"The Child is Father of the Man"

“The Child is Father of the Man”

Lisa and Maria are both verbal types, and they both married mechanically inclined men who like their big boy toys—but what fascinating and different little people Tommy and Tina are!

Tommy and I love to read stories, and one of his current favorites is the Disney classic The Fox and the Hound. It’s a longish story for a just-turned-three-year-old, but I summarize it rather than read every word and Tommy likes to hear it again and again. We also build—and destroy—towers with his blocks. I hide and leap out at him from behind corners, sending him shrieking and laughing down the hallway. And we play verbal games. Eyes bright with challenge, he calls me “Mommy.” Not to be outdone, I call him “Uncle Richard.” Or I tell him Grandpa’s working. “No, Grandpa’s not working,” Tommy sneers, a mischievous grin reminding me that this is a game. “He’s sleeping!” “Don’t you tell me Grandpa’s not working!” comes my menacing reply . . . and on and on we go.

Tommy remembers being naughty two months ago, and still talks about the consequences. An analytical little boy, he remembers past events and ponders their significance. Tommy knows he’s not supposed to swear, and he’s working at understanding what is and isn’t swearing.

When he tells me a lady is fat, I say he shouldn’t say that. “Is she thin?” he asks. Tommy is learning that lying is wrong, so if he’s not supposed to lie, and if he’s not supposed to say the lady is fat, does that mean she’s thin?

“The Child is father of the man,” said poet William Wordsmith. And what sort of man will Tommy be?

In my next post, I’ll tell you what I think about that, and I’ll also tell you how different my days are with Tina.


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