If there's one obvious difference between my children, it's in how they approach problems.  I love both these girls and they are each brilliant in their own way.  But there is a very different process that each one uses to address a task that needs to be done.  

A couple of weeks ago, we attended an event for the kids at church.  It was the classic drive-in movie with boxes for cars activity.  If you haven't seen this one before, it's basically a party idea where kids make their own "car" out of a cardboard box.  Then once everyone has completed their "cars," they get to "drive" their cars to the movie theater and sit inside them while watching a movie and eating snacks guaranteed to make any dentist cringe.  It's a brilliant idea... that is, if you're older than forty and can remember drive-in movies.  If you aren't, you will spend your time wondering why you are making a car out of a box to watch a movie without installing a DVD player in the back seat.  Then those parents who are over forty will have to spend their time explaining the concept of drive-in movies to you and your friends and a surprising number of their parents and you'll be all, What? Why would you do that?  And that parent will have no response to that except to mutter, "Well it was cool when I was a kid."

So this was the deal.  They got to choose a box. Stuff to use for the box. Time to decorate the box. And they came up with whatever it was they wanted to do to make their box into a car.

The Caterpillar took a hyper-literal approach to making her car.  First she chose the box, decided what kind of car it would be (an El Camino), then set about adding details to that box to make it resemble a car as much as humanly possible.  Steering wheel, headlights, brake lights, wheels.  Those were the standard on pretty much everyone's car.  Then she turned into the OCDterpillar that we all know and love and decided the car needed a few more "details," which included a door (that opens and closes, despite the fact that she could just step into the car and that made most of the kids happy but no, we had to make a door that opens OR THE WORLD MIGHT SOON END), a handle on the door, a handle on the inside of the door, seats (which she drew on the inside of the box), upholstery over the seats, a license plate (she ran out of time to create the license plate for the front of the car and I suggested that it would be fine without one and believe-you-me, that was an Issue, until a stroke of brilliance in me remembered that in some states a front license plate is not required by law and then we had to adjust the license plate on the back so it came from one of those states), a steering wheel, instrument panel, and a cargo area in the back.  She even drew groceries in the cargo area in the back.

I don't even think I have a picture of the completed car because I grew tired of the, "OK! You're done now, let's go watch the movie!" "No, it just needs this One. More. Thing" exchange that was repeated over and over. The leader running the activity had to call time on her creation or they wouldn't have time to show the movie.  That was the only way she could be done.

The Dormouse was at the activity too and she had grand ideas as well.  She and her friend chose a gigantic box and dubbed it "the mini-van."  Then they spun their wheels for more than an hour, while they schemed and planned and chattered endlessly about all the things their mini-van would have.  They ran around, hunter-gathering supplies to use for their grand plans.  They asked to borrow tape. They used all the tape and asked for more. They threw their bodies upon the floor and rent their garments when there was no more tape and begged me to go to the store for more.  They tried to pin things to the box with thumbtacks.  They asked to borrow flashlights.  They wanted to use a spare tire from my car.  They needed paint. They wished they had flame stickers.  They wanted to take booster seats from someone's car to put in the back of the box.  They needed an iPad.  They went to the kitchen and got one of the biggest knifes I have ever seen, which sent more than a few adults into a tizzy.  They changed their minds about every single decision they made.  Multiple times.  I watched them buzz around this box like worker bees, babbling about how amazing their mini-van would be until time ran out.  Finally, when the leader who was running the activity had to call time on their creation or they wouldn't have time to show the movie.  We all stepped back, looked at their hard work and realized that they had created....

a box.

A box with two rolls of tape stuck to it and a couple of holes cut in the top, but no matter how you look at it, that box did not resemble a car in any way.

There could not be any more obvious example of the differences in how my two children navigate through the world.  This is the procedure each of them follows to do everything from finishing homework to eating dinner.

What's weird is I can see myself in each of them.