I Fear Natural Selection…Because My Kid’s Strong Will Outweighs His Brain
My son has a robust craving to please…well, himself. This strong will doesn’t have to be a bad thing. I hear it might one day provide the foundation for good leadership skills — independent thinking being a highly-sought-after trait and all.
But let’s speak the truth here. I’d rather he stretch those freethinking muscles after he leaves my house.
Most days, his attitude challenges my patience. Sometimes, though, his desire to do the opposite of what rational adults advise leads me to a much darker question.
If one of nature’s primary goals is to perpetuate only the strongest, smartest of the species, what does that mean for a child whose need to reject authority outweighs common sense and personal safety?
It all started with this crazy idea to bake with my kiddos. I thought we’d have a fun adventure in the kitchen, faces flanked with flour, aprons covered with sticky sugar residue, kisses and laughter all around.
Instead, the venture ended with many tears and second-degree burns on my son’s curious (yet dim-witted) fingers. Because what’s a 5-year-old to do when his Mother tells him to stay away from the stove because it’s hot?
He must touch it.
While glaring at Mom to make sure she sees the rebellion.
I naturally did what any loving parent would. I hugged him and wiped his tears. With a look on my face that said one thing.
Told ya, dummy.
A few days later, it happened again. Except this time, he raised the stakes. Because what fun is the threat of charred skin when death is an option?
While eating his after-school snack, he skips over to me, bragging how he just swallowed a grape without chewing it.
Wha — Wha — Why would do that? Why is that fun?
So I calmly explain the dangers in such an act, comparing the size of a grape to that of his esophagus. Ok Momma, he answers, assembling that genuine look of compliance that only a child about to disobey can.
Less than a minute later, he comes over to me making a strange noise in his throat. He doesn’t look to be struggling, so I assume he’s engaging in a sadistic joke. I role my eyes because that’s what a good parent would do.
As the moments pass, the noise gets louder, his eyes get bigger, he hunches over.
Holy crap, he’s choking!
I try not to panic and brace myself to perform the Heimlich (which I may or may not be familiar with).
He coughs and gags as the grape flies from his throat and lands at my feet. I look at his face to determine whether to hug him or kick him.
I do neither.
Instead, I turn away so he won’t see me ugly cry. Thankfully, he takes those moments to internalize what has just happened. When I turn back around, we stare each other down, both knowing he tried to swallow another freaking grape without chewing.
I make the face again.
Told ya, dummy.
Now I’ve gone from the frustrated parent of a strong-willed child to one pleading with the world to take pity on this ridiculous little human.
I know, I know — you need future homo sapiens with big muscles and hefty brains.
But please make an exception this one time. I think intelligence and the instinct for self-preservation exist in him.
Just not at this time.