Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Young Spock

I gave Little A. a haircut Saturday, and I’ve been startled every time I look at him since.

No, it’s not a bad haircut. It’s not even a Spock haircut. But he’s been growing a lot lately, and the new ‘do does expose his more mature forehead, eyebrows, and eyes. And he does look uncannily like the young Spock in the newest Star Trek movie.

The resemblance has ambushed me enough lately that I started thinking about it. On the surface, no one could be less Vulcan than my son. He giggles at Chip ‘n’ Dale, for Pete’s sake. And he is not repressed by any stretch of the imagination.

We had a great day on Saturday. We went to our friends’ party and Little A. reveled in boy-world for the afternoon, digging, swinging, and climbing. He greeted the adults, didn’t break anything, and didn’t fight with the kids. He also made me super nervous—and, ultimately, really proud—by swinging on a tire swing for five minutes with a petite, pretty girl a year or two younger. He swung patiently and gently, without one rough move, brutal holler, or potty word. That alone made it a great day!

Sunday even started well. Little A. helped put away Christmas decorations, even wrapping and packing the figures in the family manger scene. But…then the excitement and anxiety about going back to school took over. The yelling, arguing, contradicting, fidgeting, squirming, and general destructiveness set in.

By bedtime, Big A. and I were doing everything in our power to avoid any kind of conflict with him while still actually parenting. We’d reached the point where we were tag-teaming him in about twenty-minute shifts. As one of us got that I’m-losing-it-and-hanging-on-by-my-fingernails edge, the other would step in.

So clearly our Little A. is both emotional and open about it—not Vulcan. He’s pretty intellectual, though. Our lunchtime discussion today ranged from the habitats of spiders to what spiders are found in Florida to horseshoe crabs and how they lived before dinosaurs to whether or not dinosaurs could tell lava was hot and, finally, to the differences between four, fourteen, and forty. Every night, when I check on him before I go to bed, I pull a pile of books out from under him. Usually he’s fallen asleep with his cheek stuck to an open page.

So he’s brainy—that’s a little Vulcan. Then I remember that Vulcans came to revere logic because their strong emotions led them to grief. And the latest Star Trek movie does a fantastic job showing that Spock rebelled as much as Kirk, perhaps even more effectively. Isn’t his response to the Elders as satisfying as any punch Kirk lands? “Then, as I am half human, your record remains untarnished.” Kapow!

All of this makes a nice distraction when I’m trying to teach Little A. something and he looks at me with his big brown eyes and deep-thinking, expressionless face. I keep expecting him to say, “This is your thirty-fifth attempt to elicit a [logical] response from me, Mother.”

And that’s the whole crux of the matter. He’s smart enough and passionate enough to be a Vulcan. So what the heck did the Vulcans do to calm down? And how can I teach it to Little A. before he starts fomenting civil wars on our planet?

Just kidding about the civil wars.

I think.

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