It is funny how in spite of guarding yourself against it every step of the way you still end up treating the younger child as the ‘little one’. On two occasions that I am aware of, I made the mistake.
The first was decades back at Appu Ghar (I think it was Appu Ghar), the amusement park. My sons and nephew were about to go on a ride. When my brother lifted the Second Born and deposited him next to my nephew, and not with his older brother the First Born, without thinking, I blurted out, ‘No! He is too small, let him sit with his brother!’
I could have bit my tongue after saying that. At that same age, the First Born had managed on his own without an older brother to keep an eye on him. Why did I feel the Second Born needed looking after? Besides, and this is what I felt really bad about, my nephew was the youngest of the three of them. And he could well have done with some company.
While I had stood around staring stupidly having realized my mistake, my brother put the Second Born with his older brother. You’ll be alright, he told his son, who on his part nodded his head calmly as the ride started.
The children themselves may have enjoyed their ride that particular day, but for me it was the worst few minutes ever. Isn’t this what I had always promised myself I’d never do, treat the older children as keepers of the younger, and the younger as babies who needed supervision? And yet I had slipped and let down the Second Born by treating him exactly like a baby and the First Born as his keeper/minder.
The second time was years later when I refused to accept some suggestion from the Second Born by giving the reason that his brother had given me contrary advice. It was something to do with the computer/laptop. The First Born had by then started working, the Second Born was still in college, but knowledgeable in his own right.
Why did I feel the older one knew better? Just because he was older by some years? Wasn’t I the one always going on and on about the number of years being a useless indicator of knowledge, proficiency, maturity yada, yada, yada? Or was it because he was a software engineer and I assumed he would know more about these things? (I have since been disproved. The second son who is an artist relates more to the problems and needs faced by ordinary folk like me and is able to offer guidance. Software engineers live in a different and higher realm and know zilch about what I am talking)
The Second Born was mighty cheesed off with me that last time (and it is officially the last time) I refused to accept his advice on flimsy grounds of his being the ‘little’ one of the family. But, he is now my go-to person for anything I need to know. The answers are all at his fingertips, or so it seems, and he is willing to spare time to give them to you as well. He may look to Google for finding his answers, but for me, HE is Google.
And yesterday had been his birthday 🙂
©Shail Mohan 2016
Day 17 NaBloPoMo 2016