Jack and Alaster are very different boys. Very. This summer has really highlighted their differences in personality, interests, etc. for me.
Alaster is my inside guy. He loves to play card and board games, play pretend with toys by himself, snuggle, watch shows, and be with me doing things around the house.
Jack is my outside guy. He wants to be surrounded by friends, riding bikes, showing each other tricks, going on adventures at the creek, and just generally running around being active and having fun. He’s always looking for someone to play frizbee, or kick/throw a ball around with.
And of course their differences go far beyond these things! They have different talents, different weaknesses, and different ways of looking at the world and processing experiences and people.
Despite all of these things though… Jack and Alaster are *almost always* the best of friends. In fact a while back I’d say they reached a turning point where they were/are in trouble more often because of being friends (getting into trouble together doing things they shouldn’t… or just. not. settling. down!) rather than because they are fighting. It’s hilarious, sweet, rewarding, and highly entertaining to observe their little friendship.
One day they were locked like that for a long time before I finally asked… “Hey guys…uhhhh… watcha doin’ there?” Answer: ” Counting each others eyelashes.” They also do this just for fun “Hey let’s smash our faces together, okay?” (giggle,giggle) and in the grocery store as they try to walk down the aisles without crashing. We get quite the looks, I assure you.
They do these things… like counting each others eye lashes… or doing a soft stand-up hug while watching TV (a trust exercise… “you’re not going to squeeze hard and start wrestling me are you?”)… and I just observe, laugh, and wonder where the heck do they come up with it???
Sometimes they spend whole afternoons on projects with each other. One day it was covering themselves with paper to look like REAL dinosaurs. Jack made them loads of origami claws, and they just cut, taped and colored the rest. They seriously thought they could fool people. I don’t think they ever got further than their arms though:
One thing that helps their friendship is Alaster’s forgiving nature. Once we read a Friend Article about forgiveness and we discussed letting things go and not holding grudges (hoping to inspire one of our children… :)). Alaster piped right up: “I’m really good at that! Jack calls me a name and like 4 seconds later I already forgot!” And it’s so true. He’s so quick to forgive Jack, forget, and get back to the fun. And if you know Jack’s… ummmm…. passionate nature… it’s a good thing Alaster is this way!
Another thing that is great for their friendship is Jack’s vast knowledge. Jack loves to learn and is definitely the authority in our house on many subjects… snakes and insects, Star Wars, Harry Potter, sharks, deadly animals in general, volcanoes, tornadoes… oh all sorts of things really! And Alaster is more than happy to hear what he knows and to ask him questions when he wonders about something. One morning I was awake lying in bed when I heard them stir and knew they were waking up. The first words out of their mouths that day was the following conversation that shows the breadth and variety of Jack’s knowledge:
Jack: “Do you remember when you asked me who invented jeans?”
Jack: “I remember now. Levi Strauss.”
I’d say at least half of their conversations is Jack teaching Alaster about something. And I can’t tell you how often Alaster makes a statement about something and inevitably tacks on “right Jack?” at the end. I’m glad Jack is happy to share his information, and I’m glad that Alaster finds it all so fascinating. 🙂 Although, I have wondered if Alaster really does care about these things, or whether he just likes talking to his cool older brother. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn it’s the latter. Cute, cute.
One morning this summer they took turns reading to each other as they snuggled on the couch. After the books had been discarded they just laid there. Laying turned into whacking each others faces and trying to shake water out of a water bottle at each other. Whacking and shaking turned to wrestling. You can see the progression:
It’s so often like that. They start out doing something quiet but it ends in wrestling…
I am a mother of boys for sure!
Another difference: Jack is *almost always* truthful (can’t remember the last time he uttered a falsehood). Alaster… well… he’s working on it. Corey and I once overheard the funniest argument. It started with some outlandish lie Alaster told Jack, then:
Jack: “I don’t believe you!”
Aly: “You HAVE to believe me!”
Jack: “No I don’t. You are FULL of LIIIIIIIIIEES!”
Aly: “Well… I’m not FULL of lies. Some of me has truth. The bottom part of me IS lies, but the top part is the truth!”
From there the argument was completely forgotten as they tried to decide together, fairly and accurately, just how much of Alaster is lies and how much is truth? Up to his knees? Up to his Belly Button? His Armpits? I can’t remember where they landed. I’d have said at least to his belly button if they asked my opinion 🙂 (Don’t worry… Alaster is so perfectly sweet and wonderful in so many other ways. The boy had to have a few flaws!)
Nighttime lately has been a challenge. They just can’t stop talking and playing long enough to fall asleep. Sometimes I get upset about it. Other times I’m just glad they are friends. After one enlightening moment I found myself wishing I could be a fly on the wall up there! Alaster, one day…out of no where… asked me for a massage. I can’t remember why, but I told him “no.” Jack who had been sitting on the couch reading peeked over his book to reassure Aly “Don’t worry. I’ll give you one tonight.” And they explained that on occasion they like to give each other back massages before bed.
If you ask the boys they will tell you their best friend is each other. I asked Jack today what he likes about Alaster and he said “he’s so funny,” (yes he is!) and “also he has a great sense of humor. That’s different than being funny. It means you appreciate other people being funny and he always laughs at my jokes!” I asked Alaster the same question to which he just ran over and gave Jack a monstrous hug. Yep Mr. Morgan. Way to sum it up!