Jack Sprat and his brother

            One day, Benjamin had a substitute teacher in his preschool class who was new to the school, and by the time I picked him up at noon, she was well versed in the natural phenomenon that is my younger son.  Then, three hours later, I came back to pick up Zachary, who stayed for the afternoon session with the same teacher who had looked after Benjamin in the morning.

            She did a double take.  Having spent three hours with one child and then three hours with the other, she had no idea that they were related to each other.  One is fair while the other is dark; one eats everything while the other subsists on air and crackers; one has giant lips and eyes while the other has fine features; and one is built like a brick shithouse while the other is built like an emaciated piece of celery.  Only one of my children has junk in the trunk.

            The most confusing thing for this substitute teacher was that there are few similarities between their behavior, their temperaments, and their ways of approaching everything from negotiating slide usage to singing during circle time.  In fact, other than the fact that neither of them ever shuts up, there is very little my sons have in common.

            Since then, we’ve had other substitutes, family friends, and occasional crossing guards comment upon the difference between these two boys. The contrast between the two of them underscores the most intimate aspects of who they are.  And there is so much I want to write about it.  There are personal, uncomfortable things one or the other goes through that I want to muse about on paper and figure out. 

            But I can’t.  I can bare to you some of the most stressful things about parenting, some of my deepest fears.  But that’s about me.  What I don’t have the right to do is expose my observations about the deepest and most personal aspects of their psyches online.  It’s just not my place.

            A lot of it comes neatly wrapped with sociological observations with which I would just love to dazzle you.  Oh, well.  Guess you’ll have to settle for my sparkling wit. 

17 responses to “Jack Sprat and his brother

  1. My oldest two do not look alike either– one is fair and blonde, the other darker in hair, eyes, and skin. This causes no end of commentary because everyone always says that the oldest one looks like an American and the youngest one looks like a Spaniard. Grossly simplistic observations, of course. They actually both have features from both of us, as well as a distinct mix of character traits. But people will see what they are expecting to see sometimes…

  2. Apparently my genetic material is wimpy, because both of my kids look just like their daddy, you can pick out a few individual features that come from me, but overall my genes appear to have been too scared to come to the party.

    This is why I don’t blog, I just haven’t quite figured out how my kids would feel down the road…..

  3. Sounds like me and my sister.

    And your wit will do nicely, thank you!

  4. My girls are different but not THAT different. It’s probably true you don’t want to go too deep in public becasue by the time our kids are in HS they’ll probably be surfing stuff like this to make fun of each other.

  5. It IS more difficult when you’re transparent about your identity. It’s great, though, that you respect them enough to care one way or another. Ahh, the delicate balance of parenting!

  6. The funniest thing for me, in my family, is that even though Violet has a different male genetic donor, everyone always says how she looks like my husband and the boys look like me. But, in terms of personality, they are ALL so different. Nurture, nature, a mix of both.

  7. Mine have vastly different personalities and appearances, too. (One dark, with curly hair, and one pale w/ freckles)

    I love how respectful you are of their privacy.

  8. I have monozygotic twins so the same genetic material from that crazy egg that split whom I think of as amazingly different. Throw in little bro– Oh, they all have their own things going. A funny thing is that there are some folks who can’t tell S & C apart. I say spend five minutes with them and you will know…

    It will be interesting to watch Lila’s personality uncover it(her?)self.

  9. Sometimes I am happy to hear about other peoples kids being complete opposites. Except for the eyes, which are exact, my girls look and act completely different.

  10. You’re in my head, dude.

    Big differences between my two. Nothing that will ever make me cut them open for the blogging autopsy board.

    Your wit is just fine by me.

  11. Too bad for us. 🙂

  12. My two boys are not quite that different – they are unique and special in their own ways, although they have interesting similarities. But I know what you mean about just being fascinated by their differences, and not being able to write about it. Half my day is processing thoughts about these two brothers I spend my entire days with. It’s really awesome sometimes.

  13. One of the cool things about parenting is that each child is so different and so marvelously unique. But I think you’re wise to respect their privacy. It shows a depth of honouring who they are. And that is a good basis to parent from.

  14. It is this VERY issue that has stopped me from writing lately altogether. Because I’d love to write the truth about what we’re going through with our middle child, and spell out all my various theories, but I’m stopped by the same principle you’ve described… and then, since I can’t write about what I’m really going through right now, it seems inauthentic to write anything at all. I didn’t even realize all of this (about why I’m not writing) until I read your post. Wow.

  15. Part of why I blog is to deal with my life, and I guess I walk a fine line with what’s Bean’s and what’s mine.

    But also, ALSO – if what we’re dealing with helps another parent, I think it’s worth it to have it out there.

    However, I absolutely understand what you’re saying. As he gets older I think I will write much less about his life, and edit what’s there now.

    Also, I love your wit. It’s one of the bright spots of my day.

  16. Your wit is just fine! My son looks exactly like me. I feel the same about talking about his life. Maybe it’s because he was seven when I started blogging and I didn’t feel right about the world and quite possibly someone in our little town knowing everything about him.

    If I had started when he was a cute little baby, before I knew about the nastiness that goes on in a small school district, I would had the kid’s face plastered all over the place and gave away all of his “dirty little secrets.” I’m so glad I didn’t!

  17. Can you tell where the girl will fall? Is she more like one of the boys, or altogether different?