Here are some facts about my boy tweens:
1. One is 10, the other is 12.
2. They are very different.
3. My eldest tween causes me inexplicable angst; my youngest tween radiates happiness. The result is that I have better times with my youngest. This makes me feel Extremely Guilty.
4. Eldest has been moody from the year dot. He didn't smile 'til he was three. When I took him out of the house as a baby, he would shut down and pretend to be asleep, rather than have to look anyone in the eye. He is hard work, still. Youngest is always cheery. From a young age, he somehow fundamentally knew how to make people smile at him. With him. Lucky bugger.
5. Eldest has a hard time making friends. I have tried helping him, but have failed. Youngest has a wide network of friends. He rubs this in the face of Eldest. This does not help matters.
6. Eldest has headaches and it looks like he may be prone to depression - just like my family. Youngest is fit and well. Guilt.
7. Eldest needs me. He needs me to be around. I find it stifling. My youngest is more independent, even at the tender age of 10. He would live down the road with his mates if he could. Playing loud music. And cruising up and down on their bikes. Nodding at girls.
Before I had kids, I thought that if I had two of the same sex, they'd be roughly similar. I didn't factor in the bazookons of gene combinations that go into making up a tiny person; didn't realise that my tiny people would be turn out to be Mr Bean and Mr Darcy.
It is not, of course, as bad as all that. Eldest tween is fabulously practical, can wield an axe, loves bushcraft, likes to be in charge, has a great sense of humour, and is widely academic; I am biased of course, but he is a wonderful mathematician, writes beautifully and his art is stunning (this from one who can draw a damn good stick man and not much else). Youngest cannot keep up with that.
But academia is not everything. Indeed, at this stage in life, it is not much at all. I just want Eldest to be happy. To be more confident, to have at least one good friend, to never feel afraid. To enjoy school. To be a bit naughty. To not try so hard.
And so we go into another school year with Eldest worrying about friendships, added to which, puberty is knocking at his door. I always tell him I love him. Always hug him. Am always there for him.
But I know that this is not enough. It will not do.
I just don't know how else to make him happy.
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