One of the unexpected pleasures of being a dad has been watching my kids’ brains slowly turn on bit by bit and develop in unexpected directions. Jason’s mental skills are a bit on the “flashy” side; the kind of stuff that could win his old man bar bets, if he drank. At age 4, he can read at a 2nd-grade level, write stories and do addition and multiplication.
Scotty, meanwhile, still seems largely puzzled by the whole reading thing, but his brain is whizzing along on a different path. Recently he pointed at a car and said, “that’s like Daddy’s car!” My first reaction was no it isn’t, til I noticed that it was a Buick Century — like ours — only white where ours is silver. Since then, he’s ID’d several makes of vehicles based on body style, which is impressive to me since I can’t do it (just wash your car and it’s pretty well disguised to me). On our recent trip to Minnesota he was fascinated with the relatively novel bodystyle of a Jeep Wrangler so his new hobby is spotting them on the road. Last week he spotted a Cherokee SUV and correctly ID’d it as a “Jeep” even though he’d only ever seen Wranglers up to that point. I don’t know how he does it.
What’s apparent is that Scotty is a visual learner with an affinity for spotting and matching shapes and patterns, and open to variations within those pattern sets, where Jason is more literal-minded and mathematical, and demanding of precision and conformity. Either way they’re wonderfully bright kids and it’s tremendous fun watching their brains develop. Or at least it will be until they surpass mine in about a year or so, at which point I’m going to be in some serious doo-doo.