February 12, 2013

Sisters: At Once Almost Identical and Polar Opposites

Back not long after Hubby started his new job, the girls wanted me to read "The Princess and the Pea," for bedtime, but they couldn't find the book. So, I offered to tell it to them from memory. This idea enraptured them so, they started taking turns storytelling at bedtime instead of asking for a book. (Most nights anyway. They still want a book once or twice a week.)

Sneak and Boo Bear playing at Gran Gran's house back in June.

This new tradition has certainly given us an insight into the inner workings of the girls' minds. While their subjects tend to be similar, mostly ponies and princesses at the moment, their storytelling styles couldn't be more different. Sneak's stories are simple but focused. Boo Bear's are more complicated, as one would expect from the older child who has been storytelling for a few years now, but the telling of them is fragmented.

I know what some of you might be thinking. Oh, that child has ADD or ADHD. That's certainly what a lot of teachers and administrators would try to tell us if she attended public school. She's not though. From what I've seen, Boo Bear is typical of a normal six-year-old, especially one who is a kinetic learner. Yes, she's a touch hyper at times, but she learns through movement and has the same drive to soak up information as any child.

Diet certainly does have something to do with the degree to which her attention span switches gears. Going off gluten has nearly doubled her focus time, and the school day fatigue/frustration meltdowns have almost stopped altogether. Taking a short break to go run around outside halfway through the school day, weather permitting, also helps sharpen her focus. Baring that, so does fidgeting.

Still, those "breaks" in focus are often her mind taking intuitive leaps with the information she's bringing in or going back to double check something she saw earlier. It's the creative process in work, and I'd rather cut my arm off than squash it. After attempting to dictate my novel via recorder while cleaning last year, I'm well aware my own mind works similarly. So, at least I've some clue as to how to help her cope with those odd tangents.

Boo Bear and Sneak mugging for the camera back in the fall.
Sneak, on the other hand, is scarily focused for a four-year-old and a budding perfectionist. Seriously, this child would lay in her crib at night and practice saying a word repeatedly until she deemed her annunciation acceptable enough to say it in "public." (In this case, public being outside her room when she was tucked into bed and assuming everyone else was asleep.) And when something catches her attention, she'll keep exploring for hours at a time.

In some ways these facts make Sneak both an easier and a much harder child to rear. When she gets into something, she really gets into it. The evening she discovered shadows, she sat in a patch of sunlight and played with making shadows for two hours straight until her light source disappearing put an end to her fun. (She wasn't quite two at the time!) Lord help you if you're ever in a hurry though. Not getting to do something herself is her main tantrum trigger.

Yet, in other ways, both girls are so alike, they're almost identical. We're asked if they're twins regularly, despite the two years difference in their ages, in fact.  (The six inch and eight pound difference in their size has been constant for two years now, but if they're sitting, they do look the same size.) The age gap is a bit more prominent of late thanks to Boo Bear being in the midst of exchanging her baby teeth for her adult ones. 

Their interests match up almost exactly. Both are enamored with anything princess, super heroes, animals (especially ponies, unicorns, or pegasi), flowers, and making stuff. The medium doesn't matter. They just like making something, anything.

Boo Bear has discovered sewing, specifically dressmaking, thanks to My Little Pony's reboot, so she's chomping at the bit to learn how to sew. (I'm trying to learn, so I can help her past hand stitching. I suck at using a machine.) Sneak couldn't care less about doing anything with fiber or cloth. She's more about seeking the independence of being able to master skills Boo's already learned and perfectly happy at the moment just wrapping a bandana around her dolls for "dressmaking." 

It's amazing to see how alike sisters can be while also being polar opposites in other areas. Or maybe it's just interesting to me since I just had a much younger brother growing up as a basis for comparison. LB and I always had far more differences than similarities.

* I apologize for the horrible quality of the photos. Nearly all of our candid shots of the girls are taken with Hubby's phone since the camera's usually too far away to grab before the girls notice. Once that happens, all you can get are cheesy grins. 

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