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“Hey Mom, what number comes before Infinity?”

Hello Everyone! I hope all is well with you! I’m back today discussing a parenting issue that has reared its ugly head. Here’s how it all started. I was taking my kids to the library this week when out of the blue my five-year-old trumpets from the back seat…

“Hey Mom, what number comes before infinity?”

I was taken aback by the question for a second and then I answered. “Infinity isn’t really a number…it’s a concept.”

I held my breath for a moment waiting for the dreaded question…what’s a concept?

I quickly added (so I didn’t have to explain the term concept). “You’ll learn more about infinity in High School.”

He seemed satisfied with that answer and looked out the window at the world rushing by, while I breathed a sigh of relief. J

Then I started thinking about my spunky little man. He’s so smart. Where did this question come from?

Then it hit me, the movie Toy Story. Now, I’m sure everyone is familiar with the movie and Buzz Lightyear’s catch phrase. “To Infinity and Beyond!”

I also say this to my kids every night. “Do you know how much I love you?”

They’ll grumble and roll their eyes and say, “To Infinity and beyond.” J

Yeah, I know it’s corny, but I’ve got to be me! You know?

This five second conversation started my wheels turning. I thought about the differences between my two boys. My oldest is a gentler soul, more empathetic and laid back than my youngest.

My five-year-old has a very competitive nature; he’s reading at the first grade level because he wants to be just like his big brother. He’s also a striver, meaning he will work at something until it’s completed. He’ll cry because he’s so frustrated and he still won’t give up.

Both have admirable qualities, but I’m seeing a pattern that concerns me. The pattern I see is that my oldest gives up on learning a new skill very quickly because he feels that his younger sibling will out perform him.

To remedy this, I’m trying to develop activities that he does without his brother.  I’m scheduling time for my first born to spend time with his dad alone, so they can bond and build my son’s self-confidence.

It worked beautifully while we were on vacation. My seven-year-old learned to snorkel and he loved it! He would spend hours in the water snorkeling with his dad. I was so thankful that this opportunity presented itself to us. He would come back from snorkeling, so excited and explain everything to me. This event piggybacked right on the swimming lessons the boys took before vacation, so my first born’s confidence level soared! It was so great to see him feel good about himself.

While my seven-year-old and his dad played in the water, my youngest and I played Monopoly and wouldn’t you know it, the little stinker beat me! LOL!

I realize that this isn’t the only solution to this issue and I’m starting to research ways to handle it. I also know this will probably be a life-long issue for our family.  So, if anyone out there has had some experience with this situation (where a younger sibling out performs the older one) I would love to hear your stories and I would welcome your suggestions. Please leave a comment and share your wisdom!

Thanks so much!


I'm a Young Adult Author with two new series, "The Starlight Chronicles" and "The Super Spies." The first one's a coming of age series and the second one's a mystery/thriller series. I'm also the mother of two boys who keep me hopping and they're my inspiration for everything. When I'm not shuttling my boys to school or a play date, I'm writing. When I'm not writing, I'm reading, hiking, or sometimes running. I love anything chocolate and scary movies too.

4 thoughts on ““Hey Mom, what number comes before Infinity?”

  1. I was always the one that lagged behind in just about everything, from grade school all the way through college which I never graduated from. That’s why on my FB wall you see I’m a graduate fron the University of Hard Knocks.
    I never made National Honors Society like my older brother. Or studied Russian literature, ect like my younger sister.
    But I have something neither of them can ever say-I’m a multi published author.
    Let your kids find their way in life, with parental guidence, and you’ll be surprised at how great, each in their own way, they turn out.

      1. Thanks for stopping by Ann! I’m glad you agree with focusing on the strengths of the child. We spend way to much time on the weaknesses! 🙂 Focusing on their strengths will also build their self-esteem. 🙂

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