Saturday, October 08, 2016

No Need MBTI

The next few posts will be exam-related because it's October and we have two kids prepping for it. November, however, I promise will be full of glee.

Anyway, it's the exams and we've realised how the twins are different in how they take on the challenges of revision and the actual stress of taking the exams. We try very hard not to be the stressors for the exams. But they don't actually need us to be the stressors because they pick it up subliminally from school.

So the night before their composition papers, the emotions were running on high. Jordan was trying to pull a Hermione and cram all sorts of things into her head. She had copious notes copied into a book and when I declared it was time for a hard stop, she sneaked in two more bits of information into her notebook and stuffed it into her school bag surreptitiously, hoping that I didn't see it.

Evan, on the other hand, grew quieter and more agitated by the minute. He kept worrying but his worry was the 'walk round in circles' sort of worrying which eventually culminated in him hyperventilating in fear that he was about to fail his exams.

We had to pull everything we had out of our metaphorical bag of tricks, convincing him that he wasn't going to fail and if he did then he just needed to figure out why. We promised him that no one got kicked out of school for failing exams. It took him a long while to settle down especially with the sister chiming in about how many things she had tried to remember and that was what he ought to have done. Eventually, he fell asleep and both Packrat and I commented about how the twins were different as an eggplant and a bag of nails when it came to how they faced challenges.

 I recalled that years before we had kids, over late night prata and Milo Dinosaurs, together with our friends, we  came up with a matrix that described people's behaviour as an interaction of how motivated they were versus how anxious they tended to be. Over the years, Packrat and I have desperately tried to recall it that matrix that we had drawn on a paper napkin.

The next morning, after the meltdowns, I could't suddenly see it in my mind. And this was what I came up with that I think approximated what we did all those years ago.

Low Anxiety, High Motivation- Zai/ Steady (Unfazed and gets things done)
Low Anxiety, Low Motivation- Bo Chup (Lazy and unfazed)

High Anxiety, High Motivation- Mugger Toad (High Achiever)
High Anxiety, Low Motivation- Gan Cheong Spider (Runs around like a headless chicken but not actually doing anything)

So there.

My twins, both high anxiety but differing on levels of motivation. I had thought that I would use the melt down Evan had to point out to him, when he was calmer, how he could avoid such a situation again.

Unfortunately, with the terror of the first paper past, he was back to just being Bo Chup and nothing I could say could inject into him a sense of urgency.

 But that wasn't my epiphany this time. I had already known my children to be like that. The achievement and accomplishment in this case was figuring out this matrix.


  1. Well at least they care enough to be stress or worried about the exams! Mine goes in and out of it as if it was any other day. Bleh.

  2. That's true! But if there's worry that doesn't translate to effort then it's just very much a headless chicken thing!:)