They are all sweet.
They are all strong willed.
They are all silly.
They are all funny.
They are smart.
They are all healthy, happy kids.
But as much as they are the same, they are so different too.
It never ceases to amaze me how three girls, growing up in the same house with the same parents, can be so different. Their likes, their dislikes, their eating habits, their health history, their interests - it's incredible.
I knew they would each be unique and different in their own way. But what surprises me the most, and something that I didn't know before I became a parent, is how differently each child needs to be disciplined.
For example, Maddie is extremely sensitive. She will give herself up when she does something wrong. She is so hard on herself that we have to be careful about what we say to her. She will get spoken to when she misbehaves, but needs to be done so in a gentle way because she takes everything to heart and is so hard on herself. She sometimes needs a time out. Her initial reaction is to getting in trouble or doing something wrong is to cry hysterically, so the time out is more for her to get herself together rather than for disciplinary reasons. After an incident, it takes her a long time to move on and get past it. Maddie's worst punishment is to lose things - an event, her American Girl doll, etc.
Lily, on the other hand, does not respond to a gentle reprimand. She needs more of a stern talking to and a time out in order to stop an undesired behavior. She will sit in time out and yell and scream, adding more and more minutes to her time, and then it all clicks for her and she calms herself down. The minute time out is over, she moves on. Lily doesn't feel strongly enough about any particular "thing" the way Maddie does. So Lily may not lose something, instead she will go to time out.
I don't know how Annie will respond yet. She is too little to know. But I'm sure we will have to tailor our discipline to meet her needs as we have with the other two.
I love that these three girls are complete individuals with their own personalities. I hope that throughout their life, even though they are sisters, the people they come into contact with are always able to learn their differences and understand what makes them each truly unique.