The Second Child.

by , under Mom, personal

I remember the moments when I knew that the Oldest Kidlet had learned something new. You would see the light of recognition in his eyes when he caught on to something, and then immediately started showing off to everyone.

His little brother is different. It took ages for him to start talking with any frequency (though he’d used a lot of words, just one or two at a time), and when as soon as he did start talking, he jumped into full phrases and hasn’t stopped talking ever since. He refused to recite the alphabet or numbers in preschool last year. This year? He’s showing off in school by finishing worksheets ahead of everyone else and asking me to give him homework so he can show off to me.

Yes, he waits until he can master it before he lets anyone know that he can do it. (This might remind me of my little sister. Just a bit – she’s terrifyingly smart)

On Friday, we were watching Thomas the Tank Engine on PBS and it ended just as they were finishing getting dressed for school. Word World began, and the boys begged me to record it. So I did. (And then I wrote the blog post about why PBS is important)

While they didn’t watch Word World on Friday, they watched it on Saturday. At least 6 times. Word World is one of the shows I mentioned in the PBS piece that is literacy based. Everything in Word World (the place) is made of letters (the dog’s body is made up of the letters D-O-G), and they talk about sounds, segmenting and blending (that’s breaking apart words into sounds, and putting those sounds and letters back together). One of the episodes in the show involved all the water disappearing when one of the characters split up the letters in water. And so they spelled water again and again. W-A-T-E-R.

Today when we went to drop off the Oldest Kidlet and were waiting in the kindergarten yard (you can’t go into the first grader playground without getting a visitor pass) and the Little Kidlet found the cover to the water access, which said Water on it. He’d been pointing it out to me last week as where the Ninja Turles live, so I asked him to tell his dad what it was.

He leaned over. “W-A-T-E-R,” he said, spelling it out carefully. “It says Water!”

I’m going to make a confession here. While I do sit down with my boys to read books and sound out words- it’s mostly for the Oldest Kidlet’s benefit because he needs to read in school. The Little Kidlet likes to spend the time that’s just the two of us coloring and practicing writing letters and numbers. We don’t focus on reading yet because he’s just in preschool- I didn’t want to pressure him. Guess he wants to do what his brother can.

Does your second child want to do everything your oldest can, and is stubborn enough to learn the way mine does? Have something else you want to tell me? Comment below!

  • Woo! I like that he masters it before he shows it to you. Makes me wonder what my own kid will be like. He doesn’t have any siblings, so it’s all him!

  • Kat

    In my house it works both ways, Brynn is starved for attention at all times (not that we starve her, she’s just a burgeoning starlett) so at 5, when she sees Rylee, the 18 month old, doing stuff that Brynn isnt allowed to do and getting away with it (because Rylee is a baby and stopping some behaviors, like burping allowed for example is impossible until a little more maturity and understanding passes thru her 18 month old head) Brynn will happily repeat the bad behavior and thusly get in trouble. Rylee could have a super messy face from eating, we’ll take a photo for blackmail purposes later, and there is Brynn covering her face in food for the attention.
    However, yes, it does work the other way as well, Rylee is determined to master a fork (when Brynn was about 3 before she started using the fork instead of holding it in one hand and stuffing her face with the other), determined to climb on our playground even though her teeny legs cant reach the next rung, so she can play with her sister. She tries to speak like sissy, she tries to write when sissy writes, she pretends to read.
    I really like having them to help each other out with development and learning (even if some of it is by bad example).

  • It really is funny. It’s been frustrating (turns out that method doesn’t work well when it comes to potty training), but mostly good.

  • Yeah, it does go both ways here. I have seen both of them try to copy the other when the other gets in trouble just because they want the attention. But you’re right. The bond that forms, and how much LK has learned from his brother is worth the hassle.

    The weirdest thing in all of this was having to give OK positive feedback for using the bathroom because we were still potty training LK- because he felt left out.