Unruly

I remember very clearly a certain moment from my first day of kindergarten. We were all assembled on the rug and the teacher was explaining how the year would go. I wasn’t really listening and sensing this, the kid next to me leaned over and whispered “they have a lot of toys back there, you want to go play with them?” I didn’t see why not, so we politely slipped away from the circle and were vrooming around on some plastic trucks when the teacher appeared, and gave us to understand that this was absolutely shocking behavior in its complete lack of regard for social norms and timing. I hadn’t been trying to be difficult; I had assumed that the toys wouldn’t be there if they weren’t for us to play with them, and I had assumed that all the other kids were sitting quietly because they wanted to. (Which is funny, because I now am especially annoyed by those people who assume that those of us who do boring or unpleasant shit do it because we like it, or at least don’t mind it as much as they do, but I digress.)

That was the start of a long and difficult schooling for me.

Baby gym has some segments where all the kids sit in a circle and do exercises or play games or watch a puppet show and Edith is not into any of this circle work at all. I mostly physically restrain her, which is increasingly difficult, but sometimes I just let her go, and today as I was watching her climb to the top of a ramp thingy in the corner while the other kids sat watching a stuffed penguin, it occurred to me that she’s going to have a lot of the same struggles I did. It’s for different reasons, though: I just didn’t understand that there were rules in most situations, and that I wasn’t specially exempt from them, but I was extremely good at sitting and focusing on things when I wanted to. I had no trouble being still or quiet if it happened to suit my purposes. Whereas Edith is so physical that she simply cannot sit still for very long (never a problem I had).

Anyway, this is one example of several ways in which I’ve noticed that Edith and I are similar in aspects of our outward behavior, but I can tell that our internal motivations for it are very different, which I find interesting.

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