*Random post from October 2011
For some reason – perhaps they think we’re negligent, or that their brother’s intelligence is lacking somehow – but the boys (mainly the Gort) have taken it upon themselves to teach Percy the ways of the world.
As in ‘move over, it’s time for Percy to learn his colors.’ [Direct quote from Saturday morning when they brought up a ‘colors’ puzzle from the basement, dumped the pieces on the floor and began to assemble it with the express goal that the two year old learn to differentiate between brown and green.]
The Gort has taken the Hen under his wing in much the same manner and, as a direct result of his tutelage, the Hen can now do very basic math and might actually recognize some words. As in, ‘this [art] isn’t mine, it says Nathan on the back.’ And I turn it over and find that it does indeed have ‘Nathan’ written on the back of the paper plate encrusted with various glued-on foam shapes.
Ah, prolific preschool art, how I love thee.
The Gort has spent hours with the Hen, sitting on the couch reading to him, showing him how to write his letters and teaching him how to add 2+2. He is exceedingly patient – at times – cooing ‘good job’ and ‘high five’ in the syrupy manner of an enthusiastic preschool teacher.
So it’s hardly surprising that as I walked up the stairs behind Percy the other day, I heard him counting. ‘One, two, four.’ And last night – while pelting the refrigerator repeatedly – ‘one, two, four, five, six.’
I remember when the Gort was just a little older than Percy is now. He had a little friend who was exactly his age. Except this little friend was light years ahead of the Gort – developmentally, intellectually, whatever. He could write his name. He was drawing ‘things’ rather than amorphous scribble-blobs. He played with Lego. He was like a first grader trapped in a three year old’s body.
When I expressed my amazement at his achievements, his mom told me the secret of his success: an older sibling. Sure enough, when the Hen came along, I understood what she’d meant. The baby didn’t realize he was just a small person not yet capable of the things that other, bigger kid was doing. He assumed he was supposed to be doing them too. So, at just shy of 5 months old, when most infants bat at toys and stick their hands in their mouths, the Hen was sitting up. Playing trains with his older brother.
And Percy has followed suit. Preferring Hotwheels and Matchbox cars to baby toys; doing his best to build simple things with Lego. Not Megabloks. Not Duplo. Lego. Even copying his older brothers’ phraseology – ‘just a minute’, ‘no fair’, ‘actually’, ‘bad Mommy’.