Sunday 4 March 2018

The incredible sulk - and other inherited characteristics

In recent months Blue Bear has developed the ability to throw sulks on an epic scale. He's fun and energetic, but he's also quick to take offence. Just this week I've been told he hates me, he's not my friend, he hates chicken, his brother and pretty much anything that has fallen foul of his temperament. It was during one of these monumental sulks - complete with not one, but two foot stamps - that I said "he gets that from you," to Hubbie. I wasn't thinking really, but one of the reasons we were considered a suitable match for him was because of his resemblance to Hubbie. That seems to extend to his personality as well as his looks.

This morning all the boys were in the back room playing a board game and I looked over. The similarity in their looks, behaviour and moods was quite startling. It's not often I consider what we've bequeathed to our children. This isn't even a nature vs nurture thing it's more that Brown Bear is nothing like me in some fundamental ways. He is brilliant at maths, is a gifted sportsman and is very sociable and popular. I take it personally that he isn't a keen reader as I have always loved books and reading. He just doesn't care for it. We do share a love of music and the arts though. I took him to the theatre last week which we've done since he was about 3 years old. He's had music in his life since before he was born and he's been able to hold a tune and recognise certain artists from an early age. I am a bit terrified that he's good at things I don't know much about. It's inevitable I guess as so much has changed since I was a child.

We took the boys to the cinema to watch Ferdinand - a movie about a bull who wants to defy the expectations of him as he would prefer not to be a fighter. At the end of the film I asked Blue Bear if he enjoyed it and he said he did. Hubbie told me that during the screening Blue had turned to him and said, "it's a sad movie Daddy." It is quite sad at times and I found I was moved by it so it's hardly surprising he would be too. It was amazing to me that not only did he empathise with the character, but he was also able to express the emotional respose he had to it. This is a new area for us with him and might go some way towards explaining why he's so aggressive and changeable at the moment. As he is becoming able to identify and name different emotions we can start to talk to him about how he came to be in this family. We have never made a secret of the fact that he hasn't always lived with us. It's important to us to do this in a way that is sensitive and thoughtful. 

I've noticed that if I give a treat to Blue Bear he will always ask for one for his brother. If I give something to Brown Bear he will take it and eat it. If I give them both something Brown will always ask if I have given him the bigger one or more of it. They are so different in some ways, but then I see Brown holding hands with Blue to help him walk on the ledge along a path. I'm also there when they have almighty rows and it's like negotiating between two superpowers with a low attention span. 

The more I spend time with these boys the more I see how they resemble me and Hubbie. More than anything they are like each other. I'm not sure I have the energy for this ! 

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