Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Plus ça change plus ça reste la même chose

When Calypso was very young she was extremely shy. She barely spoke to people she knew and she never spoke to strangers. She didn't even want eye contact with strangers. Diana was the one who filled a room and commanded attention with her red hair and matching fiery temperament. But being the younger brunette sister of a larger than life red head can be difficult and it may push one to step outside one's customary bounds.

It took Calypso until she was not quite 4 years old. We were in the local drugstore when, for roughly the millionth time, someone stopped to fuss over Diana by saying, "Where did you get that beautiful red hair?" Enough was enough. Calypso unwrapped her arms from around my leg and marched over to the woman before putting her hands on her hips and staring intently up into the woman's face while demanding, "And what do you think of my beautiful BROWN hair!" I was in shock but amused by her sudden demand for recognition of her worthiness.

When Diana went to Kindergarten Calypso was initially devastated to loose her beloved playmate for half the day. The first 2 days we dropped her sister at school Calypso wept as if in mourning. About a week into the school year she had an epiphany. She came to me very quietly and looked over her shoulder as she whispered in conspiratorial tones, "I'm going to go play with all the toys Diana never shares. Is that ok?" I whispered back with a sly grin, "Have a great time, sweetie." Off she bounded to happily enjoy the forbidden toys.

Calypso has had to follow after her sister all through school. Though she idolizes her sister she has also sought to forge her own identity which is not always easy with some teachers who expect her to be like her sister. Sometimes Calypso has chosen positive ways to distinguish herself, sometimes she has not.

Diana has been in Louisiana for 5 weeks doing hurricane recovery work with her father. Originally Calypso signed up to go for a week and half since there was a large team going for that period of time. She backed out though stating she had decided to go for a bad reason. She had only wanted to be like her sister. She decided maybe it was better to stay home and find a different way to develop. There has been a new confidence in her.

She has also enjoyed getting to watch all the movies and listen to all the music she likes which Diana mocks.

31 comments:

Mona said...

yahtzee!

Mona said...

calypso is the sweetest girl ever.

I say that because she is so like me! :) ( That is the story of my life you just told )

Now if you like me, you have happy news about her future!

( Gosh! I never remember being so immodest..ever..)

RennyBA said...

Children are children and sometimes hard to understand - but the grow and develop and often in an interesting and unexpected way.

I really liked Calypso attitude in the drugstore!

Craver Vii said...

To listen to one's own music without being made fun of. That's a lesson we haven't learned yet at home. One kid likes a particular star waaaay more than anyone else, and we tend to always act annoyed. We really should give her a break.

Red hair worked the opposite way for us. Our oldest is a step-child. Her auburn crown helped her get special attention, which she probably needed.

furiousBall said...

i love little girls, i need to go squeeze mine now :)

NYD said...

The fruit don't fall far from the tree.

You must be an excellent mother. I already feel that you are a teriffic lady.

Knowing why we do things is far more important than the act itself. Calypso is wise beyond her years

EmBee said...

Isn't it a lovely feeling to sit back and watch a small person develop into a self-assured individual. I see little bits and pieces of this taking place every now and again and it never ceases to amaze me.

My daughter has been in movie watching mode too lately... The list has included, 'Ever After' (LOVE this movie and Drew Barrymore), 'Lord of the Rings Trilogy' (Oh, just get that damn ring to Mordor already!), 'Madagascar' (Fun!) and last night I sat down and watched the 3rd installment of 'Pirates of the Caribbean - At Worlds End' with her (Love watching Orlando Bloom!)

Movie watching is a nice break from the heat and humidity.

G-Man said...

A beautiful child she is indeed!!!
So long for a while Limey...G
xoxox

coopernicus said...

As the youngest, I empathize. Take it where you can get it, C!!!!

barman said...

I love what happened at the drugstore. Being teh oldest I have a hard time identifying but I have seen that same thing play out on TV and in other peoples lives. It can not be easy when teachers expect you to be like the sibling and not to be yourself. I also love what happened with the huricane recovery effort. Good for her for realizing that. That is wonderful she is forging her own way in life, good bad or ugly at times. It still is better than being a lemming.

Gosh has it been that long already that they have been gone to Louisana? I know that probably seems much longer to you but wow, time can fly sometimes.

SignGurl said...

Your children echo the beauty that is all YOU!

S said...

I hope Calypso has been playing with all of the toys Diana never shares this time as well!
I have a big sister too. Twice my size, twice the boss....I also survived.

Have a lovely week, Michelle.

Logophile said...

Middle children of the world, untie!
:p
or is that one only for dyslexics?

That Calypso is a clever girl, I like her. I survived a bossy older sister too, Im glad she decided to stay home and feel free to be.

mssolitaire said...

ah yes, the older sibling shadow... I know it all too well...

it's wonderful that Calypso is finding her own path and you are allowing her to make those decisions! :) HUGS!

Suldog said...

Lime:

When I was a bright-orange-haired little boy, I would have given most anything to have had a brown-haired of equivalent age to deflect attention. I absolutely HATED it when well-meaning women would come up and ask about my "lovely" or "beautiful" hair (not words a boy wants to hear, usually.)

Kathryn said...

Wow. You just described my childhood perfectly.
Calipso is so lucky to have you who understands her and her struggle so well. :)

ciara said...

your daughters remind me of mine. i'm sure people are going to start expecting my youngest to be like her older sister in school.

right now, the youngest is her sister's shadow. i can't wait until my youngest becomes her own person and doesn't 'follow' the crowd.

it's great that calypso is there already and knows she was trying to be like her sister when all she really needs to do is be herself.

citizen of the world said...

I've watched a similar dynamic with my two boys - the second child has to work harder to carve out their own way.

Queenie said...

I can so relate to Calipso, I was daughter number 2. I tried for years to achieve at the same things my elder sister did, and failed. It was only when I took my own road, that I found the things that I was successful in. I think it was brilliant how she spoke up about her own beautiful brown hair, I'm feel sure you'll have no problems with Calipso (love her name)....

Fortress Guinness said...

i was permamently trying to lose my younger brother...this was because he was, and remains, an idiot...lol...but hey, he's still my bro and i'll still fight for him if the need arises...!!! ;) xx

KFarmer said...

Your children: each unique, beautiful and wonderful in their own way :)

(; I had the hair~ my younger sister had the beauty, mouth, bubbly personality and out grew me by age 4 ;)

Loved catching up on your blog~ you are always a delight and special treat for me :)

DianeCA said...

I adore your girls. I have boys so I miss out on a lot of that stuff, but I got to be the big sister and know a lot about my younger siblings having to show what they can do in 'Ms. Perfects' wake. I am glad Calypso is true to herself. They will both turn out fabulous!

M said...

sisters....such a complicated relationship sometimes.

Jeni said...

Finding one's particular niche in life can be difficult whether you are up against a sibling with personality, looks. brains, whatever, galore or even if you are an only child and feel you are competing against an unknown, invisible entity. Lucky for Calypso, she's learning those ropes now, at an age young enough that she won't have to contend with this issue well into her waning years -or at least into her 50s and 60s like some of us may have had to do! Tell her to keep on the path she's working now cause it will surely get her where she wants and needs to be!

Moosekahl said...

I've been the older one my whole life, I wonder what my sister is playing with back in my room now that I'm never at the farm :)

david mcmahon said...

Gotta love those children we have....

Jocelyn said...

GOOOOOOOOOOOOO, Calypso! There's an admirable bravery in choosing to "back out" of something like widely-publicized volunteerism. I respect that she saw her motives for what they were and made the kick-ass choice.

How could your kids not rule?

Sandi McBride said...

I think you've pretty well given her a leg up and a boost over the wall of success with that name alone! I love it...I want to change my name to Calypso!
Sandi
ps
congrats on a Post of the Day mention!
David sent me

San said...

Calypso is growing up strong and determined to make her mark. And such beautiful brown hair is hers!

This having the run of the house (somewhat) is good for her, isn't it?

Gledwood said...

TOUCHE! C'EST LA VIE, CA.

MOI JE MANQUE LA VIE EN ROSE...

Cheesy said...

One of those "OMG they are growing up" moments.. relish it!