|image from babyeckhardt.blogspot.com|
Don't let the boys fool you - they switch roles all the time. For a while Gavin will be the bull in the china shop, while Garrett is Mr. Thinker. Gavin will be more clingy and need more hugs at bedtime and then Garrett will assume the role for a while. These days Garrett's taken on something similar to 'Ramona the Pest' and often hauls off and hits Gavin, for reasons both prompted and unprompted. He likes to stick his hands in his brother's face and play footsie in the stroller when Gavin's made it clear that he's not in the mood. Sometimes it's Gavin that will run full speed ahead and try something new, but Garrett is no shy guy either. He's a climber and a jumper, and these days he likes all things high and fast. Hence both boys' fascination with rocket ships? I digress. Gavin can be just as brave and strong, but sometimes he needs a little coaxing, encouragement, or someone to lead by example. And Garrett too, sometimes just needs a little extra
prompting, or fire under his tush.
A little peer pressure or friendly competition can be a good thing. Case in point at dinnertime. Wrapping up a meal will often sound like this...
"Garrett, since you're not eating your kiwi can Gavin have it?"
"Well buddy, you're not eating it and we don't want to waste it. It would be nice to share with your brother."
"Ok, well Gavin is going to get his treat since all of his dinner is gone. Finish up your fruit."
"Alrighty, I'll clean up your plate then, but no treat (no, I'm not above a little bribery. I call it 'positive coercion.') If Gavin eats his treat and still wants more, I'll just save your kiwi for him."
And just like that Garrett will finally vaporize his remaining kiwi. Because God forbid Gavin get to have it.
I'll admit, though, that the peer pressure of one boy saying to another in the early morning or at the end of nap time, "Brother, waaaaaaake up! Brother, up!" is not so helpful.
Ok, so you win some and you lose some.
But having your other half lead by [positive] example is a good thing too. And the cheering for each other that follows is even better. Yesterday at the playground Gavin was a little too scared to go down the high, swirly slide at first. Garrett was already at his second or third turn (no help from Mama needed from him), when I said, "Garrett, Gavin seems a little nervous. Can you show him how fun this slide is?" So as Gavin peered from the hole in the tunnel, Garrett went down again. "Yaaaaaay!" erupted from both boys and in an instant Gavin had the courage to take his try at the slide too. "My turn," he said as he scrambled up the ladder. And that's all it took...a little courage from 'big brother' to realize he could do it too. The rest of their time was spent scrambling up even higher ladders and whizzing down faster slides.
So even though they fight, scream, and pin each other down with WWF-like moves, having a little nudge/help/encouragement from best friend, best brother really does seem to trump all.