At 4 years old, Emma can get herself dressed in the morning. She eats with utensils and drinks from a cup. She doesn’t need a high chair when we go out. She can be bribed, but more importantly, she can be reasoned with. She understands basic logic. If she cries, it’s for a reason she can explain.
At 1 year old, Charlotte doesn’t have strong opinions and goes with the flow. She’s generally content in a stroller or sitting in a cart at the store. She naps without a fuss and doesn’t stall at bathtime. She’s not walking and can still be contained. She eats most of what you put in front of her, and wears whatever you choose.
She’s “easy” too.
A couple weeks ago we went to Ikea because I needed a new desk. Perhaps this wasn’t the best errand to tackle as a family — partly because it’s not really an errand in the first place. Can you call something an errand when it takes 45 minutes to drive there and you spend multiple hours snaking your way through the store? I don’t think so.
It was a successful trip, but Emma was pretty crazy. She wanted to sit on all the furniture. She asked endless questions about all the things they had on display. She announced all her observations and opinions right when she had them — and in a very loud voice. She cried when we didn’t get ice cream. She talked and talked and talked until my head was spinning.
It was exhausting.
Charlotte, by contrast, sat happily in the cart just watching all the hustle and bustle.
That evening, we went out to dinner at a low-key place, the kind where you order at the counter and they bring your food to the table when it’s ready. We eat at a LOT of that type of place these days because…well, I don’t even know. I guess because the places we want to go with two young kids are always casual, and that’s the way casual restaurants like to organize themselves.
Charlotte writhed against the confines of the high chair, screeching her displeasure loud enough to let everyone in the restaurant know. She alternated eating bites of food and throwing bites on the floor. She dropped her sippy cup over and over because that’s what 1-year-olds do when they want to drive you crazy.
It was exhausting.
Emma, by contrast, sat relatively calmly and ate her quesadilla and fruit.
It’s interesting how my perception of which kid is the “easy” one shifts from day to day — sometimes from hour to hour. Babies are easy, but they’re also so hard. Little kids are hard, but they’re also so easy.
So which one is the easy one?
It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. I don’t think I’ll ever know.