I believe one of the most jarring things about having a second (or third or fourth, I would imagine) is that you have most definitely NOT produced a 2.0 version of your first child, which is maybe kind of what I had envisioned during my pregnancy with Charlie. "Oh, he will be just like Ella...he will be calm and quiet and loving and light years ahead of other kids his age when it comes to talking and other smart-stuff." And now? Now, all I can say is HA. I was tempting the universe to show me just how wrong I was, now that I think about it. Not that Charlie is not loving, he is...EXTREMELY SO. In fact the one word that comes to mind when I think of him is EXTREME. As in, "I love you SO MUCH I AM GOING TO BANG MY HEAD INTO YOUR CHEST. HARD. RAAAARRR." He loves fiercely, he does not just give hugs and kisses, he runs smack into me at a force so great that sometimes I fall backward onto the floor while he is sliming/biting my chin instead of kissing me. He loves me so much that he has progressively gotten worse about me leaving him alone for even two seconds to, God forbid, pee or put the laundry into the dryer. Those that know him can tell you that "Calm" and "Quiet" are not words that would be used to describe Charlie. They don't even make the top 500 adjectives on the list. Hell, they are honestly not even on the list at all. What is on the list? Demanding, Screaming, Tantrum-Prone. Those just about cover it. I am coming around to the belief that "this", this extremely extreme child's screaming fits and demands, are not so much the product of my parenting as they are just...him. I am also beginning to see how this person has been put into my life for a purpose greater than being cute and funny and charming (when he wants to be all of those things). Through him I am, against all odds, becoming EXTREMELY patient. And those who know ME can tell you that "patient" is not the first word they would have used to describe me a year ago. I didn't really have to be with Ella. She made silly toddler mistakes and had the odd tantrum, sure, but on a daily basis she was (and is still) pretty agreeable and sweet and kind and mellow. So I have essentially gone from one extreme to the other here. A year ago: NO patience required. Now: Patience required every thirty seconds to deal with Charlie. Come to think of it, I may hang a sign around his neck that says just that: Patience Required. The ironic thing about this whole rant about Charlie's screamy screaming? HE ONLY BEHAVES THIS WAY WITH ME. I leave him with the husband, and I get phone calls to report how FUN and FUNNY and LAID BACK Charlie is. Charlie stays overnight at my mom's house, and aside from one or two small-ish meltdowns, I get nothing but "Oh, he is so FUN! We had so much FUN!". So, yeah. What I really want to say is "Good for you ALL, that he is so fun for you to be around. He screams at me if I walk three feet away to turn the TV off. Go to hell." But I don't. Instead I take a deep breath and try to remember that this will pass (Oh, please tell me this will pass, as the thought of him still doing this at the age of eight is making me want to stab myself in the eye.) and that through all of his Charlie-ness I am learning patience. And while his tantrums and temper my be epic, so are his heart and his hugs. And his smile. His smile is extreme.