Photo: I get asked a lot of the boys are twins. They clearly look like brothers, but twins? Come on… I love looking at them just like this, with their heads together, looking over something or creating something. The gaps between their relative skills and abilities seem to become less and less to me, but there are huge differences between 3 and 4, and I noticed a huge one yesterday.
I took the boys to the park yesterday because we needed some fresh air and they needed to get their ya-yas out. Go climb, go slide, go be!
Major has really taken to our local playground, and when he gets in the car to go, he declares that he’s going to “make a friend” and play nicely. That “make a friend” thing is a pretty key detail, because Major really does step on to the playground seeking someone to actively play with. That’s huge! That’s something that is pretty new and exciting. Especially because The Husband and I are introverts. We’ve never walked into a room and been like, “today’s the day. Today’s the day I’m makin’ a friend!” I am so pumped that we’ve made a little extrovert!
Unfortunately, it means that Minor, who is an introvert, is often left behind.
Not for lack of trying, or even for lack of inclusion, but he just is. His little legs just can’t keep up with the big boys running at full tilt, he’s not strong enough to play on whatever structure is being romped upon… he hasn’t developed this gross motor skill or another… whatever. Twice I saw Minor stop and watch the tribe of four boys that Major was running with sprint off to the other side of the playground. He didn’t cry, but you could see that look on his face.
So he comes to me to drink some water, whines about being too hot… but I know it’s just that he’s sincerely sad to be left behind.
And really, as I discussed this with my husband last night, I came to realize that there is nothing much that I can do about this. They are 15 months apart in age and, playing together, that doesn’t matter that much, but when they are in groups you can see it. Major will always be older and one step ahead. It’ll catch up eventually but… right now, when there is a gap, that gap is pretty huge.
So I didn’t order Major to mind his brother the way that my mom would have instructed me to do back in the day. I didn’t want to discourage him from the social connections that he was making. This is clearly what his brain is working on right now: reaching out to peers, feeling confidence in his own skin, learning social cues and what to do about them… I want all of that to progress organically and with absolutely minimal intervention on my part (of course, when it gets violent or mean, I step in!). I’ve been really cognizant lately about the fact that Major didn’t really get a lot of time in his life without a little brother. He had the share this world pretty early, and it’s really not terribly fair to him. I want to make sure that I honor his need to experience this life without the tag-along, especially because they are going to be in the same class at school this year. Truth be told, I’m really worried about what’s going to happen. This will either strengthen their relationship, or it will really strain it.
My prayer for the school year is that Minor figures out how to make his own friends. His toddler class was really small last year, and I thought he made a friend or two, but no playdates have ever come of it. I’d love for him to come into his own, to seek some friends who aren’t his brother. They can run in the same circles (they probably will) but I hope that Minor will be able to stake out space in his social life for some other kid. You know? Major deserves the opportunity to explore the world without his brother, and Minor needs the opportunity to explore the world without the comfort of knowing that big brother is there with him. Different needs, both of them extremely important. I suspect, though, that it will be Minor who drives how this goes. He’ll either remain firmly attached or he’ll be cool… I guess we’ll have to see.
And hey, maybe he’ll figure it out for himself 15 months from now. This just isn’t what Minor is working on right now. I hope he gets with it soon, though, so I can get some simultaneous playdates goin’! This mama needs a break!
I’m very happy to say that no random objects have been placed in my fridge since Monday. Hopefully that means that my personal mental meltdown is slowing, if not stopping all together. 😉 My Facebook feed is full of first-day-of-school photos and I’m so damn jealous!
Soon. So soon!
I can’t even believe that it’s Wednesday, Dear Reader. I’m not even going to lie to myself and say that the “week is almost over.” No no… there is still a lot to be done before I’ll feel satisfied.
How about you, Dear Reader? Stay focused. See you Friday.