The other night you two were playing with your toy money and little cash register. Kit brought Daddy three bills, a five, a ten, and a twenty. Daddy asked, “How much is this, Kit?”
They worked it through and Kit proudly announced, “thirty-five dollars!” Right-o!
Daddy handed Buddy the five dollar bill and asked, “What number is this, Buddy?”
Buddy exclaimed, “Number B!”
Right. Oh. So much work to do…
But this brought us to mind – in a very clear way – that you two are very different kids with very different aptitudes, regardless of your difference in age.
Kit is excellent with numbers and gets better at reading every day. At Buddy’s age she knew her alphabet, could identify her name written anywhere and could count to ten forwards and backwards. Buddy gets numbers and letters confused and thinks any name you point at must be his.
Kit loves to color. She will spend hours with her crayons and dreams of an endless supply of paper. She has always been this way. Buddy likes to color occasionally…on walls.
Kit is surprisingly good at golf, can kick a soccer ball really well, enjoys Frisbee, and has amazing hand-eye coordination. Buddy likes to run…randomly in all directions, and usually into walls.
However…Kit can be a highly sensitive ball of nerves who will cry at the drop of a hat. Buddy is happy. So, amazingly happy!
Kit has trouble understanding sarcasm and can get very anxious about it because she thinks you really are going to eat all of her candy when she leaves the room (sometimes this is true). Buddy will laugh and laugh and laugh.
Kit sometimes has trouble producing a smile or other facial expressions on command. Buddy will study his face in a mirror for long periods of time and can produce some really impressive work with his eyebrows at this point.
Kit becomes uber focused on one fad and goes all in (case in point: Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles). Buddy is more well-rounded; he likes Cars, Spiderman, Batman, dinosaurs, planes, diggers, Mickey Mouse, trains, dogs, and anything red.
I feel like, when she grows up, Kit will measure her happiness by her success in school and the approval of her teachers. Her successes will bring her great highs, and her failures will bring her unfortunate lows. I worry about her dependence on these types of validations, but I know she will do great things with her intelligence. I just need to remind her that grades aren’t everything.
I predict when Buddy grows up, he will measure his happiness by…whether or not he feels happy. He won’t pin his self-esteem on making it in to AP classes. I do worry that Buddy might struggle in school – he doesn’t have the laser focus that Kit does – but, he will surround himself with good friends and the things that he likes and he will be happy. I just need to remind him (and me) that grades aren’t everything.