Sir Tommy, Knight of the Tall Grass

Tommy’s acting . . . what’s the politically correct word? Aggressive? No, that’s negative. How about assertive? No, that sounds like business negotiations.

Let me tell you what he does. As we walk through the big park, he wants to break a branch off the hedge. I discourage this. We explore the tall grass (up past his waist) and the deep forest. Tommy finds a branch on the ground. He picks it up and whacks one tree (with permission), then another. He hits the ground.  He rips up dandelions and tears their stems.

Back at Mommy’s house, he clenches his two-year-old fists, tightens his chest and arm muscles, and roars.

We visit Auntie Maria. Tina, Tommy and I cuddle on the trampoline under a sleeping bag and read a book about horses—cowboy horses, Indian horses, ponies, racehorses—and one bearing a Mongol warrior. “He’s going to fight somebody,” I explain. Tina listens attentively to all the pages.

Tommy returns to the Mongol page again and again. “He’s gonna fight somebody?” he asks as he returns to his favorite page. “He’s gonna fight somebody?” he asks in the car. Back at Mommy’s, he asks for the horse book.

He’s running around the house and I’m chasing him. He stops suddenly. I crash into the wall and a serious little voice asks, “I hurt you?” His eyes are wide with concern. What a sweet child!

Tommy doesn’t watch much TV at all, and he goes to a very politically correct day care. Where does this whatever-it-is come from? And is it bad? I don’t know what it is, but I don’t think it’s bad, at least not what I’ve seen in Tommy.

Some would tell us that boys and girls are wired the same, and that upbringing makes the difference. What do you think?


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