Monday, June 06, 2005

not the new kid anymore

Last night, we were at a barbecue with a number of other kids, including my niece (I'll call her the Butterfly). The Butterfly is about to turn two, and she thinks that the Bumblebee is cooler than ice cream. The hosts of this party had set up a sprinkler in the back yard, and all of the kids were running around in their bathing suits (and in some cases, their swim diapers), but the Bumblebee and the Butterfly were the most active participants. They were taking turns putting their heads directly on top of the sprinkler, so that their hair would get totally wet. The other kids at the party (who were all boys) didn't seem to find this nearly as enjoyable--maybe with a boy's short haircut, you don't get that sticky, back of the neck feeling that a girl with long hair gets.

After the sprinkler was shut off, and various salads and grilled meat products were eaten, the kids went inside the house to play with toys. The Bee was acting somewhat out of sorts, and I realized that, for possibly the first time, she was at a party with a lot of other little kids, but no one her own age or older to play with. She was frumping around, and someone else commented on how hard it must be, to have been the center of attention for nearly four years, and then to have to get used to sharing the spotlight. When the Sweet Potato was first born, he drew some of the focus away, of course, but then he didn't do much for a year or two to attract attention. But now that he is almost two himself, he can draw quite a crowd when he wants to.

Most of the time, the age difference between our kids is pretty striking. Four years' difference, at this age, is enormous. He's just learning to talk, and she's already reading and writing. In many ways, I can see that he is frustrated by the huge competency gap between them. At almost everything he wants to do, the Bee is just fundamentally better than him, because she has such an age advantage.

It's interesting to me, how much they have in common, given these age differences. They both love books, and reading, and (as I've posted before), the Bee will even agree to reading to him at times. They both love to draw and color, although his efforts are still very much on keeping the crayon on one sheet of paper--forget coloring within the lines! And I wonder, how much of it has to do with who they are as people, and how much of it is him wanting to be like her, wanting to be like the 'big kid' that he spends more time with than any other?

• Posted By landismom @ 6/06/2005 01:42:00 PM
  2. My daughter is the Bumblebee. My son is the Sweet Potato. You'll have to ask their father.

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