We’ve been watching our DVD of Monsters Inc lately, and more and more I realize Sam is right. Boo does remind us of Jamie.
More than the physical looks, the skip-run type of forward movement and the similar tone of voice, somehow there is a certain aspect of Boo’s personality that makes me think of my own little Jamie-boo (We just decided to call her that when she was born without really thinking of any associations back then). With Jamie I find I need to spend more time “decoding” her to understand how to better parent her. I don’t know if it’s a birth order situation, the environment that we’re now in, or the differences in our personalities. Maybe it’s a combination of all three, but it’s still a challenge nevertheless.
I don’t mean to compare her with Sam; I never want to. Referencing the two just helps me differentiate them and ideally, give me a better picture as to how I can be a better mom to both. That’s really all I want to be anyway. I can’t be the same parent to each because their needs are different (Hello progressive parenting!). They react differently to me, and I to them.
I’m an eldest child just like Sam. I don’t know if that’s what makes it easier to relate to her and speak to her. I see a lot of myself in Sam (both the good side and the strong-willed-“I-have-a-mind-of-my-own” side), so in a way I can assess how to deal with her in each situation. The challenges are different, but because they happened to me first, it’s what I “knew” how to do. Logical explanations (albeit an extensive amount of it), fair negotiations, and a firm voice work with Sam.
With Jamie, it’s totally different. Oftentimes she’s a ball of emotions. And it’s coming at me alongside her terrible two’s phase, which adds to the challenge. Her tantrums are more frequent and are also more sustained. The phrase “use your words please”, falls on deaf ears. Raising my voice doesn’t seem to work either; actually it makes her cry louder.
I did a little research and asked DIY Corporate Mom, for her opinion (She invested in the Innate Intelligence Analysis test to decode her own little LadyBug Girl and you can read about it here. Incidentally, you should check out her blog. It’s fantastic. FAN-TASTIC! So many great mom-child bonding ideas!). When she mentioned the terms Dove and Owl personalities, I looked into it. I found a summary that you can refer to as well on the bird personality traits here.
Without batting an eyelash (Does that make me an Owl?!) I quickly realized Jamie is most definitely a Dove. She’s tenderhearted, thinks with emotions, and avoids confrontations. It definitely sounds like her.
It helps to know this because now I have to deliberately stop and think before I react to Jamie. My normal methods will not work because it’s not something she’s comfortable with. Sometimes, she really does need to cry it out. It doesn’t matter whether I’m holding her or not; she will cry until she’s ready to stop. Sometimes I need to show more emotion in situations where I normally wouldn’t. Apparently it shows that I understand her and can empathize. I try to anticipate in advance what she might feel so that I can tell her what to expect and how she can react. We watched a movie last weekend, and coming from a previous experience when at the sound of conflict (Jamie is also very good with music you see), she would automatically cry out loud, I remembered to tell her to just close her eyes and hug me instead. To her credit, she actually remembered what I said and did exactly that in anticipation of what she thought my be scary parts.
Jamie is also uncannily attached to me. While she exhibits independence and is confident in “safe” venues like school, when I’m around she demands for me and sticks to me like glue. I do not have privacy even in the bathroom, because she has to be by my side. She can walk perfectly fine too, but if I’m there she’d rather I carry her around. I’ve tried talking to her about it and prepping her for inevitable situations, but I’ve realized that only time will help us here.
I’m wary though that it doesn’t send the message that she can cry and scream to get what she wants when she wants it. So sometimes, I do let her wail and cry, particularly when it involves giving Sam a turn with me. Then again, it must also be hard on Jamie to come into a world where she has to share practically everything with her older sibling. Yet I maintain she’s lucky she has Sam. Her sister is her primary teacher, and I feel they both learn so much from each other.
Admittedly, there are times when I can’t handle the screaming and crying and I have to walk away and catch my breath. I feel horrible when I do this because I think: I’m my child’s last resort. If I can’t figure her out, no one else may have the patience to. And then I pray that this doesn’t become our pattern into the latter years because I would definitely want Jamie to know I will go to the ends of the earth to make sure I’m there for her the way she needs me to be (I’m getting ahead of myself I know, but it’s a valid fear!). Of course I come back and try until I get through to her. Mother’s won’t — or can’t? — give-up.
I realize there are some characteristics which make Jamie “easy” to understand. She always says what she means. When she’s tired and wants to go home, we stand up and say our goodbyes. If she’s sleepy, she climbs into my arms and closes her eyes. She knows her limits. She shies away from the limelight, or anything that will call attention to herself or her skills (she doesn’t show off, and she buries her head in my shoulders when she’s asked). She still has her own strong-willed character and she can stand her own ground when she chooses to. When we have our moments together at night we connect. And I’m happy that I get it. I can relate to her because somehow, in the mix of all that Jamie is, I can see a little bit of myself in her too. 🙂