It's hard not to compare kids whatever sort of parent you are. Dinosaur is my bold waterslide champion. Rhinoceros says NOPE to even mild splash pads. Who is friendlier, who is crazier, who is bossier, etc. Foster parents have the same tendency, but maybe even more so as we start to build up quite a repertoire of experiences for particular age ranges. And possibly even more so because we don't always see kids grow out of stages and have no choice but to get an impression of them as they are here and now. We also are trying to figure out what is age-appropriate behavior and what might be an impact of trauma, so that's always in the back of my mind as I think of all the kids I've had in the infant stage, or all the kids I've had in the toddler stage.
So, now with my second foster toddler and fourth toddler overall, my mind is constantly running a compare/contrast train of thought. As I wrote before, [url=http://myfamilyfornow.blogspot.com/2015/07/nests.html]Cricket and Crocodile both make nests.[/url] They are both very advanced in gross motor skills and do some things independently that my bio kids certainly did not at that age. They both fiddle around quite a bit as they fall asleep and can't stop moving, though Cricket much more so. They cling to me more than B. They're very possessive of toys, though Cricket also had possessiveness over food, and Crocodile doesn't as much.
A major difference has been reactions to people being in their close personal space. Cricket would often lash out when Dinosaur or Rhinoceros just walked closely by her, exploding in rage in a way that you know had to be instinctive, not choice. We worked a lot on saying "1... 2.. 3... please give me some space." But it usually came out 123GIVEMESOMESPACE! Which I still count as progress. This created quite a bit of conflict, as Dinosaur's greatest interpersonal weakness is... invading others' personal space.
But Crocodile? He eats it up. He wants wrestled with, pounced on, surprised, hugged. The other boys are loving it, until he's lying on someone's face.
Then sometimes I compare and assume and need to check myself. Crocodile had several shots at a doctor's appointment, and his last shots were long enough ago that he had no clue what was going on. As I made dinner, he started whining over and over to pick him up. I did briefly as much as I could, but part of me stiffened in fear. I spent months picking up Cricket, probably more than 30 times in a day sometimes. She needed cradled like a baby, and I provided that with some limits. But even with limits it was exhausting. I wondered if the shots traumatized him so much that now we'd be on the same road. I want to say I was ready to give of myself to another child, but I was not feeling so giving. So, I patiently picked him up, but I'm sure my face and tone of voice revealed a bit of strain.
The whining turned to low volume crying that persisted longer than usual for him, so finally I asked if he hurt, and he said yes and pointed to his legs. I gave him Tylenol, and sure enough that ended the requests for being picked up. Poor kids' legs just felt too sore to stand, but he couldn't figure out he should just sit or lie down because he likes being on the move! So, that's not to say that he didn't also want some comfort, but I do need to keep an open mind always for each unique individual little one that comes to our home.