Yesterday I pick the boys up from school and Alan's teacher had a smile on her face she was clearly trying to mute. All she explained was that she had mistakenly referred to me as his daddy and Alan had just told her how to tell apart his daddy and his papa. As we walked away, I asked him what made his teacher laugh.
He told me, with his characteristic smirk, that he explained his "daddy is hairy and papa is bald". Very funny, Alan, just like your brother.
A picture of us from our California marriage last month. Clearly, I'm not bald; I've distinguished-gentleman thinning, but not bald, right?
Anyway, such distinctions were kind of the theme of yesterday. It's also kind of fitting my last post was on genetic differences in the abilities of humans.
With twins it seems people, us included, can't help but compare no matter how hard we try. They really are very different kids, and I'd actually say, at this point in our family's life, being the parents of twins has added far more complication into the average parenting job than being gay parents.
Our boys were academically evaluated by their teachers yesterday. They are in separate classes just to minimize on their self and peer comparisons; no one wants to be defined by their brother. I have to say putting them in separate classes has been one of the best decisions we've made as parents of twins (thanks to those parents of twins who informed us on this one).
Anyway, they are both the youngest in their classes. We could have held them back, but, when tested, they were ready for kindergarten last year. Trouble is, well, it's probably best explained by the teacher's evaluation from yesterday.
Brian is "at the tippy-top of the class." He's "reading at an 8th grade level" and his reading comprehension is at "a 4th grade level." In short, he's an abnormally smart 6-year-old, especially for being the youngest in his class. He has asked for and keeps a calculator and a dictionary by his bedside. He's a self-motivated reader (not to mention piano practice). He's been corresponding via email with his adult relatives in Moab and his kindergarten teacher all summer. He says he wants to start a blog ("write on the internet") but that's where I've drawn the line.
Alan, he needed tutoring over the summer, but he's keeping up. I don't want to give the impression he's doing poorly; there are older kids lagging behind him. He's at his grade level and, if not for his brother, he'd not notice anything, but the contrast with his brother is apparent to Alan. He gets mad at Brian when he tries to help him with homework. Last month my cousin asked him if he was the "smart one" and Alan answered "No, but I'm more funny" (Note to people who aren't parents of twins: never ask such questions). In truth, he may have fared better if he was the oldest in his grade, but they're both qualified by minimum age and ability to be in 1st grade, and, really, we couldn't split them up in different grades of course; that'd be humiliating.
It probably doesn't help either that humans have been so enthralled with competitive twin stories: Jacob and Esau, Ahura Mazda and Angra Mainyu, Spock and Spock with a goatee. People seem to like such twin narratives so much that asking stuff like "are you the smart one" seems okay.
I guess I'm soliciting parents of twins (or twins) to tell me it'll be okay :-). They're both such special people in their own way, and if they were carbon copies of each other I know our family would miss out on a lot. I know having your abilities come to you easily is not always a blessing either; so what if Alan has to work more? I just fear, being a twin, Alan will never regard himself himself as "the smart one" despite the fact that he is very smart, despite his undeniably quick wit.
(and extra special kudos to anyone who knows why I picked such a silly title)