As my readers well know by know, I really enjoy my lunches with my buddy Carl David Ceder. Usually, I post here about Carl’s latest insights or Ceder’s take on topic x, y, or z. Today, however, I’m going to stray from the routine a bit and share my side of today’s conversation. Don’t get me wrong, Carl David Ceder is an incredibly brilliant and insightful man. But he is also a good listener. Here’s what he got to hear from me today:
My earliest memory is of the time when my younger sister was born, I was a month and a half shy of being 3-years-old. I remember that it was a cold morning, and as we were going to the van I was crying because I wanted my mom to carry me, but my dad was making me walk. My parents dropped my siblings and me off at our grandmother’s house on the way to the hospital. I remember them leaving us at Grandma’s where I played with the monchhichis. There were two monchhichis and each had a bottle attached to one hand and a thumb sticking up on the other that you could stick in their open mouths. I was sitting, playing with the monchhichis and eating circus peanuts when two of my brothers (ages 5 and 7) came and said they wanted to play with me. Instead of playing with me, they took the dolls off of me and began to make them put their bottles and thumbs up their nose or in their derrière. I cried and my grandma came and got them back for me. Later that day we watched Smurfs and ate pickles. When my dad came to get us the next day to go visit our new sister, I cried because I didn’t want to leave.
Processing the above experience from an Adlerian perspective, if this were all I knew about life, I would say that men make the rules and are in control (my dad making me walk, driving to grandma’s and the hospital, making me leave grandma’s, etc.) and boys are mean (my rotten brothers). Women are care-givers and nurturers (my grandma “rescuing” me from my brothers) and maybe they are also weak (my mom not being able to carry me—from my 3-year-old perspective, that’s probably how I would have seen the situation as opposed to the fact that she was in labor and carrying nothing, not even her purse). Life is unfair sometimes (my mom not carrying me, my brothers picking on me, and my dad making me go to the hospital) but nice at other times (playing at grandma’s, watching cartoons, eating junk food, etc.).
In my earliest recollections, my parents, maternal grandmother, and two of my brothers are there. Though I know that my grandfather and two eldest siblings were there, they are not present in my recollection. As for those who are present, my mother is silent, and my father is in control (controlling?). My basic feeling towards my brothers is that I want their acceptance and approval—I want them to play with me—but they are content being rotten boys and picking on their little sister. My grandmother is the perfect, all-wise, love-you-unconditionally grandmother, she’s sort of the heroine in my recollection. When with her, my life is sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows. The world with grandma is happy and the world outside of her house is not necessarily bad, just unpredictable and unsure. My behavior is dependent and the outcome of this behavior is lots of tears which in turn result in sometimes getting my way (success=getting my toys back) and other times not (having to go to the hospital despite my protests). My primary social attitude is “we” (though my behavior is that of the pampered youngest child being dethroned). My primary motive is to be accepted with my dominant emotion being uncertainty. The underlying theme in a single sentence would be: I want to be a part of the group and with a voice and an opinion that matter.
Today, Carl David Ceder recognized my voice and opinion, and it was so nice. Thanks Carl!