Back when I was a teenager and talking back to my mom, I said something about when I had kids, I’d be nothing like her.
She told me that I’d wind up with a kid like myself. I rolled my eyes.
Thankfully, that comment stuck in the back of my head, and I wondered if it was actually true. So as I got older, I watched kids and parents. By the time I was in college, it seemed obvious that the most volatile relationships were between the parent and child with the most similar personalities. (I feel bad for my mom. My sister and I are both like her, in mostly different ways. So she had to deal with the both of us)
So when the boys were born, I watched and wondered who they would be like. It was clear very early on that not only did the Oldest Kidlet look a lot like me, but that he was a lot like me, too.
He whines. Constantly. As a kid, my mom used to joke that it was because my name is “Whiney, but with a t in it.” He also has a short temper- which I did as well. I know that might come as a surprise to some of you, but it was something that my parents worked with me on. He is a perfectionist. Oh, is he a perfectionist.
Not that long ago we were doing the weekly word quiz, and the words have gotten progressively harder. We reviewed some of the tough new words he had on his list. Like “who” and “why” – words that don’t seem to follow the spelling and sound rules he’s used to. But we missed one. We hit that word in the quiz (which is a one-minute timed quiz) and he stopped and eventually got the word, but it ate up a good 15 seconds of time. So he didn’t make it through the words, and it became the end of the world.
After a lot of screaming (from both of us), I finally helped him understand that this test is just about training you to read faster, not about how many words you can read. I wanted to tell him I thought it was stupid, but decided not to- but I understood exactly why he was upset. I’d been in his position before.
I hope you don’t think I’m trying to make the case that it’s all bad. It isn’t. But when it’s bad… it’s beyond bad. Most of the time we get along well. We read books together that we both enjoy, and we have a lot of the same interests.
All the same, I’m very glad that the Little Kidlet and I don’t have much in common personality-wise. (Though we do have one very important thing in common. We love Star Wars, especially Darth Vader.
Oh, and Mom, I’m glad that I’m a lot like you. You were (and are) a great parent, even if I didn’t see it all of the time.