Physical toughness and emotional toughness are two different things, and my boys seem to personify this at their respective ages, which is just 17 months apart.
Time and time again, I am amazed at how physically tough my sons have become. Their bodies take a beating and rarely do they even flinch as evidenced by the colorful bruises that appear out of nowhere on a daily basis.
By the nature of being the little brother, Carson has an innate toughness that is a result of his survival instincts kicking in. Despite our interference most of the time, he is seemingly constantly under a barrage of battery attempts from his big brother.
Beckett likes to think of Carson as his personal tackling dummy. Not that we find that acceptable in any way, there is no doubt Carson enjoys it to an extent and often eggs him on. He seems to crave the brutality. For instance, while on the trampoline the other day, I watched Carson blindside Beckett from behind and then run away screaming. Because we have preaching independence and encouraging them to handle their matters independently, I just observed.
When Beckett did not immediately give pursuit in an attempt at retribution, Carson pointed back to Beckett in a taunt fashion. Beckett then exacted his revenge with a slide tackle, which took Carson down but didn’t seem to faze him as he bounced up, giggling and signed for “more.” That’s when I stepped in because I could hear Beckett telling him to stand still so he could land a roundhouse kick on him.
Beckett’s physical toughness has never been in question. He never lets an illness get him down. He will spar in karate with the biggest kid in class without any fear. His pain threshold is off the chart. He is a brute, like many 6-year-olds.
However, there is a contradiction that comes with this physical toughness that I have found charming of late. While their bodies can take beatings and bounce back in quick fashion, both the boys have a sensitive side when it comes to being mistreated by friends or others.
For instance, during his indoor soccer game last week, Beckett was inadvertently tripped from behind and fell hard on his elbows. It was a rough fall, but I was still surprised when he got up crying and came out of the game. When I met him on the sideline, he was still crying, but not seemingly about the pain. He wanted to know why that girl would trip him on purpose and try to hurt him. His feelings were hurt, not his skinned up elbows.
With Carson, a similar situation unfolded the other day. He fell down a few steps coming downstairs. When I went to him and picked him up to make sure he was okay, he went nuts and started crying while covering up his face. After I carried him down the rest of the steps, he started crying hysterically and marched back upstairs. He then came down the steps on his own wiping away tears. It turns out he was embarrassed and wanted to do it on his own.
They are as tough as nails in many ways, but they are showing some emotional sophistication as well. I’m just not sure if it’s a good thing or a bad thing at this point.
Showering on his own is a new hurdle Beckett recently overcame.
Consequently, I now feel like I just got 20 minutes of extra time in the day.
Beckett loves baths and so does his little brother. That’s been cool with me but the only downside is it takes a long time because they both enjoy a good soak.
With more and more extracurricular activities of late at night, I have been encouraging Beckett to take a shower instead and save baths for the weekend or a night when there is not as much going on.
We are not quite at the point where we can just send him upstairs to shower on his own. He still likes for me or his mom to come along and be in the bathroom. I think that’s merely so he has someone to talk to while he showers because he doesn’t need any help. He can do it all, but he likes to give us the play-by-play account (oftentimes while gargling water) of what he’s doing when he does it. His weakness at this point is clearly drying off. He prefers to air dry, which can make for a messy floor.
Afterwards, he likes putting on my deodorant, aftershave and gel in his hair. At some point, his mommy added a new wrinkle by showing him something with cologne. He sprays it in the bathroom and then runs under it a couple times.
When I asked him why he does it like that, he said, “because I already have on aftershave and I don’t want to come on too strong. You know, I’m just 6 and two-thirds years old.”
I love his personality as well as the newfound knowledge of fractions.
There’s an image I could not shake on Wednesday, and it continuously made me laugh throughout the day.
It was still dark out and I was finishing up my morning run when I saw the curtain in Carson’s room pulled open as I was coming down the street. I figured Pam or I must have forgotten to close it at bedtime the night before.
Once I got closer, I saw a little smiling face and a hand waving. It was Carson wide awake and excited to see me. It was 5:45 in the morning.