This is Samuel at 7:
And this is Oliver at 7:
For a while, they looked very much alike, especially when they were babies, and when they were around 4 years old. But as you can see, Oliver is starting to look less like Sam as he gets older.
They've always had very different personalities too - Oliver is the more boisterous, friendly and outgoing, whereas Samuel was gentle and caring and reserved (sometimes).
And as Oliver gets older, I notice some things that are very similar and some things that are very different...
There are still similarities there. Obviously in a house full of music they both grew up with an appreciation of it (and both went through a 'turn it down mum!' phase).
One thing though is that Oliver sings. All the time. He's always singing to himself (occasionally throwing up some amusing lyrics as he does. And he can actually hold a tune. There's a audio clip of him singing in the shower in this post. He also has a great ear for music, and remembers it really well. Yesterday when we were driving he was singing a tune and he said 'does this sound right?'. I asked him what song it was and he said 'it's the one from Harry Potter when they're walking through the hallways' (or something like that). I didn't even notice that music in the movie, but he's singing it!
I am trying to encourage him to get singing lessons or learn an instrument, but he says he'll only do it with me. But I can only play saxophone well enough to teach someone. I'd rather he played guitar or piano. Perhaps I should learn with him...
Samuel liked to draw, and we often bought him pencils or drawing books. But it was something he did every now and again. As Oliver got older, he would try to draw with Sam, and get frustrated when he couldn't draw the same things.
Lately, Oliver's been drawing a lot. It seems that it's his activity of choice lately. He'll sit for long periods of time just filling pages with little drawings (I've got a really good one at work, I'll bring it home and scan it in).
He takes a lot of time and care with it, and gets upset if it's not working out like he wants it to. I keep telling him he's got good skills for a 7 year old, but he's very intense about it.
Around the house
At the moment, one of the most noticeable differences between Samuel and Oliver is the way they are about housework. Samuel did do a lot of jobs/chores from an early age, but was never really interested in helping out.
Oliver does jobs too, but (very strangely considering the rest of us slobs!) also keeps his room clean, and volunteers to help out quite a lot. Yesterday, he weeded a whole garden bed for us. Yes, I did offer to pay him, but even when he was sick of it and complaining of a sore back, when I told him to take a break he decided to finish.
He's also very different to Sam when it comes to school and homework. Oliver is up, dressed and ready by 7-7:30 most mornings. We always had to drag Sam out of bed, even when he was young. He also used to like watching TV in the mornings, but Oliver often leaves it off.
Oliver also has a really great attitude about homework. Even if he (we) forget and leave it until the last minute, he'll make sure he finishes all of it and hands it in on time. Samuel was never that conscientious about it!
Activity and TV
And Oliver's the sporty one. As I've said before, Samuel liked sport, and went through active phases, but he was never a runner and didn't seek out opportunities to be active.
Oliver loves to run. He runs to school each day and enjoys being outside and active.
He also doesn't watch as much TV as Sam used to. The TV is on a fair bit (bad habit I know!), but he's often off doing something else. There are TV shows he likes, but he's just as happy doing other things. That's OK by me because I don't like TV much either.
Sometimes I wonder if all this is natural. If Oliver would have been like this if Samuel was still alive. Is some of it because he wants the attention, because he wants to please, or is it him? I guess I'll never know, but I'm not complaining. He's nice to have around.