Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Bringing up cat and dog

I've often wondered how two kids spawned from the same two parents can be so different. The only similarity between Lesley-Anne and Andre is their physical appearance. When they were younger, before Lesley-Anne went on a growth spurt, I would often get comments that brother and sister looked so alike, down to their smiles and pointy chins.

Here is a studio shot we took of them back in 2006.

In character, Lesley-Anne and Andre are polar opposites. After I attended the parenting workshop using the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (you can read my previous post here), I tried to do the test for both my kids. It would be noble of me to say I wanted to check their personality types so that I can tweak my style to bring out the best in them, but in truth, I was just being kaypoh lah.

Lesley-Anne is an INFP (confirmed by her assessment of learning styles done in school). That means she is:

Idealistic, loyal to her values and to people who are important to her. Cares about learning, ideas, language and independent ideas of her own. Tends to undertake too much then somehow gets it done. Friendly, but often too absorbed in what she is doing to be sociable. Seeks to understand people and to help them fulfill their potential.

One liner: Still waters run deep

Surprisingly enough, when I did the assessment for Andre, I found that he is an ENFP, which means he only differs from Lesley-Anne on the Extraversion-Introversion scale. As an ENFP, he is:

Warmly enthusiastic, high-spirited and imaginative. Sees life as full of possibilities. Able to do almost anything that interests him. Wants a lot of affirmation from others, and readily gives appreciation and support. Spontaneous and flexible, often relies on his ability to improvise instead of preparing in advance. Can usually find compelling reasons for whatever he wants.

One liner: Anything's possible

Apparently, both care a lot about what other people think but they try to get affirmation in different ways. Lesley-Anne through achievement and Andre through affection. Lesley-Anne doesn't only have the goods academically, she is motivated and has excelled in most of the activities she's taken on - ballet, piano, taekwondo and swimming. Yet despite all her achievements, she's still sometimes insecure, always looking for approval and very sensitive to criticism. Always very proper and poised, and with high EQ (but also a ferocious temper, which her brother doesn't appreciate!)

Andre, on the other hand, is Mr Personality, spontaneity incarnate. He showers his family with hugs and kisses, and his priority in school is making friends. He has been punished so many times for talking in class that I've lost count (eventually, his teacher made him sit by himself). He'll use his own money to buy food for others, he lends books to his friends that he himself has not yet read. He loves being in the centre of attention and will happily ham it up for the camera.

As a classic example of how different the two kids are: when we bring them out for fish and chips, Lesley-Anne the planner and thinker will eat all her salad first, then leave the best parts (fish and chips) for last. Andre the instant gratifier will gobble up the fish and especially the chips, then dwaddle over the salad and try to convince us he's too full to eat it.

The different personalities of course mean that fights around the house are commonplace. The two just cannot get along (what to do when one is aged 11 going on 25 and the other is 7 going on 6??) They would fight over anything, really anything. When they were younger, it was over things like who got to press the lift button, who got to use the bathroom first, who got to hold my right hand (I know! I have 2 hands, right??)

I recall after another meaningless round of bickering, I said in exasperation: "You two are like a cat and a dog!"

Andre: "Who's the dog?"
Lesley-Anne: "I want to be the dog."
Andre: "HAHHH, no fair! I want to be the doooooog!!!"
Lesley-Anne: "Ok, then I'm the cat and I will SCRATCH you!!"

Here is a picture of one of the very rare occasions of sibling reconciliation, Lesley-Anne was actually feeding Andre some ice-cream. (Kenneth had to take the picture, he couldn't believe his eyes).

I think all parents know bringing up kids with different personalities is a real challenge, but it's also an adventure. I hope you're enjoying yours!


Lilian said...

And I thought my kids were different!

Well, L-A obviously takes after you and Andre is a mini-Kenneth. They'll both do great in life :)

monlim said...

aww... thank you!!

Lilian said...

Brian's enjoying this post so much. Keeps giggling at the Cat & Dog part; I think he's on Lesley-Anne's side of course.

About pressing lift first, going to bathroom first, holding my left hand (cos there's no handbag there)...Brian and Sean are still doing it...GROANNNN!

They even fight over who says Grace, who sits on the dinner table first, who gets to brush teeth first, who gets atropine eyedrops first....I could go on and on and on.

monlim said...

Ahhh... it's comforting to know other parents go thru the same thing!! do u think it ever stops?

Lilian said...

When it stops, we'll be facing a whole new set of problems...*shudder*

But these make for great memories, eg, your cat&dog story, HILARIOUS! They'll look back and laugh at how ridiculously infantile they were.

bACk in GERMANY said...

O yeah... it will stop... My brother and I bickered no end but we are best of friends since secondary school days!

What my mom said once is still hidden in my heart till this day: You gotta cherish the NOW cos when you are older, you might be living far apart...
She knew I was already going to leave home at 19 and when I was back from my studies, my brother went to Australia for his. We were reunited for a couple of years briefly... and now we're far apart again... but soon, I'll be spending time talking to my brother again, till 4 in the morning! :) That's why we are such "Brothers & Sisters" fans, 'cept ours is a small family, just two siblings and far less notorious than the Walkers!

monlim said...

Cindy, I LOVE Brothers & Sisters! Yeah, my sis and I are great friends now but we used to want to claw each others' eyes out! Thanks for sharing your wonderful story :)

monlim said...

Lilian, I'm dreading the teenage years... Enjoy your little one while you can, they grow up too fast!

Lilian said...

I simply can't imagine your sis even 'thinking' of hurting an ant, much less want to claw your eyes out! She's such a sweetie-pie, always smiling and so, so, gentle. Still waters....

monlim said...

haha, you didn't know her when she was young! she was quite the terror, a little like Andre. My granny used to say naughty children grow up to be good adults and vice versa. In her case, this was true!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...