I jumped at the sound of the front door slamming shut. Then there he was. Standing in my kitchen. Mad. Fuming actually. My 8-yr-old son, clearly upset, tells me, “Mom, I’m going to just play on the computer. Is that okay?”
No. It wasn’t okay. In fact, I marched him right back to door stating, “You are to never leave your little brother out there by himself, even IF your friends are out there with him.” That’s when I realized he was angry that his little brother had, once again, hogged all the attention. A faint shout of encouragement came from outside as I heard the other boys shouting, “Go Rudy! Hit it again! Hit it again!”
One is a brainiac, video gaming, math infused 8-yr-old, with a bad temper. He resembles me at that age, skinny, inquisitive, slightly wound up at dinner time, and sporting the, ever popular, birthmark on his face. Yes. I have a birthmark on my face that was always mistaken as a glob of mascara by my peers, when I was in school. Heck. Who am I kidding? People still stop me and say, “Ma’am, you have a little mascara right there.” I usually just walk away without justifying the fact that they even talked to me. Am I wrong?
My other child is your classic 3-yr-old boy. Is there such a thing as classic when speaking of a child who keeps me going from 8am to 11pm? He was born a hefty 9lbs and could drink 8 oz. of baby formula faster than you can feed it to him. He’s tall, thick, and the funniest child you’ll ever meet. Sweetness flows from him faster than I can catch it, but when he’s angry… well step back. His favorite food is any kind of meat, the latest? Bologna. A peanut allergy plagues him. He’s most happiest when playing outside, running, kicking or throwing any kind of ball. He’s my sports minded child, talented beyond measure, and I say this, not because I’m one of “those” Moms, but because my jaw is still dropped at what happened yesterday.
While Rudy, the 3-yr-old baseball hitting marvel, was waiting for his older sibling’s bus to come, the neighbor came over. As most boys at his age do, he was carrying a baseball glove, bat, and a ball. We joked in the yard and in the corner of my eye, I could see my son picking up his bat off the ground.
He smelled it as he lifted it up slowly. Then he ran his fingers across the entire thing as if it was a precious jewel and he has just discovered riches. His eyes grew big and, with his arms perfectly in position, he took a swing. Our neighborhood friend figured he’d pitch a ball to him.
He hit it. Hard. For the very first time.
Quietly, I asked him to pitch again, “Do it again Hunter. See if he can hit it again.” Each time that ball came, this child hit it. Perfect swing. Perfect stance. Perfect focus. How could he do that at 3-yrs-old? So, I asked him, “How did you get so good at baseball.” His answer?
“I keep my eye on the ball, Mom.”
So, I go back to later in the afternoon, where the neighborhood kids turned my yard into a baseball diamond. Hunter gathered up everything he could find: gloves, balls, bats, and even bases. They created a, literal, baseball diamond in my backyard with one outfielder, one pitcher, one batter, and one catcher. Hey, they work with what they got, but I know one thing for sure. My oldest son didn’t like it.
“Jordan thinks I just AUTOMATICALLY know how to play baseball!” The thing is, most boys at Zach’s age DO know how to play baseball, especially if you live in Texas. He was feeling left out because his 3-yr-old brother seemed like he did AUTOMATICALLY know how to play baseball. It was in bones.
I know how my oldest must feel. When you’re 8-yrs-old, all you want is to be accepted by your peers, but what he doesn’t understand is, while his little brother is clearly talented at sports, he’s got a different talent, a different gift, a way of lateral thinking that can blow people away.
Zach may not throw a ball very well. In fact, I watched him yesterday struggle in aggravation at trying, but he crunches numbers in his head better than me. He says times tables like nothing. He recites the alphabet backwards. Embarrassingly enough, I can’t. He’s my engineering marvel and, this morning, I’m excited at what kind of men both my boys will become.
My bumper sticker will read My son works at Nasa. My other son is a MLB player. Jealous? First we need to get through the sibling rivalry. Someone tell me how.
Question for you parents: How do you handle sibling rivalry and when was the first time you noticed a clear talent in your child? I’m encouraged at hearing other parent’s stories. Who knows? Maybe one of our children will be famous. Maybe they won’t, but they’ll know their parents believed in them.
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