I had a confusing childhood, to say the least. Granted that most normal human beings lumber and shove their way through adolescence and puberty as well, all elbows and bad attitudes, but I think I had more than my share of trip-ups than most petulant young ladies, mainly because I started behaving badly at a very young age. Maybe as young as my firstborn, Raeven.
You see, I’m going through sort of a rough patch with her, my four-year old. The sweet, cheeky, and mostly harmlessly precocious little girl of three had somehow disappeared over the last few months, to be replaced by a rather horrid four-year old, spawned from brimstone and hellfire, with dagger eyes and a sharper mouth, but abso-fuckin-lutely no ears.
In what seemed like the blink of an eye, my child has become my worst enemy: She has, with very little reason not to, become me.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been the more difficult child to my parents. Aside from some very bad decisions made by dad, I place the rest of my poor upbringing squarely upon the laws of nature.
Firstborns are inevitably the ‘guinea pigs’ of startup families. We get the best and the worst of our parents’ parenting. We’re the ones who’re spoiled. We’re the ones who get away with breaking the rules (simply because there were no rules before we came along). We’re the ones who burn the roofs of our mouths from hot mush, or get hospitalised for strep throat, or perhaps even die if we lived in olden times, because our parents didn’t, couldn’t know what they were doing.
We test all the limits and push all the buttons. And eventually, we become the yardstick against which all our siblings will be measured, as in to remind our parents what NOT to do, although this will be a fact our parents will deny vehemently (whoever here who’s not suffered unfair sibling comparisons should stop reading my blog).
In short, we’re the testruns.
The crash test dummies.
The Version Ones.
Part of the reason why I think Raeven and I are clashing so much these days is, I think (so this is nothing more than just careless theorising), because she’s just our firstborn. Four years on this earth and she’s taken quite a few hits, as in all the mistakes my husband and I had made in the past, and are still making today, as young parents. It is no wonder she’s fed up. It’s no wonder she just can’t be bothered.
I’m sorry, my dear. We, your dear parents, cannot help it. We just don’t know everything.
We can’t be expected to.
In trying to give her everything we thought she’d ever need, we made her lazy. In trying to give her confidence, we inevitably taught her disrespect. In trying to give her independence, we irrevocably made her wilful.
The good with the bad. That, as they say, is the way it goes. It will always be the way it goes.
As such, everything that’s sweet and adorable about my firstborn has not vanished entirely. Like the arrival of a warmer, dryer day in Seattle, Raeven’s bright and wonderfully loving side – the side that lets me know I’m on the right track, no matter how rough and windy it is – will exert itself, amazingly so, when I least expect it.
And when I need it most.
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