The P.A.

A weekly address from Patrick Adams,
President of St. Louis Community Credit Union

Watching Them Grow: Thoughts on Child Development and Human Nature

On April 15th, 2013, posted in: Uncategorized by

My grandson is nineteen months old. He has a great attitude and a strong right arm. He’s babbling a whole bunch without much comprehension. The adults in his life are thoroughly confused by what he is trying to say. He could put the babbling to work in a political career. If he became a true American statesman, it would make me very proud. If he became an all-too-familiar, run-of-the-mill politician, I would shriek and encourage a more noble profession, a professional poker player maybe.

I get certain things about his development. He claps because we clap. He does “itsy-bitsy spider” hand gestures because he mimics his “Mimi.” When we break into a rousing rendition of “When You’re Smiling,” he knows how to smile from ear to ear.

Again, all the adults in his life are smiling so he follows suit. And when I confirm for him through melody that he is “my sunshine, my only sunshine…” he’s bouncing rhythmically with the beat.

Here’s where I get confused. At nineteen months, without any teaching or adult emulation, he sneaks things. I watched him run to hide with an unopened Mac & Cheese container tucked under his arm. When his “Mimi” told him to put it away, he shot across the room like a cheetah. He went behind the coffee table in another room, laid down and tried to hide both himself and the cheesy delight. Who taught him such a thing? I have never seen an adult in our household do such a thing. Where did he learn this lesson?

How does he know to run from us when it’s bath time? There is not a one of us in the family unit who doesn’t willingly, (with glee in many instances) bathe on a daily basis. If we welcome the idea, why does he run the other way? After all, he’s doing what we do. We’re teaching by example. He is a product of his environment after all. Who taught him the sound of a bag of Lays potato chips? He runs to us when he hears the rustling of a bag full of chips. How does he know from standing in the other room that the sound he hears is his favorite chips? It could be something else, like a bag of frozen Brussels sprouts. They sound eerily similar you know.

I am amazed at his progress, but more amazed by what he has picked up that is not something that goes on in our household. When he has to mess his diaper, he hides in a corner. What’s up with that? Again, nobody taught him to sneak off in order to make doo-doo, but he does. Quite frankly, we’re pretty appreciative. His facial expression gives us a head start on making the necessary plans to change his diaper. First, we draw straws to see who deals with the mess. Then, we have to set up a sting operation to catch him, because he runs in the opposite direction.

He is learning a lot. We taught him to put money in his “piggy credit union.” He loves it. That’s a lesson we hope sticks to him like biscuits & gravy on my belt buckle. We are pedaling fast to keep up with him, but you can’t start too early in learning the value of savings.

As for the other traits, I’m not sure where he is getting his bad habits. Who’s sneaking in here when the rest of us sleeping?

Somewhere around 26 years ago, I remember when his daddy (my oldest son) dropped something on the kitchen floor and expressed his disgust over such an occurrence by shouting an expletive. Oops, I knew where that came from… these other quirky traits, twenty-eight years later, I have no clue.

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