In general, Owen presents as more of a tough guy than his brother Lionel. He is more likely to wipe off kisses and only grudgingly or accidentally takes my hand whereas Lionel wants to hold my hand all the time, all the way to school and all the way home. If I'm carrying something Lionel pulls on my arm and says "hand please." For him, this is not about safely crossing streets or worry of getting lost, it's about connection. But Owen has his softer side, his more connected side also.
I was a chaperone at their recent first grade field trip, put in charge of monitoring a group of 4 boys from the class. Walking from the classroom to the bus, I noticed that Owen had taken my hand. Lionel was on the other hand. At first I thought this was accidental, but he lost his grip and regained it a couple of times. He was definitely holding on to me. Did he want to make sure we didn't get separated? Show 'ownership' to his classmates?
Walking into the theater to sit down for Jack and the Beanstalk, I again had one boy on each hand. The other two boys in our group were just ahead and then way ahead as I had to go very slowly navigating the abrupt shift to darkness and the unpredictable placement of stairs, ramps, or other people who happened to be wearing dark clothing. I said that this was an example of when it was hard for me to see and Owen was right on the job. 'No stairs for a while." Then: "Stair, one two, stop. Stair, one two, stop." At this point I could actually see the stairs but I let him and Lionel lead me in their very sweet and protective way. "All flat now."
But my favorite sweet Owen moment came on the bus on the way home. We were at the very back of the bus and the other boys were watching a train next to us, racing it, and devising imaginary traps and treachery that would allow our bus to pull ahead. "I'm shooting oil onto its track!" "I'm releasing a bunch of animals!" Owen was sitting next to the window, looking out and singing softly to himself, gesturing slightly with his hands and head, completely lost and comfortable in his musical reverie. My little tough guy.