It’s a constant source of amazement to see the differences between our two kids.
For the longest time, I wrongly figured their contrasting personalities and approaches to life were a result of them being adopted. I realize now it’s not due to the fact they didn’t come from the same place because I have conversations with other parents who often remark how their biological children couldn’t be more different. I find comfort in knowing there are others – with kids coming from the same place and people, if you will — scratching their heads over two (or more) humans being raised under the same roof in the same fashion with the same values being so different.
Here are some examples to illustrate the point:
•Carson seems to enjoy hard work, while Beckett abhors it. That much is on display each day at our house.
For example, one morning recently I was making smoothies for the kids for breakfast. Somehow I dropped the blender on the floor and a grand mess was made It was an inauspicious start.
Carson heard my reaction and came running to help with the cleanup. Beckett, too, could hear the commotion but he pretended to be unaware of what was going on. In fact, he somehow snuck upstairs to his room as Carson and I went about the ridiculous task of trying to wipe up a smoothie.
A few minutes later, I heard Beckett come down the stairs and sneak quietly around the corner to see if the cleanup work had been completed. Thinking I was unaware of him dodging me and not offering to help, he asked in his best conniving voice about whether he could have his smoothie for breakfast yet.
My response to that had something to do with why he thinks I’m stupid.
•Beckett, 9, is an excellent sleeper while Carson, 7, is a wreck on that front.
The only issue with our eldest is getting him to bed. He likes to refer to his friends who say they have 10 p.m. bedtimes during the week and midnight on the weekends. However, whenever I ask him who specifically he’s referring to, he suddenly forgets.
Once asleep, Beckett doesn’t wake up for anything. That’s a good thing because there are some nights when Carson creates a ruckus. There might as well be one person getting a good night’s sleep in the house.
•The most obvious difference between our sons is speech. Beckett talks all the time while Carson has verbal apraxia, which is a motor speech disorder involving the brain being unable to connect adequately with the body parts needed for speech.
To know Beckett is to understand he essentially provides a continuous play-by-play account of his thoughts at any given time. He communicates extremely well by articulating just about every thought that crosses his mind.
As is to be expected with his current issues, Carson struggles with expressive language and only has a few words that he can say at this point. Consequently, he uses a device similar to an iPad to express himself.
We pray Carson will one day be able to speak. My only concern with that is making sure he is able to get in a few comments here and there when he does develop speech.
•Beckett is athletic and likes to compete. Carson is not gifted in this realm and despises the competition part.
Although I haven’t yet, I’m close to giving up on having Beckett help his little brother in this realm. He just doesn’t have the patience required.
An example would be a couple weeks ago while we were waiting for Carson’s TOPSoccer practice to begin. I asked Beckett to fill in for me and kick the ball around with Carson while I took a phone call. To make it fair I wanted Beckett to only his weak foot.
Things were going well for a few minutes before Beckett grew bored and started getting fancy. That aggravated Carson, who eventually just kicked the ball far away in the opposite direction, resulting in Beckett giving me the “I’m trying” look and Carson shooting me a “he’s such a jerk” expression.
They both went their separate ways at that point. That was probably best.
•When it comes to strangers, Beckett is extroverted and Carson is introverted.
It takes Carson quite a while to warm up to people. He’s initially quite shy and hides behind Pam or me when introduced to people. Once he gets to know people, he comes out of his shell and can be more open.
On the opposite extreme is Beckett, who will strike a conversation with anyone at any given time anywhere.
During a recent grocery store run, I had a game plan with Beckett to get in and out as quick as we could. I wanted him to get some bananas, lemons and avocados from one area of the store while I ran and grabbed the rest.
On my way back to him, he was standing next to the bananas with a mom and her twin toddler boys. I stood back and watched for a minute as he played peek-a-boo, did cartwheels and explained how he doesn’t really like reading and writing but does it because he has to in school.
When I asked him where the items were he was supposed to get, he asked me to understand how he could get distracted by these cute kids.