September 01, 2009

The Same But Different

People always ask me in regards to my daughters "oh, do you notice different personalities starting to come through?" Starting? Their personalities have been shinging through since birth!
I understand that it's hard for some people to grasp that children born at the same time are not the same. Trust me, I'm not even being sarcastic with that last statement. If you see four little girls who are sisters and all the same age, it can be hard to see them as individuals. But most times my daughters won't let you forget how different they are from one another.
In the NICU the nurses told us preemies can exhibit various signs of communication. My response? Mmmm hmmm. But they were right. The second Tortilla felt she had enough attention and needed a break she would put her hand out in that "talk to the hand" pose. She still does that sometimes when she wants to be left alone. Cakes on the other hand wanted to be picked up the minute anyone walked in the room. She still wants to be on your lap the second you sit down.
All four of my daughters have different likes and dislikes. Roo will eat almost every vegetable you put in front of her, except cucumbers. Sue-Sue, on the other hand, only likes cucumbers. Tortilla can't stand carrots. Cakes eats any and every vegetable known to man. Tortilla loves to dance. Sue-Sue likes to sing. They all like Dora the Explorer but will have tear-filled arguments over which Dora movie to watch.
I think it will be a challenge for some people to ever see my daughters as anything more than "the quads." Even "singletons" face this problem when younger siblings are compared to older siblings. But I think if people take the time to get to know my daughters they'll realize how different these similar sisters really are.


Stephanie B said...

I am 100% with you. I've had the nature vs. nurture discussion where someone's told me personalities are all about environment. I've never had a parent tell me, though, and I don't see how they could. I have three distinctive children, all beautiful, all sweet and good-natured, all mostly happy and not a one of 'em is anything like the others, personality-wise.

When did I notice? When they were born. Oh, the personality distinctions became more obvious as they got older, but that was because of improvements in communication, not "developing" a personality.

I'm not saying environment doesn't affect the final outcome, but I maintain that personality dictates how you respond to that environment rather than being created by it.

I'm appalled at the notion that someone--anyone--would assume your children are all alike because they were born at the same time. They're not toys, they're people and, like snowflakes, there aren't any two identical where it matters most. On the inside.

Quadmama said...

I couldn't have said it better.

MaryAnne said...

Isn't it amazing how much personality children have from birth? All three of mine have had very different personalities from birth - actually, I would argue that aspects of their personalities were apparent long before they were born - Emma had sleep issues (i.e. she never slept much at all, but particularly not at night) before and after birth, for example...

Sadia said...

Mine were even distinctive in utero!

Even those people who understand that they're different think that multiples should be in opposition to each. "Who's the outgoing one?" "Who's the talkative one?"

They're both outgoing, one or the other more so depending on the day. They're just outgoing in completely different ways ... and so on.

Thank goodness for the multiples community out there; it's nice to just be able to talk about the girls without having to actively set the expectation that they are in fact different.

Quadmama said...

Interesting point, Sadia. Many people do recognize the differences in my daughters, but then want to put "labels" on them.

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