You know, sometimes having four boys, means that its easy to fall into gender generalising, such as ' That'll suit the boys AND its on sale- I'll take four .' or 'Put on Spongebob- they all love that!' Where, our eldest child is instantly different, because she's both the oldest and the only girl, the boys possibly and unfairly have to work a little harder to define themselves. There are broad similarities of course, like a universal love of all things dinosaur, insect or Lego, but they are far more different than they are the same, and sometimes I don't appreciate this as much as I should.
Take the other morning for instance- I was driving Cormac (7) and Rory (5) to school, and we were late. It was already one of those days and it was only six minutes past nine. Jude (10) was at home sick, and Luke (1) was strapped in his car seat- the plan was to drop the two boys off, buy shoes for Luke, a few groceries and then head home to Jude as fast as possible, so I was on the clock. Glancing in my rear view mirror, as we hurtled up the road, I could see that Cormac was far from happy.
'What's up, Mac?' I asked him.
'We're late...again. And that means we have to go in the front door instead of our class door and I don't like being late..' he grumbled.
Rory, sitting beside him looked at him incredulously, ' But Cormac, it's a good thing! It means we have less time working in school! I love being late!' he confided, grinning from ear to ear.
I started laughing, 'That's the way to look at it, Mac! I'll tell you what, blame me!' I said magnanimously. 'Tell Mr N that Jude was sick this morning, and that's why you're late. Easy peasy!'
But Mac refused to be cajoled and I felt myself growing irritated at his disgruntled manner and expression. Could he not see that I was doing my best this morning for goodness sake?
Meanwhile, Rory looked delighted. 'Do you mean,' he chuckled happily, 'that we can actually blame Jude for being late?' Better and better.
Right at that moment, faced with time pressures, chores and responsibilities, it was so much easier to warm to Rory's happy go lucky attitude, than to Cormac's anxious annoyance. But, after finally coaxing a smile from Cormac, and dropping them both off, I reflected on the episode. Their reactions were, of course, completely in keeping with their personalities-Cormac's studious, careful nature and his tendency to worry, made being late difficult for him, but that very same nature made the discipline of homework and piano practice much easier to cope with! Rory's easygoing personality made being late for school a breeze, but his natural untidiness and easy distractibility made homeworks a bit of an upheaval. (and not just for him!)
Two little boys, so similar in many ways, so uniquely different in others. Just as it should be.