Are you a Bert or an Ernie?
You're either an extrovert or an introvert. The cut-up or the straight man. The life of the party or the designated driver. The long-sufferer in silence or the squeaky wheel that gets the grease. Yin or yang. Laurel or Hardy. Lucy or Ethel. Blair or Serena. Maverick or Goose. In Rebecca Wells's Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, the Gone with the Wind-loving protagonist classifies girlfriends as either Scarletts or Melanies. Neither personality type is better or more preferable than the other, however determining a person's Muppet make-up is helpful in understanding his or her social dynamics and behaviors. Bert- or Ernieness insight is especially helpful in families.
I myself am an Ernie. I'm loud, try to be funny, enjoy attention, am easily distracted, can be selfish and insensitive. I also happen to love bath time. I'm married to a Bert, a more quiet, dependable dude that is secure enough to not have to be the center of attention and puts up with my antics. He also tends to have interesting collections of coins, stamps and other items but thankfully no bizarre attachments to flying vermin. I'm shorter, rounder and tanner, while my husband is tall, thin and has well-defined eyebrows. We complement each other and are good roommates, although we did spring for the king- sized bed rather than those precious little twins, if you know what I mean.
Our kids? They're both Ernies. They're a pair of jokers, outgoing, have wild streaks. They're quick to laugh or shriek in protest and full of boundless energy. They act first, think later. Many of their friends are more relaxed and contemplative and patient. I have definitely heard some very Bert-esque sighs from these kind pals during playdates and outings. My two Ernies often clash as neither wants to give in to the other's bossing and scheming. As we are open to welcoming a third child someday, I often find myself not wishing for specifically a boy or a girl, but praying God sends me a Bert. My energetic Ernies exhaust me sometimes, and my family could use the Bert balance.
I wonder if the Ernie gene is dominant in my family. My sister and three brothers are all Ernies too. I think my husband's family - especially his dad's boisterous Irish-Catholic Philly clan - is Ernie-heavy as well. You can even classify world leaders in this manner. Presidents Clinton, Reagan and George W. Bush? Total Ernies. President Obama is the patient Bert to our Ernie of a country.
So you can have your Myers-Briggs, Jungian and Freudian personality profiles, astrological charts, birth order and handwriting analyses. I've got my favorite denizens of Sesame Street to help me make sense of social and family dynamics. Those lovable Muppets provide a shorthand to better understand the people that I meet when I'm walking down the street, oh the people that I Meet. Each. Daaaayyy!
Original DC Metro Moms Blog post. Jessica has obviously watched way too much PBS and can be found writing about family activities at A Parent in Silver Spring.