Last week the twins' had their Sports Day and H won a bronze in the class race. Instead of celebrating, my first reaction was to look out for N and her reaction. The thing is, N is the sporty one. She's the one who comes home with a medal and is heartbroken if she doesn't get her moment on the victory stand.
H makes things worse by not being sensitive at all. I could almost see him revelling in his medal and how that would make matters worse for N. So when I went to pick them up I hugged them both, underplaying H's victory.
As it turned out, to his complete credit and my amazement, H was pretty nonchalant about the whole thing and didn't blow his trumpet one bit. Very surprising indeed!
What surprised me even more was N’s reaction. She was a little upset I could tell, but she kept a smile firmly on her face and was over it soon enough. It might have to do with the fact that she was part of the gymnastic display and so didn’t mind not winning. It might have to do with her recent dance performance where she'd taken centre-stage already.
It brought home the importance of helping kids find their niche – something they’re good at – academics or a sport, a dance form or a musical instrument. It does wonders for their self-esteem and allows them to handle failure better. That’s what seemed to have worked for N.
Maybe I’m over analyzing this and the kids are just growing up.
Whatever it is, I was a relieved mum that day. I do have a regret though - I wish I'd had that one moment of unadulterated happiness and of praise for H – it was the first time he had won at sports since when he was a toddler.
That’ll remain with me a long time.
It's good for the kids though: to learn to look beyond themselves - to be empathetic as also to be happy for a sibling or a friend.
If you have more than one child tell me how you handle it when one child does really well and the other doesn't? How do you praise one child while comforting the other?