One advantage (among many) of my parents doing this whole foster-parent things is that LP gets to be my guinea pig and save my poor firstborn from lifelong therapy. (At this rate, he might only need therapy for 20 years or so.)
Lately I've had another little guinea pig. Not one of ours; we're babysitting him during the day for another foster family. We'll call him The Quiet One. QO is four and he and LP are like night and day. She's barely mastered sentences and she talks about 5 times as much as he does.
Things I have learned from having these two together:
1. Kids only play together nice when one of them isn't constantly trying to tackle the other one. Poor QO is constantly overwhelmed by LP's unbridled affection.
2. I like quiet kids. Don't get me wrong, I think everything LP utters is The Smartest Thing Ever Spoken by a Human Being, but by noon I'm thinking, "Please, please take a nap and stop talking."
2a. QO would be perfectly happy for most of the day just sitting and playing quietly with a piece of paper or something. Or staring at the wall. He's not picky. Mom's reaction to this is, "Hey, do you want to do anything? Play outside? Watch a movie? Something?" My reaction is, "He's happy and not destroying anything. Leave him alone."
Mom and I have already established that my children are going to think she's a crazy hyperactive old lady. They are going to come back from visits to her house complaining, "Mommy, she made us do things all day long."
2b. Despite doing my best to stack the genetic odds by marrying a fellow introvert, I am going to give birth to a Statistically Improbable Sanguine (I am convinced of this, because God has a sense of humor). And she will make me grow in virtue more than all of my other children combined. Otherwise I will just spend her whole life telling her, "Why can't you be more like your brothers and sisters?" and she will really need therapy when she grows up.
3. Grocery shopping with 2 kids actually isn't that terrible, if you keep the little one strapped down at all times and keep a very sharp eye on the only-slightly-bigger one to make sure he's actually following you and not trailing further and further behind getting lost in thought.