Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The flip side of child psychology

Hammy, my friend and colleague, has just posted a new essay entitled Denial - The Earlier The Better in which she shares her pride and pleasure at the realization that her toddler granddaughter is learning to hone her feminine wiles very early in order to get what she wants. Actually, I had always suspected that this particular skill in female humans was as instinctive as a cat's aloof indecision once you have finally opened the door to let it in as it had been demanding for the past twenty minutes. They're just born with it and I'm fine with that.

Vive le difference!

Entire books have been written on how men and women are wired differently. To me the subject is so obvious I can't imagine being curious enough to read one. But Hammy's composition did give me pause to pay closer attention to my grandson after he came home from school today.

Isaiah and Hammy's granddaughter have never met but they're about the same age and have similar social and familial backgrounds. And that's as scientific as this comparison is going to get.

Hammy's little girl is sugar and spice and all that and Isaiah, well, Isaiah is all boy. Aside from a peculiar fastidiousness about his hands -- he hates getting them messy -- he loves boy toys and rowdy play. He roars for no reason whatsoever. It's just energy demons demanding their release, I guess.

But today I discovered something unimaginable.

We ran some errands after school and while Isaiah was strapped into the his car seat he began asking Nana if we can all do certain fun things when we get home. He always asks Nana and not me, though to be honest Nana is a lot more demanding of him than I. This, I believe, clearly exhibits his naturally ingrained and perfectly developed male instinct to defer to women at all times. It's the five-year-old equivalent of "Yes, dear," and it serves us well to learn it before we begin elementary school. I'm proud of the kid.

But then he began to show a shocking aptitude I never imagined in a boy so young or, indeed, in most men of any age. He has an outright panache, a real gift for psychological manipulation!

"Nana," he said sweetly and brightly, "I tell you what..." That got my male gyroscope wobbling just a bit. "When we get home," he continued, "we can either walk the dogs or play a game! You decide!"

I was stunned. That Carolann didn't flinch at the suggestion (in fact - she didn't respond at all) confirmed for me that this male poppet was, under my wife's tutelage, actually learning the ways of women!

Until today Isaiah had merely been a typical kindergarten boy, more prone to fuss, pout, stomp and shout or wail like a banshee when he couldn't have his way. Suddenly, inexplicably, he is negotiating and doing so by coyly assuming a position of power!

It's frightening. I will keep a closer watch on that boy for fear that he may suddenly conjure visions or call upon some etherworldly power from beyond the veil that will allow him to force other men to wait on him as personal serfs and have them thank him for the pleasure and privilege.

It's far too early to assume this isn't a passing phase or that some natural intervention...say, puberty... might not eventually turn him from this path.

I shouldn't profess this now. I just worry, that's all...

The boy shows every classic early sign of becoming a politician.

© 2008 by David L. Williams, all rights reserved

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