I'm reading "The Birth Order Book" by Kevin Leman with my MOPS group. I haven't finished it, yet, so I'm not going to review it now. But it has caused me to pay closer attention to the developing personalities of my boys, and watch how they mesh with their parents' characteristics.

As described by this book, Patriot is a classic first born. He always has a plan and a schedule, and gets very bothered when things don't go the "right" way. I can identify this in him because I could also be describing myself (I'm also a first born). You can imagine the struggles between us at times. His preschool teacher has noticed perfectionist tendencies, especially when it comes to cutting and writing (she says it takes him forever to write his name). I've been helping him develop the positives in these characteristics by teaching him how to tell time, showing him how recipes work, asking him to help determine the dog's routine, etc. He really seems to flourish in tasks that require precision and routine.

Azlan, however, is the baby of the family. I call him my jokester because he's always thinking up a joke or a prank. The other day he hid the angel from our nativity and replaced it with a monkey figurine. Then he walked around the house "looking" for the angel: Is she in the Christmas tree? Is she under the couch? He played it well -- I really wasn't sure if he was joking or serious. After I gave up looking, he "found" the angel and laughed and laughed. I fear this is going to become a problem in the future (pretty sure I will be the butt of too many of his jokes), but for now his easy-going, light-hearted personality is such a breath of fresh air for me. The difficult parenting piece for me is developing the positives of this personality, since its so different from mine. For now, my focus is giving him enough free time in his routine and wiggle room with the rules (i.e.: not punishing him for messing with the nativity) to allow his creativity to bloom. And helping him realize appropriate times to joke. For a 3-year-old, I think that's enough.

I'm having a ton of fun with this stage of parenting and can't wait to see how God will use these characteristics.
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