Saturday, July 15, 2006

Opposite Personalities

It was Bastille Day yesterday and my aunt Mo had a French dinner. Everyone brought a French dish. I made baked brie.

Well, I supervised the making anyway.

For the boys, this was a lesson in French cooking. For me, it was a study in opposites.

Richie, 4, dabbed a tiny bit of melted butter on his pastry brush and painted the phyllo sheet as if perfecting Mona Lisa's smile.

Johnny, 5, on the other hand, drenched the brush in butter, catching the drippings with his fingers and licking them. He repeated this about 10 times. With the other hand, he slathered the phyllo in three generous brush strokes. He managed to do this while jumping up and down as though the kitchen was a trampoline. A few times, I told him to go into the living room to calm down. He would step one foot into the living room and bounce back in the room announcing boisterously, "Okay, I calmed down!"

Richie didn't lick his fingers once. He concentrated wholeheartedly on his French masterpiece. Then again, knowing how Richie is in his own world, he might have thought he was really dipping the pastry brush in yellow paint.

Two brothers. Two opposite personalities. Energetic. Calm. Type A. Type B. Logical. Imaginative. Justin says Johnny is like me and I say Richie is like Justin.

Of course, that is only the black and white picture of the two. Richie can argue quite logically when he wants to watch Teen Titans after watching enough T.V for the day. Johnny thinks thumb-sized people are living under a table in his bedroom. Richie, at times, climbs on me like a monkey, and Johnny can work on a project for hours. But I tend to see their extremes.

Richie wandered around the party last night. His best friend Tommy wasn't there and he looked a little lost. He wanted me to go with him to get a sprite. He absentmindedly ate some strawberries out of their plastic package.

Meanwhile, the older cousins were playing big kid video games in the basement and I made Johnny come upstairs.

I watched Johnny throw his hands up in the air as he complained to his cousin, "My mom lets me watch Pirates of the Carribean Part II, Fantastic Four and King Kong, and she won't let me watch PG-13 video games???!!!"

Richie left the party on an even keel and Johnny was a little aggitated about the whole video game thing.

Today, we had to have a talk about 5-year-olds thinking they know better than their mommies. Of course, the whole time I worried that maybe he was right. Maybe I was being illogical.

I always worry about playing favorites. So much of parenting is split second decisions that it's hard to tell if you're being fair or not. Is one kid getting in trouble and one getting off the hook? Is one getting more attention? To add to this confusion: opposite personalities, different needs. Johnny responds best to being read the riot act or hearing a logical explanation. Richie changes his tune if he even hears the words "time out." J.J...well, we'll see what he is like by and by.

It's so funny to me when I see kids I used to know who are now grown up.

I always think, "That makes perfect sense that they turned out like this. "

Even if they used to be quiet and now they're funny or they used to be hyper and now they're calm, it just seems like a perfect extension of who they were. But when they were kids, for the life of me, I could never imagine them as adults at all. I suppose it will be the same way with my own kids.


Anonymous Mom said...

Very intuitive! You and your brothers are all different and yet the same in your beliefs and morals. It's what makes the world go round! I wouldn't have any of you change who you are. Hope I'll get to see the wonderful adults your children will become!

12:32 PM  
Blogger Kirsten said...

I stumbled on your site from dinnerwithdad, and I am so glad I did! Today was. . . challenging.

I'm not kidding. Two of my three sons got into the butter and decided to paint each other with it. Their combined concentrative efforts would have made da Vinci look like a dabbler.

But the really fun part was cleaning up the butter off the floor. Things were kind of dicey there for awhile. Do you have any idea how slippery butter is?

3:45 PM  
Blogger Jonh Neo said...

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6:29 AM  

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