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.