Bursting and Breaking

Isn’t it interesting that when something saddens us, we say it “breaks our heart,” but when we are pleased, our heart is “bursting” with pride? Pretty violent outcomes for the heart either way. But that’s not my point. Sometimes, one event can make your heart burst and break at the same time. Such was my morning.

As I was cleaning the kitchen, W~ came up and, with an excited grin on his face, said, “Mommy, I need to tell you something.” It turns out that what he wanted to “tell” me was a perfect recital of the ABC song. We have sung it together countless times, but this was the first time I had heard him do it by himself. His execution was flawless. He was pleased with himself, and I shared his excitement.

N~, who had watched the whole conversation, told me that he wanted to sing the song, too. I told him to go for it. I don’t know if it had to do with feeling extra pressure from watching his younger brother do it, but N~ didn’t even get as far as he normally does (which is usually up to about “G”). I sung through it with him but, even with help, he just doesn’t know it. The hardest thing is that I know that he gets frustrated because W~ can do it.

At 3 1/2, W~ can sing the ABC’s, spell his name, count up to about 13, knows the numbers up to 5, and knows a lot of letters. N~ knows the sounds of some letters, but he really struggles with everything else. As a mother, I really have an inner struggle about this. On one hand, I certainly don’t want to try to delay W’s progress. On the other hand, it kills me to see N~ get frustrated when he can’t pick up things that his brother does.

Fortunately, I had an appointment with the pediatrician today for E’s two-month check-up*. I took the opportunity to discuss the issue with her. She told me not to worry and to try and work with them separately so that N~ doesn’t get as frustrated. Probably the most important thing she told me, though, was to remember that it was W~ who isn’t normal–that he is advanced for his age. She said that where N~ is at this point really isn’t a cause for concern–that if he was still struggling with it by the end of kindergarten (a year away), that then we would want to look at doing evaluations. Basically, she confirmed what some friends with older kids had already told me–that where he is isn’t all that uncommon, and that it will probably just click at some point.

I hope so.

 

*The check-up went well. E~ is now 25 inches and 14 pounds. That puts him at 95th percentile for weight and 97th percentile for height. This is why my kids never stay in a carrier car seat longer than four months!

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