Friday, 4 January 2013

The difference between Moms and Dads

The difference between Moms and Dads
4 January 2013

Right, so we all know that men and women are vastly different.  And it’s not just the Mars and Venus thing, originating from different planets and all that.  It’s deeper than that.  Bone deep.  No, even deeper – soul deep.

Given the exact same set of circumstances, men and women will have viscerally different reactions to the same situation.  We act differently.  We think differently.  We talk differently.  We ARE different.

 And just to give you an example and to illustrate and highlight this fact, I will give you just one little story.  A story about my Amber-Berry when she was about six years old.  How given the same situation, my Grantie and I both handled the same “crises” in completely different manners.  The constant was Amber, the fluctuating factors were Grant and I.  Grant would never react the way that I did, and I would never react the way that he did.

So, here is what happened.  Luke and Amber absolutely loved teasing each other.  They still do to this day and have perfected it to an art form if you like.  Perhaps it’s less teasing and more tormenting.  Either which way, the end result is that they get a rise out of each other.  Annoying one another is such fun and skating on thin ice and living on the edge really makes one feel alive.

They had a terrible habit of giving each other a fright in the shower.  Just picture it – there you are, in a quiet bathroom, having a lovely solitary shower, when someone quite unexpectedly squeals, screams or shouts “Booh!”.  Or they yank back the shower curtain and you nearly jump right out of your skin.

And this was exactly one of those moments.  Though perhaps a bit worse.  Because on this occasion, Amber didn’t merely squeal, scream or shout “Booh!”.  On this occasion, she jerked back the shower curtain, stuck her hand in and took a photo.

And to say that Luke (aged ten) was livid, is to put it very mildly.  He clearly felt that she had crossed a line.  That he was violated.  He was hopping mad and promised her vengeance, payback and severe retribution.

Instantly Amber started panicking.  And rightly so.  In fact, I believe that her fear of what was to potentially follow was probably far worse than any punishment that Luke could conjure up.

Luke sprouted forth at length about how he would “get her back”.  And so the plotting began.  Amber was predictably petrified.  Personally, I lived in hope that all would die down and that this friction would pass.  But no such luck.  Kids mostly believe in an eye for an eye.

And a little while later, a plotting Luke and Cole (aged just three and a half, having been pulled in to his brother’s plan to exact retribution) came to see me.  Would I please set my alarm for super early the next morning and wake them up.  All of course while I was taking care not to make a noise, wake Amber and ruin the “surprise” in the process.

And upon enquiring about their plot, they shared their master plan.  They wanted to get a tub of warm water, put Amber’s hand into this water while she was still sleeping and hopefully induce her to wee in her bed.  Evil boys!!!  I told them to be off with themselves.  That I would not wake them and that I wanted nothing more to do with their plan.  Basically, I was acting like a chicken.  I knew that Amber would be beyond livid and angry.  In fact, she’d be hopping mad in return.  Prompting retribution from her side again, what with kids believing in an eye for an eye, as mentioned before.

In the interim, Amber was panicking.  What were her evil brothers going to do to her?  How were they going to make her pay?  She feared for the very worst and came and spoke to me in full earnest mode.  She said that if Luke was terribly mean and horrible to her, she would move out and leave home.  She had a flair for the dramatics and probably had romantic visions of heading off into the sunset and all of us wailing and crying, begging her to not leave us.

For a while, I thought all was settled and the dust had died down.  Until I happened to be doing shopping in Pick ‘n Pay one afternoon and I got a phone call from Amber on my cell phone.  She had bribed and cajoled Cole into telling her what Luke’s plan was.  And being little, impressionable and ever so helpful, Cole spilt the beans and told all.  And thus, my conversation with Amber was as follows:  “Mommy, it’s Amber.  I’m just phoning to say goodbye.  I told you I would move out if Luke was mean to me and I’m keeping my word.  Cole told me what they were going to do and I won’t live here any longer.  I’ve packed my bag and I’m leaving”. 

A part of me was obviously tickled pink and I had a quiet little giggle to myself, but I didn’t want to embarrass or humiliate her.  I wanted her to feel that she had a voice.  I thought this was a perfect opportunity to illustrate conflict resolution first hand.  I urged her to calm down and just wait until I got home.  That we would sit down and talk and sort it all out.  That I would speak to Luke and explain to him that he could not do this to her.  That she had to remember that she did something equally horrible to him.  That Luke had not in fact had a chance to set his evil plot in to play.  Basically, I urged her to wait, remain calm and exercise patience and caution.

I rushed through the rest of my shopping, as I could hear that Amber was seriously annoyed and stressed out.  I charged back home, expecting chaos and tears.  So imagine my surprise when I stopped outside our gate and saw Grant still patiently busy painting our house.  In pretty much the same state of calmness as when I left him there just before going shopping.  I immediately dashed up to him and asked him if Amber was okay.  If she was hysterical and crying, what with her flair for dramatics and all.  Hoping above hope that he had managed to calm her down.  And once I asked Grant, he glanced up and said, everything was perfectly fine.  Amber had come marching out of the house, past him, with her big suitcase all packed.  And when he asked her where she was going, she told him the whole story.  How she was sick to death of her brother, how he was always mean to her, how he was horrible and was planning on playing a mean trick on her.  And how she had packed her bag and was leaving home.

And you know what my Grantie said to her?  What my beloved little girl’s Daddy said to her?

He said “Can I give you a lift to the airport?”.

Well, apparently she turned right around, marched straight back into the house without a word and by the time I got inside, I found her in her bedroom, calmly unpacking her suitcase once more.

Dads!  They’ve got it sooo easy!  I would have spent ages mediating and doing conflict resolution, and with one small little sentence, he deflated the whole situation perfectly.


1 comment:

  1. You made Bert and I laugh so! Reading the blogg while passing by Winburg on our way home after a wonderful Lombard impromptu long weekend! So good for the soul!