When I was young, I always assumed that when I grew up, I would get married to a tall man with a nice smile, and have a boy and a girl. One of each, job done, roses round the door, thank you very much.
So two boys (and a failed marriage) later, my 'one of each' dream shattered into tiny manly pieces, I comforted myself by thinking: two boys from the same gene pool. They'll be pretty similar, if not just like twinnies. They'll like the same stuff, want to do the same stuff, act the same way. Ha! to one of each! This is going to be a piece of piss!
I look back at my naive former self and wonder how I could be so deluded. In truth, my boys couldn't be more different.
The evidence for this was plain even when they were didders. As a baby, teen would go to bed early, and wake up early. Sometimes at a time beginning with a five. (This was unpleasant.) And when he was up, he was immediately full of beans, wanting company, wanting attention, wanting, wanting, wanting...
Tween, once we had extracted THE DUMMY and settled his sleeping down, was a later riser. And when he did wake up, his mood would be veiled until toast and telly twonked him into life. But he was happier on his own, more independent...easier.
Teen grimaced throughout his early years. Tween smiled. Teen loves tomatoes, hates green beans. Tween hates tomatoes, loves green beans. Teen has a small head. Tween has a fat head. Teen wears glasses and gets headaches. Tween does not. Teen is co-ordinated. Tween has hands like hams.
Teen is obsessive. Tween couldn't care less.
I could go on but frankly, I'm starting to bore myself now - you probably left ages ago to make a cup of tea. My point is, it would be much easier to describe their similarities than differences.
What seems to have happened is that, at the point of insemination of Teen, my ex's genes muscled in. In a recent study (done by me, with a whopping total of three respondents), I've noticed that first borns, very generally, seem to be more like their fathers. I read somewhere - or maybe I made it up - that this is some evolutionary development which means that the father is less likely to reject the child.
Whether it's hokem or not, son #1 in our household is pretty much an exact replica of his Dad. And, bearing in mind that I left his Dad because of who he was, this can cause some heavy internal wrangling inside my head.
Son #2 has my genetic make-up, so even when he's being a complete shit, I can see why - I just know - and so I tend to cut him some slack.
This all makes for very complex and sometimes extremely bad parenting on my behalf (which I touched on in previous post: Do I love my children equally?)
And they fight. My God, they fight. I wonder sometimes if, if they were just a tiny bit more similar, that they would have more empathy with each other - and perhaps there would be less back-thumping, goolie-kicking, name-calling and worst of all, not saving the other's xbox game like they promised. Or whether, actually, the horrors of sibling rivalry would happen however much they had in common.
By the way, it's now 10.20am. Teen has been up for ages, itching to get out and about. But I can still hear Tween snoring in his cave.
It's going to be another long day.