One is painstakingly, sometimes irritatingly, tidy.
The other seems to take great pains to be otherwise.
One little girl, I kid you not, could eat tomato soup while riding atop the swaying back of a camel. While wearing a white dress and using a spork as her utensil. And not get a single drop on her. Not one. It's true. (Untested, but true.)
The other one finds a way to make a plain piece of white bread into a laundry nightmare. I don't know how she does it. I don't. But she manages it. Quite well.
I've never worried about my tidy one. Sure, give her a chocolate ice cream cone, I'm not worried about her white shirt. Absolutely, she can have that big glass of cherry Kool-Aid, her Easter dress is in no danger. Let her eat the spaghetti; I do not fear the clean up.
My other darling, on the other hand, my not so neat one? It's her meal time antics that keep my worries honed to a point. I know everyone has a messy eater. In a family with more than one kiddo, you gotta figure you'll have at least one. And the funny part is that I don't think she's trying to be deliberately sloppy about the process.
Our untidy one also happens to be our non-eater. In the past, food held little interest for her, being as it was just a forced break between all the fun she had been having before being called to the table. "Do I HAVE to?" she'd mournfully ask.
"You do," was our non-negotiable reply.
Shoulders slumped, she'd make her way to her chair. And sit. And sorta eat. Pick. Pick. Pick. Pick.
"Not so fast, lady." Rearranging food on a plate is not the same as consuming any amount of it.
She's finally reconciled herself to the fact that meal times are a reoccurring event which she must endure. She sits. She eats. But I often wonder if those earlier years of disinterest fostered a sense of Devil May Care-ness about the entire process.
Hair. Shirt. Pants. Socks (yes, even socks). These can be used as napkins. Under our watchful eye, not so much; but when our backs are turned, oh, it happens. I see the evidence every time I do laundry.
"How did you get yogurt on your sock?" I ask her.
"You're so silly, mom!" she laughingly replies. As if that explains it all.
"Use your napkin today, hon. Please?"
"OK. I will mother. No worries."
Yeah, the thing about that is I'll still find whatever she's eating all over her clothes. Inevitably. All over. Napkins or no.
She just manages it.
And then laughingly says, "Mom, aren't I just something?"
Yes. You are, sweet one. You certainly are.
Maybe one day my neat eater's habits will rub off on her. Until then, I'll take her messiness and love it as part of her unique self.
She certainly is something, after all.