Monday, September 14, 2009


I know these kids of mine are quite young, and it's probably a bad idea to forecast any particular future for them based on their current interests and quirks, but there are a few things that have been relatively consistent in each child that looks like it is probably something about them rather than their particular age or passing fancy.

Like Smootch's desire to poke, prod, and squish any avaliable living creature. She's got a bit of science geek, particularly natural sciences, in her that becomes really obvious when she calmly studies the spider she finds running across her hand rather than doing the shrieking hyper speed running man that other little kids do (and quite a few adults too). Beetles, crabs, worms; she has no idea these are supposed to be icky. Her curiosity has always outdone any attempted socialization (read: censorship) about particular aspects of life. Like when she presented her auntie with an anatomically enthusiastic (if not, in fact, correct) cutaway view of her mother's uterus. Or talk about anus' and what are they good for, really?

Sometimes all we can do is to make sure she washes her hands frequently.

I think animals can sense the curious objectivity in her, the desire to know about what makes them tick rather than seeing them as cutsie critters to love and pamper. Smootch likes animals, and seems to have a developing sense of empathy for them, but cats and dogs really do not like Smootch much in return. They must know that Smootch finds a dead cat more interesting than a live one.

Birdie Boy, however, loves animals for their soft fur and sloppy kisses, especially dogs. The sight of our cats always brings out this huge, crinkly eye smile, and a joyous, "Kitty!" He also talks to birds and can imitate crows and seagulls. If there is a bird around, Birdie will be off trying to get a hug.

Another thing Birdie does well is rhythm. He loves singing along with the radio (which is fun, considering most of his speech is a long string of vowel sounds), beating drums, or getting rhythm anyway he can, even if it's just splashing in the water.
Birdie is always listening.

For entertainment on our long car trips, Birdie has begun to teach himself the harmonica. Really. We have a couple of harmonicas that we sometimes play with. Birdie began by just trying to make a sound (which is tough to do when you're only 16 months old but he was quite determined) and has slowly been developing his repetoire. Right now he's playing two note melodies - with one low note and one high note, alternately played in a simple rhythm.

Birdie is very physical. He will never look at something - it will always be in his hands before he can visually identify it. Unfamilar books are for throwing (books that he has heard us read to Smootch many times he will tolerate, but as long as they have a punch line with a tickle or a roar somewhere in them). If Birdie was my first born, I would chalk it up to him being a toddler, but Smootch was so very different. She watches and learns. Listens and follows instructions. She focuses on my words and will not move a muscle while she absorbs new information. Birdie thinks that my mouth opening and closing while giving him instructions is only about having something to put his fingers into. He kicks, hits, and squirms because he has to move. I pity anyone who gets in his way.

I know many people believe that the differences in my kids is about their sex or birth order. Maybe somethings, I concede, but not all. In the end, though, it really doesn't matter. They are here, now, and I am in a prime position to enjoy their pecularities and innate talents and never have to worry about what all the other girls and boys or first and second borns are doing because it's really not helpful right now. I'm just going to watch my kids and encourage them to follow their passions and challenge them a bit to strengthen their weaknesses.

Knowing these things about my kids is one reason we are pursuing the homeschooling. Smootch's method of knowing about the world is so much different than what we've seen of Birdies'. I can't even imagine them trying to learning from one teacher using one method. Each kid has their way of learning and tolerance for frustration (Birdie: pretty good, Smootch: none at all). It's going to be such an adventure!

1 comment:

Veronica Cummings said...

I am so excited that you posted something about the differences in children. I have found recently that some parents take a "cookie cutter" approach to raising children. I have 5 children and they are all different. My science child is into space. Kudos for you for noticing the differences in your children and for wanting to foster those differences.I can't wait to hear more about your trip.