One of the biggest challenges I seem to face as a mama of twins is to always make sure that my kids know that I am equally proud of them. Given that I have boy/girl twins and the actuality that they are, in fact, two VERY different little beings (we’re talking night and day, oil and water, hot and cold different), they are naturally going to excel in different areas. It’s up to me to fall all over myself singing their individual praises, while at the same time, not making the other one feel like a complete moron for not necessarily keeping up the same pace.
One of these so-called areas just so happens to be reading. My son’s brain has just turned on like a lightbulb when it comes to figuring out words. He’s just naturally getting it — recognizing letters, piecing together sounds. The dude was able to read the most God-awfully boring book about the sun cover to cover without even batting an eye. He even had to wake me when it was over, that’s how lame the friggin’ thing was. The point, though, was that he was even able to whiz through a scientific snooze fest with no help from me whatsoever. My daughter, on the other hand, has a little more difficulty recognizing sounds, and as a result, gets extremely frustrated when she can’t figure out a word. And what makes it worse is when her little bookworm brother is standing over her shoulder announcing how unfreakingbelievably easy the word is on which she happens to be stuck. I can’t even count how many headache-inducing meltdowns this exact scenario has initiated. In fact, just the other day, she pitched such an enormous hissy fit that she scared the literal piss out of the dog, all because her brother finished his spelling homework before she did. I’ve learned the hard way to be sure to work one on one with them when it comes to anything to do with reading.
Another area that is a major parental balancing act is sports. Both my son and my daughter started playing soccer back in kindergarten. Now that they’re in first grade, they’ve had a good four seasons to get a feel for the game, and I have to say that my daughter is a pretty damn fierce competitor out there on the field. Now, please don’t automatically peg me for the stereotypical “soccer mom”, because I have really tried to just sit back and let the chips fall where they may. However, the girl can really handle the ball and has scored one or more goals at almost every single one of her games. <TOOT!> Yes, I just tooted her horn, but soccer really does seem to be her thang. With my son, though, the story’s a little bit different. He typically likes to pick grass when he’s out on the field and actually spent an entire game with his hands shoved down his pants. (Now, to give him credit, the required uniform shorts are entirely too big, so perhaps his hands were just serving as suspenders.) He has recently started to at least try to make some type of contact with the ball, so I think we’re making progress. Regardless of his playing skills (or lack thereof), I will love and support him just the same as if he were out there bending it like Beckham on that green.
Basically, what it all comes down to is confidence, and that’s what I’m all about instilling. I want to teach my kids to have the guts to challenge themselves, even if they may fail. The truth is that they very well may suck at a thousand different things they try, or they may kick ass and take names along the way. Whatever the case, I am gonna be right there by their side, cheering them on to the point of embarrassment, because that’s what parents do.