, however, on St. Nick's day the other day.
The kids had left their shoes out on the hearth* (I've always wanted to use that word in real life!!!) before going to bed on December 5th.
The next morning at what seemed like five a.m., I awoke to what sounded like a wrecking ball in Big's room and then a herd of buffalo running down the stairs, and then ripping of paper, and then a loud announcement for all to hear about what he found.
He seriously didn't even wait for us! He just headed down and opened the stash he found in his shoes (a Playmobile figurine was left in each of our shoes. BioMom's sister donated her old Playmobile airport and plane but with no little figurines so St. Nick thought he'd rectify the situation. Big noted that the ones that Nine and BioMom got were "girls" whereas the ones for he and I were "boys", which, indeed they were. I couldn't pass up on the cook Viking dude that was available.).
So that's our boy!
*Saint Nicholas had a reputation for secret gift-giving, such as putting coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him, and thus became the model for Santa Claus,