Hi people! 🙂
Today the question I have for you is about your childhood:
Was there anything you were allowed to do as a kid that most kids weren’t allowed to do?
Well I guess that in a way, in our family, I was always the more privileged child in some respect. That was because of multiple things, I think. First of all, I was disabled and I think that in some regards it did impact my parents attitudes towards me. I was also their first child, the first one who was actually born and survived that is, as well as I was my maternal grandparents first grandchild, so that was a big thing, and had both good and bad consequences for me. Another thing was that when Olek was born, he was healthy and able-bodied, and there has strangely been a consistent generational pattern on both sides of my family that fathers are in a constant conflict with their sons, and so is with my Dad and Olek, even though things have eased over the years, but because of that, Dad was always more naturally inclined to me. According to my Dad I learnt to speak very quickly and apparently I was able to speak in sentences before I was a year old, while my younger siblings would learn to speak much later on and I know that my Dad really liked that about me ’cause he could actually get along with me as he says himself, he also always liked to show off with me. 😀 From all the recordings and stuff that they have of me from that time, I don’t think I was particularly special in this regard, and so does my Mum, but my Dad claims I was really different from all the children he’s ever met and more communicative. I don’t think he has more experience with children though, so from his perspective that may be true indeed. 😀 Then when I went to school at the age of 5 so I was about 400 km away from home and when I would come home it was more like I was a guest than anything and it was like a holiday for us and I was treated like a VIP which on one hand was cool because, well, who wouldn’t like to be treated like a VIP, but on the other hand was damn confusing and mesed up a lot of things for me, particularly my sense of belonging and stability ’cause that wasn’t really normal, even though I liked it. My Mum always thought I am so very mature, which she probably confused with me being intelligent, so she would always be much less strict with me than with Olek, who wasn’t much less bright but much more hyperactive and impulsive and that was what people had seen first about him.
It was particularly my Dad who was making a very visible difference between me and Olek. As a little child, I was happy about it, especially seeing how awfully and often irrationally stern he is with Olek, and I thought that I am just so lucky to be Daddy’s little girl and we’ve always got along well, despite there isn’t anything like some deeper understanding between us, we’re in a close but rather superficial relationship, not a very serious one, it’s quite immature.
Daddy woould be real nasty to Olek about something we did together while I wouldn’t suffer any consequences at all, or just a bit of telling off or some grumpiness until he forgets about the whole thing. He always liked to cuddle with me and although he was never the spoiling, doting kind of Daddy, he was close to that with me. I’ve also always had a bit of understanding of people so I knew how to not irritate him and how to convince him to something I wanted, and I guess I still have quite a strong influence onhim if I’ll try. He would buy me lots of yummy stuff just for myself, or take me to the beach and we’d go there just on our own, he would even sometimes play with me, while he never did that with Olek or even Zofijka as far as I am aware, or take me for quite long road trips or I remember that he took me from school in his tanker a couple times and that was always very adventurous and those tanker trips were always very exciting for me and one of my best childhood memories. Only that things have kind of broken a bit at some point, at least from my perspective, because we were once talking with Mum about Dad and Olek having another major crisis, Mum mentioned rather lightly, and probably not realising what kind of impact it was going to have on me, or rather how it’s going to sound, that Dad has always felt more fond of me because I am disabled so he was able to feel like more sympathetic towards me and have a better relationship with me than with Olek or Zofijka, and because I was away from home most of the time. I didn’t react to that, but it really got me ragin’. Maybe I should be a bit more understanding or something, like see the full picture and how it really is from his perspective, (though I’m not sure he’d be able and/or willing to tell me anything constructive) or just let go of that, but to me it sounded really awful and I am definitely not as genuine anymore in relation to him, anymore because knowing him it actually looks very likely. I suppose in some circumstances even feelings such as sympathy can with time grow into something more but then he wouldn’t treat us so unevenly.
I’ve always had a very strong relationship with my Mum, not always that very good, but dynamic and deep and pretty intense, and while she wasn’t as obviously favourising anyone as my Dad did, and has always loved all of us, she has always been very protective of me, don’t know if over- but very protective, and she would often let me do things that she wouldn’t let Olek do. I now know she has a lot of guilt feelings about that I had to be so far away from home, as if she could change much about it, and I think she wanted to compensate that for me in different ways, as well as that I said she just thought that I am so very mature.
Some of the things that I can remember were that Mum let me drink coffee from a relatively young age (guess I was like 8 or 9 years old and I really loved that and it made me feel so grown-up, I didn’t like to think about being a grown-up, but I did like the coffee drinking aspect 😀 hence probably my current coffee troubles hahaha). Now Zofijka is older than me then and would also like to drink coffee, but Mum tells her “No! It’s not for children!”. So I once asked her why Zofijka can’t, but I could, just of plain curiosity, and Mum argument was that “She’s too silly”. Can’t quite make the connection between those things, I know quite a few adult people who are silly and I would even say that’s too light a word and they still drink coffee but OK… Zofijka now is also spoiled by everyone, but in a completely different way as she’s just the youngest and the only child in the family at this point.
A funny thing, that I still consider funny, and a little bit confusing at times, is that my Mum have always asked me about lots of things, that she didn’t know but assumed that I might know. It looked particularly funny when we were somewhere with other people, ’cause which parent would ask the child about things. 😀 Parents always like to be right, and especially don’t like to admit that they don’t know something their child knows, like which spelling of the word repeatedly is correct (in Polish of course). 😀 When I was in my teens, she started to ask me for advice on lots of things, like what she should do in some situation or what she should choose. No, my Mum is not an indecisive person, I guess she just values my opinion or something, and I know she thinks I am a good listener. Now it’s not as weird as when I was a child, but when I was a child it felt kind of not typical in comparison to other families I knew that Mum would ask me what to do. It’s still confusing at times because you actually never know what her reaction might be like when you say something, even if in the end after a few months she’s going to say that I was right. 😀 Somehow though, maybe a little strangely, I’ve never had a problem with acknowledging her authority, it’s with Dad that I’ve always had this problem, and I don’t really consider him an authoritative figure or someone that I’d obey nowadays, for reasons other than to have a peace of mind.
What had been a bit of a problem for Olek when we were kids was that I got a phone when I was 12. It was a spontaneous decision and not really because I wanted it so much. Generally my Mum is against introducing technologies to children too early, and she used to say that she’ll buy us cell phones when we’ll be maybe like 15-16 or maybe even older. But when I was 12, I had to leave the integration school – closer to home – where I was for two years, and there didn’t seem to be much other choice than to go back to my old school. But Mum felt that now I’d need a phone, not only because I was older than when I was going there before, but also because I really didn’t want to go there so she hoped that if I would be able to be in some control of when we are in touch rather than have to wait for her to call the boarding school phone and possibly miss it, I might be more at ease with going back there, and that would just be more practical for me to have a phone. There was no such need for Olek though, so he had to wait some more, despite that he actually wanted a phone much more than I did.
Zofijka was much luckier, because although Mum also threatened her that she won’t have her own phone until almost adulthood, Zofijka was much more persevering, and also the times have obviously changed so it’s harder to stick to such a resolution. So about two years ago, when Zofijka was only 9, and had her leg in plaster, was terribly bored and really making a pain in the but of herself for all of us, Mum one day suddenly bought her a smartphone. She doesn’t have the Internet connection, but even without it, it still continues to make a lot of havoc in poor Zofijka’s mind.
I was also frequently allowed to stay up late, sometimes really late at night. It was well motivated though because my sleep cycle was messed up anyway so after some trials and errors Mum has rightly decided that no point for me going to bed at say 9 PM and waking me up at 7 AM for example if I’m not going to sleep either and am going to be drowsy the next day or be up and about at 3 AM. And it was often a lot of fun for me. I’d watch movies with parents, eat crisps withh Dad, or just listen to music and play or something – the best ideas for plays come to mind at night, just as now I still have the best and most creative ideas at night as well. – 😀
So those are the examples that I can remember now. It was kind of two-sided as you can see, both cool, and quite a bit confusing. And often made me feel not right in relation to my siblings. Like when I was going to the integration school and was thus living at home for two years and still having such a special treatment all the time, I felt pretty much like an intruder or something like this because my siblings weren’t treated like that, and I was afraid they might hold grudges against me because of that, especially Olek. But overall, I don’t consider my childhood particularly happy, – not somehow incredibly bad, but definitely not happy – so in a way I was glad of all that because it kinda made me feel special, in a weird way, but still.
OK so now you let me know how about you? And what was your point of view about that you were allowed those things? 🙂