I have only two children and with these two, there seems to be absolutely no middle ground so I was surprised yesterday to discover how trapped DeDe was in the middle of C.S.'s different abilities.
I first realized this driving in to school as I was quizzing DeDe for an upcoming science test. Surprising us both, a little voice kept chiming in quickly from the back seat. C.S. knew all the answers as DeDe remarked indignantly "without even studying and I'm the one in 5th grade!" After school, while doing homework, I was quizzing her on multiplication tables. She needs constant practice because it is just not sinking in easily. I made certain we were in a different room, but we both heard C.S. laugh from the stairs when, while just on fours, she missed an answer — for which he got a quick and stern reminder that he needs to be considerate and understanding of others. But he could easily see how DeDe was nearly destroyed by this — big sister was in tears — and pretty soon so was he. Good grief. As I moved back and forth trying to console my children, my daughter, who was so totally confounded by her little brother, tearfully confessed her fear that he would make it to college before her. Always competitive, she realized perfectly how many ways she was at risk of loosing out to him.
I explained to them both that they've been given very different gifts. DeDe is a passionate artist and natural athlete (and, she insists, blessed with the ability to talk to animals in their own language) and C.S. a glutton for facts and figures. They both agreed to the assessment — but it was small comfort to DeDe. She is an exceptional young lady herself, still I can see how she might feel caught in the middle of her brother's more dramatic extremes.
Silver Lining: One of my favorite quotes, I'm not certain from who, friend or celebrity, is "Why be Normal. Normal is boring." Never a dull moment around here.