The same but different

I’ve been doing a little experiment for the past ten days because I started noticing a subtle difference in my boys and I’m not sure if it’s indicative of their ages or their personalities or both (spoiler: I’m leaning towards both, with a heavy emphasis on their personalities).

During my last Costco outing I purchased a large box of fruit leathers, or fruit strips as my boys call them. Copying my friend, Tracey, I’ve taken them out of the box and put them in a cup in our cupboard so when the boys want one, I grab a handful from the cup and fan them out in front of them like a deck of cards, letting them pick which flavor they want.

Without fail, when I stick one out further than the rest, Liam will always pick that one, no matter what the flavor. Jack, on the other hand, will always choose his own, never picking the one that is stuck out closest to him. And I’m not sure why exactly this is, if Liam’s just at an age where he’s more suggestable and prone to “peer” pressure and Jack’s still working on his independence OR if it is purely indicative of their personalities. I think it’s a little of both, but more personality-driven than anything. Both my boys are certainly stubborn (have NO idea where they get that from) but Liam has always been one who can be steered in a certain direction as long as he doesn’t realize that he’s being manipulated. Jack will always go his own way and has never taken redirection, he’s stubborn through and through, enough for five more children.

I’ve been thinking about that, trying to figure out what this might mean for them as they go through life. Liam has a good head on his shoulders but I worry that he won’t be able to discern when someone doesn’t have his best interests in mind and he will end up doing things because others are doing them, not realizing until it is too late that he’s doing the wrong thing or has made a bad decision. He does not stew over questions and will quickly answer, “I don’t know” if asked a question he doesn’t readily know the answer to; of course he has to stop talking first in order to hear the question being asked. He’s our little social butterfly who loves to explain things to others and soaks up information like a sponge, able to repeat whole books and tidbits of information that he’s gleaned from our reading books to him and his Tag Reader. He’s slightly easier to parent because he will be redirected and usually makes the choice you want him to if you guide him in that direction. Jack goes his own way, rarely one to bow to pressure from those around him, even when they are doing the right thing. I’ve already mentioned in earlier posts that I think his personality is key to helping him deal with his limb difference later in life. But I think it’s also going to make it hard to him to realize when he’s wrong and be able to admit it. But I’m glad he’s decisive and knows what he wants, when he wants it, I don’t feel like I’ll ever have to worry about him bowing to peer pressure, instead I’ll have to make sure he’s setting a good example for others and leading the way down the right path.

Just goes to show you, two boys with the same parents can be completely different, if even in a small way that makes a huge impact on both of their lives.

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7 responses to “The same but different

  1. Interesting observation about your boys and their choice in the different fruit strips. Reading this tickled my interest and I will have to try it out on my daughter to see what she does. Will she pick the one sticking out a bit more than the others? She’s certainly asserting herself over her peers (almost 3) and already see signs of a leader than a follower.

    • I would have always thought of my oldest as the leader because he talks to much, but he’s definitely more of a follower with easily hurt feelings… let me know how it goes.

  2. What a fascinating experiment. I see the same things in my children as well and I can tell you as my oldest ‘leader’ grows, his personality becomes more pronounced. That is both good and bad, depending on what he is using his leadership for 😉

    I have a strong personality, natural leader, and I am so thankful that my mother worked hard at directing and not squashing it. It was no easy task for her (as she reminds me often 🙂 ) but I appreciate having that inner strength.

  3. I did this for a week with clothing. I gave them two choices of outfits, and asked which one they wanted- also giving them little tidbits of information about the outfit clearly favoring one over the other. A. always chose my favorite….C…..always the opposite. Wonder what that means.

    • This is no surprising… I also love that we both test our kids. Liam for the longest time, when given a choice between two things, would always choose the second thing you said. ALWAYS.

  4. I am a little afraid that Jack may have a bit of his uncle in him. Which could be both good and bad. Maybe he will grow up to be an engineer? I never had the chance to compare two of my own children but I am pretty sure that I could compare the two boys in my house. One wants to please but does still make his own choices and the other always picks the opposite of what I like. So….It is fun to see what they become. Mitch is not too far from what he was when he was 5 and Marty is not too different from what he was when he was 24.

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