As I stand looking at Rosie sprawling on a couch, all curled up in a fleece blanket, watching TV-
but DOING HER HOMEWORK, I think that her being a second child is behind a lot of her good habits.
How so, you say? Second children don't usually have a lot of good habits. Well, I don't know if that's true or not, but I'll tell you what I've observed about Rose.
Way back when, we were working on potty training Abe. He was around 5 and because of the (then undiagnosed) PDD and ADHD, the boy was just fine with pooping in his pants. Rosie wasn't ready to potty train but she saw the tumult going on. (We had to take Abe to a special hospital-based psychological program for him to stay clean.) I think that she just made up her mind that none of that stress was going to happen to her!
A little while later, when it was time for Rose to transition up to the pre-school and out of diapers, she did. She just did it. Period, (almost) end of story. Of course, there were some "accidents", but in general, it was over. She had to have been thinking "I saw the tumult with Abe and heck no, I'm not going through that".
Fast forward to the homework years. There were lots of screaming and crying about homework issues with Abe. It certainly is tied up in the behavior issues til this day, but there were definitely some learning issues there too. But Mom and Dad wanted desperately for him to be able to learn- and so did Abe, but never in the same way. But Rosie looked at all us fighting over school work done at home and said to herself "No way. I'm just going to sit myself down and do that homework."
Now she's a teen. And Rosie has her own style of doing homework. It's one that I really don't agree with, but it gets the job done (mostly), so I don't complain too much. We could talk about her (lack of) advance planning of longer projects, but that's a rant for another day- after we have parent-teacher conferences in a few weeks!