With Z turning 8 this year, I could almost safely say that I knew him very well. Our parent-child relationship was stable because I knew how to handle him inside out. From the first day I took care of him, he was consistent in the sense of regular milk feeds and I always knew what to expect of him.
Z was predictable in my books. I knew the buttons to press, I knew how to push him without breaking him. I knew how to make him tick. I knew him so well. I always felt that I could read his thoughts even as a child, so preemptive parenting made life easy for us. I probably scored a 9.0 with Z.
However, with X, it was always filled with surprises and inconsistencies. I should have suspected a thing when I could not even predict his milk feed timings. I should have guessed.
Till now, I never truly knew how to read X. He wasn’t really unpredictable but he tended to get upset over the oddest of all things and bear a grudge for a long time. The bearing-a-grudge package included literal cries of protests, stubbornness and prolonged lack of cooperation. In that sense, he was consistent.
It was definitely impossible to guess what could trigger off the package.
As a result of his loud and demanding outbursts, Mr H tended to give in to him. When Mr H gave in to him, it also meant Z often had to given in at the insistence of Mr H. I hardly thought that life was unfair for Z because he had it different. After all, he was usually the first owner and a recipient of more dedicated attention.
However, the short term solution of giving in was creating a monster in X who felt everything must go his way.
It was also this short term solution that made it hard for me to discover X.
By virtue of the fact that I seldom gave in, I was a naturally unpopular parent. X came to me when he wanted cuddles and a book reader but he would go to Mr H for everything else such as a midnight PS4 game.
When X hit 8, would I be able to manage the situation better having known him longer?
This I wonder. On a scale of 1 to 10, I probably was a 5 in my parenting proficiency with X. A lot of room for improvement!