Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A study in contrasts

I knew, on an intellectual level, that my kids would be different from each other. I knew that before I ever even decided to have the imp, much less the pixie.

It's amazing to watch, though. Almost like reading a textbook study about the differences between the way boys and girls mature.

The imp is (oddly, sort of) more cautious than the pixie, when it comes to trying new things--I think, since she sees her brother doing it, she figures it must be safe, and throws herself into it, not realizing that he's two years older than her, and bigger and stronger.

Be that as it may, he's a lot more physically active than she is. You can see it watching him watch TV: he'll be sitting quietly, paying attention at first, then he'll start to wiggle. A few minutes later, he'll jump down off the couch, run a few laps up and down the hall (body-slamming doors to change direction), then come back and hop up to watch some more. The pixie is a lot more sociable than the imp--usually, if he wants to play with anyone, it'll be with his baby sister (or he'll want to play "try to grab me and let me run from you"), but usually he wants to be off by himself playing with his blocks or trains; she wants to sit in a lap and play with someone. Quietly, most of the time. Usually with a baby doll.

One thing that gets both of their interest is books: they both love to be read to. The imp is doing his best to figure that reading thing out. He knows his entire alphabet, knows what sounds they make, and is starting to recognize some words. I'm trying to teach him about how the sounds go together so that he can sound things out and figure out words he doesn't recognize (you know, phonics: that thing that isn't taught in schools anymore).

He's going to be reading before he's caught up with talking.

The pixie is really starting to talk. Her vocabulary is expanding from mama, daddy, [variation of brother's name], kitty, and baba (for breast, when she's hungry). I've heard "see?" "look" "book" "door" "bath" and a one-word version of "I love you". And she's starting to string words together: she's said "shut door" recently, and this morning "hi bye Pawpaw" as she and the imp were heading out the door with Daddy to go meet Grandma and Grandpa to drop the imp off for an overnight visit.

The imp is at the same stage, but with less parroting and more meaning behind his two, three, or four word phrases.

She's got a lot more fine motor control than he does: he's better at carrying large things (I've seen him carry a three pound canister of chocolate milk mix from the car trunk to the front porch with no problems), but she's better at manipulating small ones. I tend to wear a pair of jungle combat boots (the same basic design as our troops wore in Vietnam), and tend to double knot the laces to keep from getting them untied by little fingers. Yeah, that doesn't work. The pixie has clever little fingers that make very short work of the knots. The imp still doesn't seem to know how to fasten or unfasten the Velcro on his shoes. Or maybe he doesn't care.

I posted yesterday that the whole idea that women and men are exactly the same except for body shape was not just wrong, but dumb. Watching my two kids and their development and sex-based personality traits (boy is active, loves building towers with blocks, or playing by himself with trains; girl is quieter, loves playing with and cuddling her baby dolls, or sitting on a lap and playing with someone) just proves that it is a dumb ideology.

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