Recently a co-worker asked me about my Mom’s grandkids: my son (Buddy – 2.5), my daughter (Kitten – 5), my nephew (Kiddo – 8), and my niece (Little Miss – 2). They all look so different physically (from dark to fair and every type of hair color). She wanted to know if their personalities were as different.
I stumbled for a while, struggling to compare such different personalities. Then I thought of the ledge personality analogy. Picture a ledge; maybe about 3 feet off the ground. If you put all four kids on top of the wall and tell them to jump off, here’s what would likely happen…
Little Miss (2) would jump off first; not because you told her too, but because she’s confidant she can. No one’s going to tell her she’s too little to do something, and if the big kids are going to do it, then she is definitely going to do it. She is smart and she is bold. She is a firecracker.
Kitten (5) will go next. She will see Little Miss jump and the unknown will be removed. She will feel confident taking the calculated risk. Besides, it looks fun. She will do it once slowly and carefully and then not stop doing it for 30 minutes. She will scream for you to watch her the entire time. Kitten is a performer.
Kiddo (8) will be suspicious of the jump. There are things that can go wrong. He will want to try jumping from smaller heights first, building his resolve and working up to the larger height. After each jump he will assess challenge vs reward. If the reward outweighs the challenge he will continue until he eventually jumps off the top of the ledge. He will jump with the others and may even throw in some ‘moves’ after a while. Kiddo is a researcher.
Buddy (2.5)…Buddy will fall off the ledge. He will climb back up and attempt to jump, but he may fall off again. He won’t stop, regardless. He will go again and again, enjoying the climb as much as the decent. He will laugh the whole time. Buddy is a goofball…and a klutz.
They are so different, these kids. And the thing is, they were born this way. Buddy was smiling and laughing well before the books said he would and he hasn’t stopped. Kitten has always wanted all of the attention in the room. Kiddo has always gobbled up information. Little Miss has always been bold and determined.
They have big personalities and to see them play together is truly magical. Just, hopefully not near any ledges…