My two daughters couldn’t be much more different.
If one didn’t look like the double of her dad and the other a mini me,
I would doubt they were related.
In musical terms if Charlotte, aged three, is a bit of chilled-out
folk, Katherine, 18 months, is more heavy metal.
As a baby Charlotte would always be on the losing end of toddler toy tussles.
Meanwhile Katherine can hijack a car from a boy twice her size.
Charlotte would never stray from my side, whereas if the door is ajar
Katherine is off down the street and doesn’t look back.
I’ve read this is often the case with a second child, growing up in
the shadow of the older sibling, having to compete with a rival for
affections and toys from birth.
But in Katherine’s case it’s different, I’m told it’s because she’s ginger.
“She’s got a temper hasn’t she,” the nursery staff tell me. “It must
be the red hair. She’s not like her sister is she? It’s like chalk and
She’s only 18 month and the ginger stereotyping has started already.
I am convinced if her curls were a mousy blond like her sister’s she
wouldn’t have gained quite such a fearless reputation.
From before they were born debate raged whether their dad had the
“ginger gene”. Just in case you’re not up to speed on hair colour
genetics, for a child to have red hair both parents must have the
gene. You can still carry the gene even if no one in your family is a
The first thing the midwife said on Charlotte’s birth by emergency
section was not “don’t worry everything’s fine”, or “it’s girl”, it
was “oh she’s got red hair like her mum” – once she was cleaned-up it
was actually fair.
Nevertheless, as her sparse locks grew discussions continued:  “Ooh
there’s a definite hint of red in this light…”
When they finally admitted defeat, Katherine came along and similar
arguments ensued until in her case they were actually proved right.
I dispute the hair-temper link. My mum tells me I was the perfect
baby. Judging by the size of me from photos I reckon it was because
she fed me chocolate biscuits constantly.
However, as I am writing this Katherine has just launched herself at
her sister, commandeered her favourite toy and is running off with
what is definitely a devilish glint in her eye, while Charlotte has
collapsed in tears of woe.  Maybe there’s some truth behind the
stereotype after all.


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