Saturday, October 29, 2011

Brothers: real-time skill comparison

Teddy, Age 5
Having two boys four years apart means that we constantly witness competition.  A whole series of little competitions.  We hear a regular refrain, plaintively wailed by four-years-younger Teddy: "It's not a race!"  Everything, of course, is a race.

Charlie, Age 9
Because the boys have taken to coloring pages in a coloring book full of vehicles this week, I stumbled upon these two artifacts of their current artistic ability.  What a boon that the book had two pages with the same chopper on it!  Teddy's coloring has come a long way of late, but it's clear that he's still physically incapable of coloring completely within the lines.  Charlie, on the other hand shows not only the practiced skill of a boy who has achieved nearly everything in the coloring book game and will soon leave it behind but his own artistic additions like the flair in the flames on the gas tank and that other part down below. 

I think this competition especially fascinates me as an identical twin because my brother and I were always at the exact same age and developmental stage.  We have older sisters, but that's a totally different thing.  I never had an older brother to test my mettle against, nor a younger brother over whom to lord my greater abilities.  I had a brother my same age over whom to lord my greater abilities (zing!).

Charlie plays the older brother role with physically benevolence.  He does not use his size advantage to rough up Teddy when they play football or wrestle.  He does, however, use his experience and wiles to bend the rules of the game to his advantage, though.  We constantly re-explain that Charlie's conception of even turns on the Wii isn't nearly even.  If you count attempts at the same challenge in any game, Charlie's attempts will always last longer because he's better at every game.  They must count minutes played instead.  Of course, playing head to head would mete out the changes in a far superior way, but they never do because Charlie always wins.

Teddy, for his part alternates between competing far more fiercely than his big brother (truly inspiring tackling technique from a littler combatant) and giving up the fight   altogether (often with tears or whining).  When he hits his mid-teens and his brother is slowed by the freshman 15, Teddy will - due to his rigorous training against, bigger, faster, more experienced competition - start to trounce Charlie in every battle.  The summer of '21 should be very interesting indeed.  I plan to have a front row seat.


Lauren Jackson said...

Nice twist there at the end, and something I never thought of.

Paige said...

@Lauren - never thought of it because you're the older sibling! :)

Anne H. said...

It's fun to see their coloring head-to-head. Charlie is about as benevolent toward Teddy as I think a boy 4 years older could be. He's a great brother. And Teddy has been tested in a crucible that Char hasn't experienced. It will be fun to see how all this is manifested, not only when they're both full-grown but after Charlie hits obvious adolescence. There isn't long to wait for that!

I wish kids had a 2 year rewind button you could use once. I think I'd use it at age 4. Sigh...