Early on there was a Dr. Spock I heard mothers mumble about when I was a girl growing up. By the time I came along with my motley crew there was a great writer, Dr. Robinson, who wrote The Wonder of Boys: What Parents, Mentors and Educators Can Do. This was a very helpful book that guided me on the thoughts and actions of the young male mind. It also helped me to understand the dynamics of a father and son relationship as it differs from that of a mother and her son.
Of course, this was back in the day when we had to drive to a book store and purchase a book that word of mouth had carried along. We would go home and after cooking dinner, finishing the laundry, and tucking kids into bed would sit down and read. Now the term is annotate. We would annotate the book. What we did was underline things and dog ear pages we would return to, but we likely never would. The facts would be stored into our brain for a later encounter or discussion.
It is still that way now. Our grown children reach out for guidance on understanding the mind of their little tykes. But now they have a cell phone with a search engine that is endless. And that is why we now have conversations with those boys raised on Dr. Robinson's book telling us things that run pretty deep based on research.
It goes something like this when talking to me about his 9 month old son. "My son and I have a large amygdala." My first response is to examine the shape of their heads, a little big, but all my sons had big heads like me.
"My son is going to be an introvert like I am because of this." And I am thinking how this could be possible when in kindergarten would greet the principal each morning by saying, "Good morning, Sara." And she would respond to the little man, "Good morning, Jonathan." How is this introverted?
He then explained to me that was a coping mechanism. But then I argued that he literally stalked his kindergarten teacher when he realized she lived on the next block to the point she sent home a note in his book bag saying she loved Jonathan, and he was the brightest in her class, but she didn't visit after work hours, so here was some reading material for him to practice at home since he was so insistent on reading because normally reading isn't taught until first grade.
How can that be defined as an introvert? But then I had to stop and think why I was letting a kindergarten child wander off to stalk a teacher a block away. Is my amygdala super small? And before I realized it, I was heading down some defensive rabbit hole with him and our adorable grandson.
Dr. Spock coached anxious postwar parents about trusting their instincts. Dr. Robinson explained that when Dads and sons rough house it is a rite of passage. A mom being the nurturer cannot take this place. And now the amygdala which associates memories with sensory input from different environments.
I am relieved all this information was not around when my son with the abnormal amygdala was picking his nose with one hand causing him to fall off the swing set. Or stalking his teacher while I rocked his twin brothers and his first grade brother was selling rocks to neighbor kids. All I needed in the day was a survival guide!