During a particularly challenging morning getting the boys ready for school, there was a “mad dad” appearance.
While both boys were being uncooperative, having to be reminded multiple times to do what they should be doing on their own, it was Carson who was driving me crazy with antics that would frustrate even if the most patient.
Because I was juggling all the morning duties, I wasn’t able to play chess and trains and take him into the basement as the youngest child of the house wanted (demanded). Therefore, he threw a temper tantrum.
After he finally regained his composure, I told him he needed to clean up his toys before we left for school. He subsequently turned his attention to toppling chairs. I gave him an ultimatum — pick everything up or I will throw all the toys away. He started cleaning up, but barely put a dent into the mess he had made.
About 15 minutes later, while brushing his teeth, Beckett called me into the bathroom and gave me some “free advice,” he called it. He then proceeded to let me know that Carson knows I will not throw away his toys and subsequently is ignoring me.
I let him know he was right and that baseless ultimatums are in fact pointless. He had never heard of the “baseless ultimatum” expression so I tried to explain it to him.
His ensuing conclusion seemed a little extreme to me, but it did make me laugh a little. “Yeah nothing good ever comes from lying, Dad,” he told me.
As our boys continue to grow and mature, they continue to reveal their differences.
Although only 18 months apart, they are certainly more different than they are alike, and we oftentimes find ourselves laughing at the absurdities of it all.
One child’s strength is usually the other’s weakness and vice versa. One child’s likes and dislikes can usually be flipped for the sibling.
Some examples to illustrate the point include:
•Carson is without question the neater of the two. He makes his bed in the morning (usually with a stuffed animal under the covers) and opens his curtains before leaving his room. This is something he has done for some time and even before we started requiring our kids to take some pride in their respective rooms.
On the opposite extreme is Beckett, who would sleep in a bed full of clothes, video game controllers, books and Pokemon cards if we let him. He seems to crave clutter and disarray in his room or maybe he’s just lazy when it comes to this sort of thing. Additionally, I’m not sure he has ever opened up the curtains in his room on his own in his eight years, aside from a phase when he was a toddler when he liked to pull them down to the floor.
•Beckett is a good athlete and just about everything comes pretty easy to him in that realm. While he might not be the best at whatever he’s doing, he picks up whatever he’s trying — whether it’s soccer flip throws, throwing and catching a football or breaking a board in karate — easily. He’s a quick study and eager to expand on what he’s learned within minutes of conquering it.
Carson is not really into sports and has recently developed an aversion to letting Beckett and I practice anything. We try to work him in and get him involved but he’s bothered by the fact he can’t physically do what his big brother can. That’s why as many as 10 soccer balls and footballs are now missing in action from being thrown over to neighbors’ yards and mysteriously disappearing from there.
•When it comes to food, Carson will try just about anything so long as it’s not green, while Beckett is a bit more hardheaded.
Beckett picks and chooses his times to be experimental. Among his favorite foods are crab cakes, burgers and pizza. However, if one of these meals comes out looking a little different than he’s used to, he has been known to reject it.
There to clean up what he doesn’t want would be his little brother Carson, who will try just about anything put in front of him so long as it’s not a vegetable. Unfortunately, if it’s something he doesn’t like, he has a penchant for immediately spitting it out. Quick hands help when that occurs.
•While Beckett has never met a stranger, it takes Carson a little while longer to warm up to people.
Carson’s shyness, at times, stems from his more introverted nature, which is compounded by the fact he’s non-verbal. Although a disability, I think Carson’s inability to speak gets confused with an unawareness of what’s going on around him. Nothing could be further from the truth because he’s cognitively on point.
Unlike his brother Beckett, who comments on just about everything he sees and thinks at any given time, Carson is more of an observer. There’s something to be said for that approach.