I read (well, some parts I skimmed) through The Temperament God Gave Your Kids.
I've known that I myself am a Melancholic, which means I'm the sensitive, serious type that likes quiet, space and solitude. I'm introverted and reflective. I tend to think things through before I answer or act and I love rules and order. I'm very concerned with what is true and often look at the bigger picture. I can sometimes loose sight of the trees for the forest, so to speak, and struggle with flexibility. I can be hard on myself and others because I usually have the ideal in mind and, shocker, life falls short of the ideal. Think Eeyore.
I've long suspected Felicity of being another Melancholic. She is very artistic and has a simply amazing imagination. Coloring is her favorite part of school and she makes up her own songs and games. Yesterday she told me I need to teach her how to drive today because she is going to Texas in 2 days and needs to drive so she can fit her backpack. She plans to stay 3 days and then come home arriving home at 2pm. She is very introverted, and fairly quiet. She will still hide behind me when she meets someone new until she gets acclimated and she insists she is taking said trip to Texas by herself. She can take some wounds very deeply and seriously and she loves to clean up without my asking. She always wants to spend time with me, and just me and she can be a bit of a perfectionist.
I had previously been unsure of the other girls, but I think this book helped me sort them out.
Cecilia is a sanguine. She is an enthusiastic learner and eager to try more things than I could sign her up for. She is very talkative and loves attention. Even if it isn't her birthday party, she will play the Vanna White displaying the gifts for the guests to see. She is emotional, social, and playful. When she was little I had nicknamed her Tigger and she is the ultimate play mate. She can play with anyone, any age. She is also very distractible. I told her about her temperament and tendency to be distractible. During school she was taking forever to get 2 pages of math done. When I asked her to do her work for about the 12th time she said, "But, mom, I'm distractible. Don't you love me the way God made me?" LOL. Sigh. Yes, James calls her a "Delay Fish" - which is a "Finding Nemo" reference, but she can procrastinate. And, understanding better her temperament, I can be even more thankful she has siblings. I remember when she was little how much she would exhaust me demanding attention. As an introverted melancholic I just couldn't keep up and didn't understand it. Even though Felicity was perfectly happy to play quietly by herself, I more than encouraged the two to play together when they were little so Cecilia didn't want me to play with her constantly.
I'm pretty sure Teresa is another sanguine. She is very social, babbling paragraphs to total strangers. She bugs me throughout school daily for attention. She is very emotional and changeable bouncing from hysterical laughter to uncontrolled sobbing. She is always very playful, a quick and eager learner and very curious. Her cleverness, curiosity and daring personality are how she gets into such trouble so frequently. She can be very charming with her smiles and her mannerisms; it is impossible to stay mad at her. She is very bouncy with relentless energy. Add that to the fact she is in the 80th and 94th percentile for height and weight and you can understand why she is a handful. I can take the other 4 kids out by myself with no problem but add Teresa and I have to plan more carefully. I always make sure I have some way to buckle her into a stroller if I need to, for her safety and/or my sanity.
Believe it or not, I think Brigid may be another melancholic. She is quiet but very attached to me, exhibiting separation anxiety by 6 months. She doesn't like a lot of stimulation and generally plays well by herself. In behavior and temperament she has reminded me of Felicity since she was born.
That puts the kids at 2 melancholics and 2 sanguines. Where does Elizabeth fit? In neither.
Elizabeth is a phlegmatic. She is easygoing, agreeable, sweet as can be, and fairly quiet. She follows directions for the most part and shares well. She tends to be placid and non-confrontative. She can also be a procrastinator and very passive. Yesterday morning she was playing with maracas. Teresa wanted one. So Elizabeth gave her one. Then Teresa wanted both. I tried to tell Teresa that it was nice Elizabeth gave her one but she couldn't have both. But Elizabeth said it was no problem, gave Teresa the second maraca and got herself a harmonica. Of course then Teresa wanted the harmonica. By then I was ready to let Teresa throw a fit if Elizabeth didn't want to give her what she wanted but Elizabeth gave it to her and was happy to have back the maracas. When I am doing school with Cecilia and Felicity and tell Elizabeth and Teresa to go to the playroom, Elizabeth just goes. Teresa not so much. The book gives a warning with phlegmatic children - they can be easily overlooked. That caught my attention as well because whenever a new baby comes around, I try to be very conscious how each child responds and that each child has attention and affection and last Spring Elizabeth was the one I was afraid wasn't getting enough one-on-one time.
It was a very interesting book and I intend to mull it over more. The book includes notes on how their temperaments can effect their education, why they might act the way they do and things to keep in mind for their sanctification as well as my own. Of course a temperament is a general thing. These are not absolutes but general demeanors, and should be remembered as such. Still, as a mother to five children, I found it very insightful.