Week 8 - Training
A friend of ours who drove us to the animal shelter in Tallinn to adopt Rumi said that it's always a good idea to go on a date with a potential partner to an animal shelter, because seeing how a person interacts with animals tells you a lot about who they are as a person. I had never thought about it that way before but it made a lot of sense.
I fell in love with Alan more when I saw how he treated his little nieces - talking to them with respect, reasoning with them and holding them to high expectations instead of dumbing things down, empowering them by deliberately buying them DIY robots instead of only unicorns and tiaras (they still get the unicorns but they also get DIY toys).
And I've fallen in love even more these past few weeks seeing how he talks to our cat. :) Tolerating his messy eating, scratching of chairs, and dashing around the house simply because he believes it's in a cat's nature to behave in such a way. And yet at the same time, he expects discipline at feeding time (no begging for human food or interrupting us when we are eating is allowed) and reasons with him in soothing tones when he had to go to the vet.
And when the cat is behaving badly because he has too much pent-up energy, then Alan is a master at using distraction as a tool to redirect the energy. I know pet rearing is nothing compared to raising a little human, but I do believe there's so much one can already tell about the kind of parent this guy will be. Gentle, understanding, patient. Working with the nature of the individual rather than forcing certain behaviors. Focusing on rewarding the right behavior instead of using punishment or fear.
He texted me when he left for work travels again that he "felt bad" he was "too harsh on Rumi". I asked him what he meant. He said "When you were giving Rumi his medicine, I held him down so tightly and didn't let him move." My heart melted. I said: "I'm sure Rumi understands it is for his own good." I wish I had made this a prerequisite for every guy I dated: must be kind to animals and children. Because it makes a world of difference. A person who is kind to animals and children is also kind to himself and kind to his partner.
This means he has the self-confidence to pick himself up when things aren't going well. This means he puts his needs of his partner's first and is never the type of person that requires any reminding, let alone nagging, to get things done.
But, better late than never. I'm glad we are having these "training" moments to give us a tiny glimpse into what parenthood might be like in the future! (P/S No, there are no active plans for any kids anytime soon. 😊)