My three-year-old Đán and my six-year-old Đạo have very different ways of dealing with their emotion. Although Đán is younger, he is stronger in both physical and emotional. He doesn’t get offended easily. That’s why I love messing with him because he has a comeback for everything. When I joked, “I am going to smack you on your butt.” He would replied, “I’ll smack you on your face.” Because he doesn’t take insults too serious, he would always win verbal augments over Đạo. Even though Đạo knows more words than Đán, he gets extremely mad when the little guy said something back to him.
Đán also has a charming side. When he hurts someone unintentionally. He would give that person a kiss and make sure that whoever he hurt is OK. I often faked hurting just so he could give me a kiss. Đán loves dinosaurs and has no problem watching them eating each other on the Discovery channel. I am a bad parent for letting him watching violent video, but he understands that some dinosaurs eat other dinosaurs.
In addition, Đán always cracks me up. Like yesterday when I spilled coffee on the floor, he criticized me, “Daddy, you’re bad coffee bringer.” When I mopped up the floored, he gave me a compliment, “Daddy, you’re good cleaner.” This morning he wanted to eat instant noodle and I offered to cook for him, but he turned me down, “No daddy, you’re a bad cook. You burned popcorns the other day.” So his mom had to cook for him. I didn’t mind at all.
Đạo, on the other hand, takes emotion way too deep. I don’t mess around with him much because he could be easily offended. When he doesn’t get what he wanted, he would cry, “Nobody loves me.” Đạo is a very smart kid, but his emotion is his weakness. When I said no to him, he would say something like, “I don’t love you and I won’t get you any Lego for your birthday.” If I wanted to piss him off, all I had to say was, “I’ll buy [his favorite Lego] for myself.” He would go berserk. Then I have to calm him down. Sometimes I feel really horrible, but I don’t want him to be too emotional. It breaks my heart to see him takes things too serious.
Đạo’s charming, however, always melted my heart. He is a mama’s boy and has no problem express his love for her. Even when he was mad at her or vice versa, he always made sure that his mama still loved him. What he did yesterday made me all choked up and I would never forget the emotion on his face. Before going to school, he handed his mom his very favorite Lego figure and told her, “Mommy I want you to keep this so that when you miss me you could look at him.” I must admit. I was very envy of her. He never ever expressed that sentiment to me. What a lovely boy.
I talked to my wife every now and then about the kids’ emotional states. I sympathize and worry about Đạo. One day, a girl will break his heart if he doesn’t stay strong. In contrast, my wife feels bad for Đán. In a way, we treat him like he’s a big kid, but he’s only three. We unintentionally compare him to his older brother. I love Đán, but I am not worried about him as much. He always showed his independency. He can take care of himself and his older brother. I can’t wait to see how the third boy express his emotions.