Two very different incidents over the weekend have got me marvelling about how truly different my children are from each other. Little did I know, when I rashly exclaimed at number two's birth "My goodness, you're your sister", how wrong I would be proved. The physical changes became gradually apparent; after the shock of jet black hair they shared at birth had faded, DD1's colouring turned to my dirty blonde, whilst her younger sister stayed stubbornly brunette.
Physical differences are of course less interesting to me than their differences in character. In many ways this too became obvious when they were still tiny. Problems with reflux meant DD1's first few months were emotionally fraught and physically exhausted while her sister ate and slept well almost immediately, and it seemed reflected in their general temperament.
We popped to the shops on Saturday to pick up a few bits and pieces, and the familiar cry of "mummy, I need a wee" was soon heard. I looked around and mumbled something about trying to remember where the toilets were. When I looked back, number 2 had disappeared. I headed towards the toilets with DD1, only to find DD2 purposefully striding towards the back of the store already. "It's ok, mummy", she said, "the toilets are over there - I asked a man". It truly amazed (and worried) me to see her confidence at age four - I barely dare ask strangers for directions at *cough* years older! Needless to say, even at two years older, it's not something her sister would ever consider either, which I must confess saddens me a little - I'd love to give her a bit of a confidence injection sometimes.
Yet an incident on Sunday reminded me that she has her own positive attributes where her sister may perhaps be "lacking". We went for a lovely bike ride with some friends along a canal. All was going well, when, around an hour in, DD1 slipped when pushing her bike up a hill, and fell. Her friend behind her struggled to stop, and ran over her arm at the elbow. From the initial cries we could tell something was not right, and my husband hurried back to fetch the car to the nearest point (thankfully close). From that point, through to being diagnosed as having a broken arm, having had it x-rayed three times and cast twice until we were ready to go home around 6 hours after the incident had happened, she was incredibly calm and uncomplaining, and her bravery really impressed me. It's probable that her younger sister would have howled and complained through the entire process.
I suppose it will never cease to amaze me how the same set of genes mixed slightly differently can result in such different little personalities, and seeing that mix develop and grow truly has to be one of the most fun aspects of parenting.