Every night, Ads walks around each and every bathroom in the house. I can hear five toilet seats being pulled down and five bathroom doors being firmly shut. He also arranges the bathmat so that it’s perfectly straight, and shuts each bedroom door. I am meanwhile waiting for him to get to bed and silently gnashing my teeth. I asked him why he does this every single day. Give this bathroom inspection routine a miss one day, I suggested. He looked at me in horror. "I can’t do that! I won’t be able to sleep the whole night!"
My children are like chalk and cheese. How much of that is a function of birth order, I don’t know. Ads, like many first-borns, is high maintenance. When he wakes up in the morning, we never know what his mood will be like. Most likely, cloudy with a chance of thunderstorms – always keep an umbrella handy! Y, on the other hand, is little Ms Sunshine through the day and always manages to perk all of us up.
Ads is a typical Virgo – he likes clear boundaries, unambiguity, cleanliness and exhibits distinct OCD-like tendencies. He is also super-bright though he claims he is not (another Virgo trait – extremely self-critical). Y is carefree, deals with chaos and disorder effortlessly, and nothing describes her more aptly than that fantastic word - bindaas. She does tend to pick up some of Ads mannerisms and behaviours every now and then which I try to discourage. Why change something that’s already perfect? :)
Several months ago, we were all learning how to play the card game Uno. So this game has a lot of different cards and rules which are a little hard to make sense of, at the beginning. So Y and I played one game by ear, learning the rules as we went along. We made a lot of mistakes but by the end of 2 games, we‘d figured it out. When we invited Ads to join us, he insisted on a training session where I was supposed to explain the rules to him slowly. I said to him - "Just play Ads, you’ll figure it out as you play and we’ll help you."
"No no no...I can’t play like that...I need to know the rules first!"
That’s my boy, my Rules Ramanujam as my m-i-l has affectionately nicknamed him. A stickler for rules, structure, order! He drives me up the wall every single day and the only thing that keeps me sane is the realization that I used to be so much like him when I was little (yes I’m a typical Virgo too). I wouldn’t change anything about myself so why do I try and change him, except that I don’t want him to get so boxed into his own neat little world that he never understands the joys of frivolousness, spontaneity and messiness.
It’s going to be a long hard journey - I know because I have made it before – and look what a long way I’ve come!
One of the most interesting parts of my journey as a mother has been discovering the very unique personalities of both my children and celebrating the special quirks and eccentricities that make them the delightful people they are!