Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Therapist

Here’s the continuation of my last entry. As I said, I will write about what Markus and I talked about while squished in my old but comfy armchair.

“Kuya Gabriel is the only good older brother here,” Markus complained. “Kuya Gino and Kuya Mickey always kick me off the computer...” That started his litany of complaints.

Not that he and Gabriel are always on good terms. On the contrary, they have more squabbles between the two of them on any given day. Strangely, they do get along well.

“Kuya Gino needs to do homework, and homework comes first,” I explained. He then cited several instances when he was unceremoniously booted off the computer by either one of his brothers only to find that brother chatting or playing a game.

“That’s not fair!” I said. “That must really suck.”

I am learning that you don’t dismiss children’s emotions. You validate them. Boys especially need to be affirmed in their feelings because, unlike the more emotional women, guys somehow lose touch with their true feelings, or they become unable to rightly express them, which often leads to some kind of emotional, mental, social or spiritual baggage. Just look around you.

“You know what,” I continued, “your brothers will mature. You will all grow up and things will be different,” I assured him. Markus was not convinced.

“I know how you feel. I am the youngest in the family too. Sometimes you can’t speak out…” I sensed Markus start to pay attention. So I continued. “When I was a child, my siblings were like that to me too. I felt like a nuisance. I understand you…” I think I told him more of my experiences growing up as the only child in a house full of older people, way older people. “But look at us now. We’ve changed. We care for one another. Things will change, Markus.” I tried to sound as encouraging as I could short of saying, Sooner or later, your brothers will be on their own. That is still premature.

That evening, I was lounging in bed and watching TV with Gabriel when Markus came into the bedroom. Before hopping into bed, he waved his hands beside his ears and asked in a funny voice, “How does a mother with four children think?”

Amused, I asked, “How?”

“Like a therapist!” he said, again in a squeaky tone.

“And what do you think does a therapist do?” I rode along.

“They talk about people’s emotions,” was his response.

I should add that to my Mom job description.

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