Some, like the Bible for instance, say that God works in mysterious ways. I say God’s got some jokes. Our first-born seemed relatively easy. He’s a solid kid that stays out of trouble. He’s smart and teachable. He has an obvious listening skill deficiency, but in the process of discussing child-rearing with other parents of kids his age it seems that’s a common issue. Who really listens to their parents anyway?

Then, there’s our second child. Sure, he’s probably cuter than our first (although we as parents aren’t supposed to admit that). He has a laugh that will melt your heart and a smile that will brighten the night sky. However, behind those puppy dog eyes and innocent grin is a conniving, scheming, puppet master of T-R-O-U-B-L-E. I jest… I think.

I literally cannot say with certainty that if our second-born was our first-born that we would have more than one child. Barring a surprise bonus baby, the conversation on having the second would have been much longer if nothing else. Luckily for us, it worked out the way it did.

Disclaimer: In no way am I intending to state that I am disappointed in him, that I don’t love him, that he is destined for failure or life imprisonment, or any other negative connotation of the above text one might surmise.

Our second child is… different. Just like I am different than my younger sister. The real point of this post is not to bag on my second-born. Rather, it’s more of an awakening to my own parenting skills. We got lazy… complacent. The well-mannered spirit of our first-born made us arrogant. Look honey, our parenting skills are stellar. See how well he behaves – let’s make another and show the world how awesome we are as parents. Yes, let’s do that.

And with that, God delivers his greatest punchline. The joke wasn’t on us, it was us. The same methods that we used on the first, don’t seem to work so well on the second. The second watches our first like a hawk and has picked up on mischievous activities much sooner. Because of our second, I’ve learned how to pick locks with credit cards, screwdrivers and various other tools that shall remain nameless. He has inconvenienced my trip to take out the trash to the alley dumpster by requiring the addition of padlocks on the back gate at the behest of his curiously wandering legs. He is on the brink of necessitating 24/7 surveillance. Yet, I wouldn’t want it any other way.

My point is not to discourage you from further populating your household; nay, I actually encourage it. We definitely need to try to maintain our reproduction rate at 2.5 children (if that is still the figure). My point is that every child has value as themselves… period… without the need to be compared to another.

They both frustrate us in different ways. They both make us mad at things they do individually. They both make us worry. They both make us laugh. They both make us smile. They both surprise us with the things they learn at the pace they learn them.

One thing that they will always have in common is that regardless of what life hurls in their direction, I will always be proud to be called their “Daddy”.