After the birth of my second daughter, I have often wondered about nature vs. nurture in how she behaves and how her personality has emerged. When I talk about things that are by nature, it is things that a person is born inheriting. Nurture is related to their environment or learned behavior.
My second daughter is what anyone would describe as having a “chill” disposition and demeanor. She rarely cries unless she is hungry or tired. As soon as her needs are met, she is happy again. She is known as my smiley baby because anytime anyone gives her attention, she smiles back and is genuinely happy.
My older daughter was not as much of a happy baby, and she definitely cried more often. We had to bounce her using an exercise ball during her early weeks of life to get her to fall asleep. She is very emotional and wants attention from those she is familiar with all of the time. However, she was the only grandchild on both sides at first and was doted on by her aunt and uncle heavily. Her needs were always immediately met, whether by myself, my husband, her nanny, or extended family.
With my second daughter, we are not always there to respond to her cries immediately because we are often assisting our older daughter. But this begs the question: in the five months that my second daughter has been here, is she naturally calm and easygoing because that is her personality, or is it because she has assumed this role as the second child in the family? Is it because she has already learned that we cannot be there all the time, and sometimes she needs to self-soothe until we can respond?
When a family decides to have a child, that first child born into the family completely changes that family’s dynamic. Still, when that same family has more children, those children enter into an already existing family dynamic with a child who drastically changed it.
That subsequent child generally learns their role in the family, but how early do they learn it? Is five months too early to learn it, or do they learn it right from birth? Or is their personality already established based on genetics? Perhaps it is a combination of both, which would make the most sense.