Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Little Boys Are So Sensitive

In most human cultures, the males of the species are supposed to be tough. But of course, little kids, including boys, just aren't that way. Bowen keeps reminding me of that day after day. Now, most of the time, he is a pretty tough guy. I once watched him ride into a pit and crash with the bike falling on top of him. He cried for 10 seconds and then got right back on his bike and kept going.

5 days after his hernia surgery, the doctor told him he could ride a bike again. He was still limping and walking funny, though he'd been off painkillers for a few days. Immediately that morning, he told me to pick him up from school by bike. That it came as a surprise to his classmates was apparent when I came to pick him up: once they saw me in my helmet and riding shoes, they collectively said, "bike again?"

Over the Christmas break we decided to show him Inside Out. Earlier in the year, he'd met Rosana "Rosie" Sullivan, who was one of the artists at Pixar. Rosie (Rosie actually worked on The Good Dinosaur, not Inside Out) made an impression on him, so when we asked if he wanted to see Rosie's movie, we weren't surprised when he said "yes!"

What surprised the heck out of me, however, was that 30 minutes into the movie, he said, "I'm too scared. I don't want to continue watching Rosie's movie." Note that this wasn't his first movie. He'd already watched all 3 Toy Story movies, Frozen, Kung Fu Panda, Nausicaa and Totoro. To my mind, Nausicaa has scenes that are more scary (or sad) than what's in Inside Out, but for whatever reason, the situations and events in Inside Out were real to him, whereas perhaps it was clear that Frozen and Totoro are fantasies. He was so scared that he couldn't sleep alone, and had to move into Xiaoqin and my bed at midnight so he could sleep.

The next day, he said, "When I'm older Rosie's movie won't be too scary for me. Maybe when I'm 46, I'll like to watch the movie." (Yes, I'm 46, and my son never fails to remind me how old I am)

In any case, I don't remember being so sensitive as a kid. I only ever got nightmares when I was taken to a real horror movie (goodness knows what my parents were thinking when they took us to one --- we all had nightmares for weeks). But maybe we're all that way as kids and you only get less sensitive after you get inducted into the horrors of a formal education system.

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