Sunday, November 29, 2009

Give me the boy at one..

I have found myself wondering about Hitler's mother over the last week as I have witnessed some particularly unsavoury behaviour in my young men. George sits at his highchair ignoring his own Vegemite toast but eating Edgar's while Edgar tries to bat him away (in much the same way Edgar expertly flicks all fruit onto the floor). Edgar reaches over and snatches George's Mega Blox car while George is in the middle of running it backwards and forwards over the lumpy rim of a basket; Edgar is seemingly oblivious to his brother's pained howls. George grabs the back of Edgar's nappy to prevent him from crawling away, Edgar bites George leaving great welts in which one can quite clearly decipher the imprint of each tooth. It goes on.
Whereas, I had a vision of twins as best friends, my boys seem to do little but bully and brawl. 'Share, share,' I call from across the sink as they are pushing and shoving the teddy-on-the-motorbike-toy and they both just peer at me and shake their heads in a very firm 'no no no no no, Mummy' and then give me a look which says Have you tried sharing a toy that's no bigger than your palm? You really want us to share? Buy us a Kiddietips Swingset.
There is no doubt that this is the coalface of human nature, a place where shoves and hits and biffs and bats are unveiled, brutal and deeply heartfelt, but what behaviour is just natural one-year-old behaviour and what is antisocially antisocial? At what point does a Mega Blox car become Poland?
Klara Hitler had six kids and a boorish husband who seemed to fail at whatever he turned his hand to. I don't. But other than an unhealthy fascination with Cowboys and Indians, it's hard to see the traits of the infant Hitler that showed the man he was to come. Does a child have to be killing kittens or hurling pea-hen eggs for a parent to be on red alert?
My anxiety was heightened when the Jesuit motto I had always believed was 'Give me the child at seven and I will give you the man', turned out to be 'Give me a child until he is seven...,' which, as you can appreciate, opens up a whole can of early-learning worms. Okay, sure I knew seven was going to be a big year for us, because let's face it, one slip up there and we end up back at the Bunnings' car park, but I'd planned the year and was going to fill it with positive mentors, educational toys, yoga and preservative-free food. But now I need to usher them through seven years of good behaviour? Good grief that's exhausting; the boys struggle to make it through ten minutes without chewing on the power cords or squabbling over train carriages; 2015 is suddenly looking as far as Australia looked to the spouses of early convicts.
Fortunately, I know plenty of beefy men who wore clips and tutus at kindergarten and plenty of girls in lipstick who fronted up to prep in y-fronts. Let's just hope that brutality goes the way of sexuality and that there's nothing of the smashing-crashing-bashing one-year-old in the man. Or I fear, dear Reader, the shame is not only Klara's.

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