Confidence can be a variable thing in my house.

When Prole1 was very small, before Prole2 was around, in fact when he had just learned to walk, we were in a small Co-op in Newlyn.
He found a can of beans and lifted them off the shelf.

Me: What have you got?

Prole1: Beans.

Me: Do you want to buy them?

Prole1: Yeh

Me: OK, here is a pound, go and pay for them at the counter.

Prole1 stumped off down the shop. There was no way he could see over the counter but he managed to get the can of beans up into the bagging area.

Prole1: There you go Man. My got pound.

And he placed the pound coin next to the beans. This being Newlyn in the real world and not a Richard Curtis movie the young lad on the till stared at him like he was a talking wheelclamp or something just as improbable and then did his best to ignore the hard stare he was getting in return.
I would have been quicker to rescue Prole1 if Loz and I had not been giggling at the other end of the shop.

Prole1 has spent most of his life socially bomb proof.
Prole1 would try anything if he thought it was ‘the thing to do’.
He was an awful swimmer, just dreadful, but he squeezed into a wetsuit, put on a surf life saving uniform, grabbed a surfboard four feet taller than himself and hauled it down the beach for his fist surf life saving session.
When he was invited to act as a DJ by a theatre company for the work they were doing in a large Literary festival, Prole1, aged five, hardly blinked.
When it came to the festival itself he walked out onto the stage, spoke clearly into the microphone and played an hour of his favourite tunes.
He has been doing this on and off ever since.

When we are in the house however, he likes to be in the same room as me or Prole2.

Prole2 could not care less which room he is in and left to his own devices I only really see him when he is hungry.
He is not too phased by social situations but only if he is standing just behind Prole1.
Sometimes it is comforting to have a gobby older sibling.

He is currently going through a phase where he regularly gets worried in the night and comes into my room.

Prole1 is the sort of child who can order for himself, check items on the menu for meat content and go up to the counter to purchase extra cakes, drinks and stuff I may have forgotten.
Prole2 is good for getting things out from under the table.

Prole2 has a wide circle of friends and is very happy to take on adventures, imaginary worlds and physical games, as long as he has back up.

Prole2: We are Fighting!

He points to a group of children who he has just left.

Me: Real Fighting?

Prole2: NOOooo! Playing fighting.

Me: Ok. Why did you leave them?

He began rolling up a trouser leg to revael a huge graze that was oozing blood and already starting to run down his leg.

Prole2: I am bleeding too much, It’s all tickly and my trousers are sticking.

Me: Ok. Um. Let me get a wet wipe…um…

Prole2: Yes. Then I will go back to them.

This from the boy who is too scared to flush the toilet because the noise is too scary.

The real shock came from Prole1.
We were in a Penzance cafe and he wanted another drink.
I automatically gave him some money and told him to go and get one.
He Froze.

Prole1: I am scared.

Me: Scared of what?

Prole1: Of asking.

I was about to tell him not to be so silly and get on with it but I looked and I could see he was starting to cry.
Prole2 looked worried.

Prole2: Well I’m not going.

I told them both to sit down and relax and that everything was ok.

As I started to walk towards the counter and tried to work out what had just happened.
As I walked up I realised I was a bit tense.
I took a moment to think about that and it came as a bit of a shock to remember, I have always been a bit nervous about shops, counters, ordering and paying for things.
I pretended to look at the cakes whilst I had a bit of a poke about in my brain.
I remembered that when I was about twelve I could hardly walk into a shop on my own let alone pay for something.
I had squashed this down because, well because you have to as an adult.
It had been squashed down for so many years I had forgotten all about it.
That said I am now forty three and this was no time to revert to childhood.
I rearranged everything back to where it had been in my mind and ordered some apple juice.

I came back to the table with a new found respect for what Prole1 had been able to do, at least up until that point.

He has come back to being a socially confident young man who seems to really enjoy meeting, talking an interacting in a way I find impossible.
I really respect him for that and he is back to being fairly self sufficient.
Most of the time.
Perhaps that scare brought him a bit closer to the world I live in.

Loving your kids is easy, learning form your kids is part of being a parent.
Finding out that your children have talents and resources you don’t is humbling.

It’s a bit annoying that when we sit in a cafe I can’t just automatically send them to the counter.

Sometimes I have to do it all by myself.