This is part two of this week's Spin Cycle. You'll find Part one here.
My youngest is in some ways just like her sister. On the other hand, she's completely different. They look alike. No doubt that they're related. And related to me. Husband calls them clones. But some days I think their similarities only run skin deep.
Youngest had a hard start in life. She spent a couple of extra days after her birth in the neonatal ICU. She wasn't early. She had a "blue episode" and doctors quickly discovered she had a serious heart condition. She was over 9 pounds when she was born and she completely dwarfed all the preemies. She had monthly check-ups with the cardiologist and at six months they decided it was time to operate. It wasn't considered emergency surgery but urgent. They waited a whole week once they decided to do it. She was in the hospital for six weeks.
The surgery itself went fine. But they nicked a lymph vessel and she had fluid in her pleural cavity that took almost 5 weeks to resolve itself. I got to learn how to insert a feeding tube when we took her home. Oh joy. She has no lasting side effects except a mild murmur, a scar and the need to take antibiotics before seeing the dentist or getting her ears pierced.
Her sister had open-heart surgery as well, six months after Youngest's. Different kid. Different surgery. Hers was more of let's do this now while it's easy because by the time it's absolutely necessary she'll have a much harder recovery. She was in the hospital for 6 days.
Youngest recovered nicely and was soon a little terror. Once, when she was maybe 2, still wearing a diaper at any rate, she ran into the living room, ripped the diaper off with a wicked grin on her face and ran running from the room in nothing but her birthday suit waving the diaper like a flag. I tried putting them on her backwards in the vain hope that she wouldn't be able to reach the tapes. No luck. Potty training commenced. She's always been a bit of an exhibitionist. After this, it should have come as no surprise when she wanted to take theater classes.
Youngest is extrovert to her sister's introvert. She's always had a ridiculously easy time making friends. For example, she started her freshman year in high school as a transfer student who knew her sister and about three other people in the entire school. By the end of the day she had a best friend. Who she convinced to join her Girl Scout troop and is now getting ready to get an apartment with next year.
She's also flirts as easily as she breathes, though she denies it vehemently. We were once in a McDonald's when she was in 5th grade or so. She saw this boy she knew and went up to talk to him while he was waiting for his parents to order. She did the whole hair flip/giggle thing and the three of us just sat there and watched her shamelessly flirt with this classmate with our mouths hanging open. I have absolutely no idea where she gets this. It certainly isn't from me. She also has this uncanny knack of remaining friends with almost every boy she's dated. So much so that she still hangs out with them or facebooks them regularly. That's another way Eldest and Youngest differ. Eldest is 21 and has never been on a date despite attending both her Junior and Senior proms. Youngest has had 8 "boyfriends".
Like her sister, Youngest went through school in the Gifted and Talented program. And like her sister, we had similar issues. It seemed at times that only one of them at a time was allowed to excel in school. I guess they worked it out between them somehow but it seemed one of them was always in danger of failing a class. Youngest did finally wake up and realize that she had to buckle down in high school. I think it had to do in no small part with her competitive nature. She was always looking for something that she could do better than her sister. Thank goodness she decided that she could graduate with a higher ranking than big sister.
Youngest is, despite being a theater major and an extrovert, reserved about the big things. She keeps them to herself and is much less likely to talk me or Hubby about her concerns. She talks to her sister. Which is surprising when you consider that at times I thought they were going to try and kill each other growing up. They went through a period where they were constantly fighting. Mostly verbally but sometimes more. Now they're good friends.
Youngest is a self-proclaimed nerd. She likes role-playing games, computer games and techie stuff. She waxes poetic about Star Trek and Firefly and Star Gate. She reads fantasy and writes some, too. She works in the UT Athletics IT Department. She won't always do her homework but ask her to write and film a play and she's your girl. If UT had a degree plan that let her take only her theater classes and still graduate, she'd be in heaven. The boring stuff that she has to take to graduate is nothing more than a pain in the ass.
There have been times. Oh my yes, there have been times when I thought she was going to drive me over the bend. Some of them were only last week. Then she'll do something like race to the bedside of a sick friend to cheer them up. When push comes to shove and the stakes are high enough, she always manages to follow through.
She has no ability to save money, is willing to do anything at anytime with her friends and cohorts, and procrastinates like a pro. She regularly keeps her father up all night waiting for her to come home.
Still in all, she's going to be just fine.