I often think that had I married and been blessed with children, I would have been a dreadful parent.
I suspect that I would have attempted to “remake my children in my own image” – and thereby would have been a dominating and controlling father. But I probably would also have been blessed with a wise wife – a woman who would work with me to curb all my worst instincts; and to develop and hone my better nature.
Such things were not to be, for clear and obvious reasons.
But here is my take on my three charges - the cats, Ada and Adelaide, and the dog, Penne.
Junior cat Adelaide is the demanding, “in your face” child. She knows what she wants, and is far from shy in making those wants known. “Feed me” she demands. “I want to go outside” she insists (I reply “no my darling, it is far too dangerous out there. There are hawks, foxes, possums and my mean next door neighbour out there”). Adelaide comes near me seeking attention, but as soon as I reach out to smooth her she runs away. But when I finally entice her to jump up onto my lap, she relaxes and purrs with glee as I stroke her.
Senior cat Ada is the relaxed and compliant child. She sleeps and rests. She loved to be caressed. When I put out her food she lets out a semi-pathetic yowl – saying “thank you so very much for feeding me”. She is not very lively, but every once in a while she gets weary of Adelaide’s demands for affection. Then she “bats” her younger “sister” and chases her around the house. (The placid ones are quite aware of their authority!)
Penne the dog is the insecure and anxious one. She needs frequent and constant reminders that she is a wonderful dog and that I love her deeply. She forever checks up on me wherever I am in our home – anxious lest I should forget her. She sings with anxious delight when I get back home, even if I have been away for no more than ten minutes.
Her anxiety and insecurity manifests her as a people pleaser. When we walk out she likes nothing more than to be greeted and caressed by other walkers.
I suspect that the parents who read this blog will know that their children share many of the personality traits of my pets.
I know that of the three, I am most like Penne.