WANTED: Emotional Drama Assistant
Over at INTJ Life: One Woman’s View of the World, totally captured this woman’s view of my current world when she posted this pic:
(Along with a shwack load of other funny ones. Go take a look.)
INTJ, refers to the Myers Briggs Personality Type we both (along with my Dear Husband) share. Often referred to as the “Mastermind”, we live in our heads, know everything through argument, perpetually question reality and are hyper-emotionally reserved. Which comes in the opposite of handy when dealing with children, which are basically a bunch of uncontrolled impulses wrapped in raw emotion. And then they become tweens and really ramp it up. Every day I have to have some major discussion about some stunningly important issue that makes absolutely no rational sense.
If a 3 year old called you a “chicken” would you cry and hide in your bed? I have an 11 year old who would. Oh wait — it was because the 7 year old said that she had “chicken wings” and then the 3 year old put her over the edge with the “chicken” remark. Yeah, you better take that super seriously. Or my 5 year old who is constantly afraid that her bedroom closet harbours monsters. Really? Does she really think that if there were terrifying, flesh-eating beasts roaming the land, not only wouldn’t I be on guard against them, but I would be so sanguine as to allow them to encamp in my children’s rooms? Do I actually have to deal with this again?
The answer is: Yes. And I do. Day after day I grit my teeth and whiten my knuckles, and talk emotionally wrought children through terrors, and slights and squabbles gone horribly wrong. Plus all the Grade 5 angst of a new school, mean boys and a world that can seem downright hostile at times — even your locker that won’t close right. While I’m honoured to do it, it’s just downright exhausting. Sometimes, my husband and I are so drained, that once the kids are in bed we just stand there starring at each other, too mentally fried to even stuff cookies in our mouths.
“We need to put a ad in Kijiji for an Emotional Drama Assistant. Someone to come here and have 90 minute discussions on why people don’t consult Grade 6 boys on much of anything, especially whether or not you look good in your Liturgical Dance costume,” he’ll say.
“I’ve never been tempted to sneak prescription drugs. But if someone created a pill that would give me the emotionalism of a character that Mindy Kaling would play on TV — just like for 3 hours or so — I would so, so totally take it,” I mutter. Then we go back to starring at each other until it’s time to watch Top Gear.
This under-reactivity in the area of feelings has left us with at least one advantage. We are completely unmoved by tantrums, hissy-fits, breath holding and other emotional blackmail. Yet, recently I did find my Achilles heel — or rather had it pointed out to me. Sweetie Pie, my 9 year old, wandered up one afternoon.
“Mom. We kids should have ice cream,” she quietly, but firmly, declared.
“Oh. And why is that?” I said with a bemused smile on my face.
“Because that way, when Dad and you have your ice cream after we go to bed, you won’t have to feel guilty over being unfair.”
We locked eyes for a moment. I began to feel my smile turn to pride.
“Yes. I think you’ve earned some ice cream.”
Well done, my little Mastermind. Well done.