My first-- she is so stubborn. Has been since birth. It has to be HER idea. If I push her, she pushes back with all her life. Then she might admit it's actually a good idea and then the next thing she loves it.
When she was born she did not nurse. I tried. I tried everything. I consulted many experts and friends. She just did not nurse. I pumped for 5.5 months and learned not to judge bottlefeeding moms. It turns out she had sensory issues. She toe-walked. She was very loud with her noises. She had to push her feet hard on us when she feel asleep-- and she was a terrible, awful sleeper. She was also very very smart and learned to read near her 3rd birthday. She was doing 2nd grade work by the time she was to enter Kindergarten. I had to fight for her needs, both socially (which were behind) and academically (which were ahead).
When she was 7 she broke her upper arm bone simply by falling down on the grass. The doctor asked if she had a calcium deficiency. I said she drank a lot of milk and ate a balanced diet. Tests showed she was malnourished. Further tests revealed she had Celiac Disease. Once she switched to a gluten-free diet she became stronger, gained weight, lost most of the sensory issues, and blossomed. She's now 12 and doing great. I have kept her back with her same age peers and the social skills are mostly there although she's a bit quirky (like her mama).
My second-- total rule-follower. I have had to be careful to take advantage of her willingness to help. If I ask her to clean her room she will organize her socks by color and tuck the corners into her bed. I have to teach her to speak up for herself and her needs at school.
My second was born with a mystery illness that affected our family for several years. It involved being treated like a crazy mom by the medical community, a feeding tube that my daughter lived with and depended on for many years, daily vomiting and suffering, endless doctors and tests. Finally at age 3 a new doctor did a specific test and she had a diagnosis and a treatment plan. She got better and finally she was able to live her life the way it was meant to be lived. I sometimes wonder if her rule-following came about because she had to do things that were scary and uncomfortable and she didn't have a say in it. She had to learn to eat all over again at the age of 3 and it was scary. I had to put a plate in front of her and tell her she had to eat it all. Went against what I knew to be right, but she had to learn to eat in order to survive.
She's now 9. Ten percent of kids with her disease go into remission or are cured. She was one of them. She has a scar in her belly where her feeding tube once was. She's thin but healthy, doing great.
I'm so glad those days are behind us. But because of her struggles, I decided to go into nursing. I'm now a peds nurse who works with very medically complex children. It's a secret and scary world that parents never imagine they will be in when they are expecting that child. I try to be there for the parents and let them know I believe them. And I see that all kids-- no matter how many tubes and wires they have attached-- are valuable and deserve love, not stares.