Thursday, November 13, 2008


I'll always wonder what Declan would be like if he had grown up as the oldest child of three, rather than the middle child of eight, as he is here. Older children are generally higher achievers than their younger siblings and, from my experience, tend to have much stronger personalities. Younger kids tend to be pleasers, as I can attest.

But every time I lament the Declan I'll never know, something happens that makes me realize the benefit of having older siblings around to look up to. (No, Erika and Hilary teaching Declan to dress up in princess dresses was not such a benefit.) And right now, it's homework.

Declan is obsessed with homework. He sees Erika, Hilary, and Jazzy doing it each day after school and so desperately wants to be a big kid like them. So I printed out some worksheets and have him practice his letters in a spiral bound notebook. He does his homework each day like the older girls and beams with pride when he learns a new letter. He's getting better and better at writing his name, though yesterday he wrote "Decalin" at the top of his worksheet. That actually impressed me, because that's how some of his friends say his name and it means Declan might actually be sounding out the letters in his name rather than just copying.

Would Declan be so driven to learn if he didn't have his older cousins to mimic? I don't know. Perhaps he'll tire of the homework when he's actually required to complete it, as Erika has. But until then, I'll enjoy the huge smile on his face when I congratulate him on the proper execution of a "C" (it's harder than you think) or a careful printing of his name, all the letters in the right order ("I ran out of room," he says, when I question why he sometimes puts the "N" in front of the "D").

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