Boys will be boys

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Joshua at the pumpkin farm

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Nicholas was a big hit at the family reunion

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Nicholas is almost always happy

When the two littlest cousins get together, which isn’t often enough to suit me, they still kind of ignore each other. Nicholas is 2 1/2 and developmentally and physically delayed because of his Down syndrome, and Joshua is nearly two (next month) and exceptionally bright, or at least we think he is, but we’re his grandparents and he lives with us, so we may be a wee bit biased, but I don’t really think so. It’s becoming more obvious, now that they have passed the infant stage, that Joshua is out-distancing his older cousin in large and fine motor skills and language development. He is speaking in sentences, and we don’t always understand every word he says, but he usually gets his point across without much effort on our part. Nicholas has yet to say more than mama, but he is making animal sounds when he sees the pictures. They work with him every day in his day care that specializes in Down’s children. He also goes to speech therapy and physical therapy on a weekly basis. He wears ankle braces, and because of hip problems, walks with a kind of stiff-legged gait. A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that Joshua was paying close attention to Nicholas when he walked. Before long, Joshie was splaying his legs like Nicholas and mimicking his stiff legs as he walked around. He only did it for a few minutes until, I suppose, he got bored with it and moved onto something new, but I’ve also noticed that he mimics some of Nicholas’ other actions from time to time. I’m wondering, is Joshie showing signs of empathy and gearing his actions so that Nicholas won’t feel out-of-place, or are we raising a future little bully? I haven’t seen signs of Joshie being unkind or mean to animals or other kids his age, although he hasn’t really been around many since he isn’t in day care or nursery school yet. But he does try to kick out if he’s angry or frustrated about something. I’m hoping that this is just normal two-year-old toddler behavior and not a sign of future problems, especially between him and Nicholas. Obviously, it’s up to the adults who love him to teach him compassion and restraint, because none of us subscribe to that saying “boys will be boys.” I believe that Nicholas, with his beautiful sunny smile that crinkles up his whole face, and his warm enveloping hugs, will overcome any need on Joshie’s part to push him around. I’m hoping that Joshie will grow into the kind of kind, caring, empathetic person that his older brothers and sister have become. I pray that David and I will live long enough to see them grown up and living happy lives. And I fervently hope that Joshie will always stand up for and defend his wonderful big cousin Nicholas. A grandparent couldn’t ask for anything more.

See you soon,

Susan

4 thoughts on “Boys will be boys

  1. We always want them to get along and help each other and stay close. I, too, hope we live long enough to see what our grands will be, will turn in to. All three have the same parents but are so different.

    I think Joshua’s behavior is normal 2-year-old behavior. You will see as they grow. He probably doesn’t even understand yet, but he will.

    What beautiful boys they both are.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bella, I’m sure you are right. They are both such sweet and loving little boys. When Joshua is old enough to understand, of course we will explain why Nicholas is a little different than other kids. I’m not really that worried, but it was just one of those moments, you know, that hit your heart like a sledgehammer. It’s something I don’t think I will ever forget.

      Thank you. xoxo

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  2. Ah Susie, she of the observant eye and questioning mind (not to mention the warm heart), this was such a thoughtful post. I am inclined to think that Joshua is simply replaying, in an innocently curious way, what he sees in Nicholas. Surely he’s too young, and most importantly, as yet unexposed to the taunting cruelty that children can be capable of, for his mimicking to be interpreted any anything other than intrigue.
    In any case, your influence, along with the wisdom you bring to the table, will have a profound effect on him and his cousins, both directly and through their parents. Everyone is most fortunate to have grandparents who are so involved in their lives. You are a Family, truly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Deb, sometimes the littlest moments give you pause, don’t they? It’s a wonder that I even saw it, considering how I’m usually buzzing around getting the meal together. I know you’re right. I think that Joshua is also a very keen observer and pays close attention to everything that is going on around him. He rarely misses anything, which makes it difficult to get one over on him sometimes. 🙂 It makes me sad, though, to know that he is this incredibly bright and smart little being, and that Nicholas will most likely never become that. Of course, he will make up for that in being a most wonderful and loving person whom everyone will love in return, but still, there’s that little place in my heart that hurts for what could have been.

      Thank you for your kind and loving words, my dear friend. xoxo

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