Monday, June 8, 2009

Case Study: First Child/Second Child Paradigm

And now, students, I shall present for your edification, a case study in the "First Child/Second Child Paradigm" --

Note the first child in the photo below -- see how he approaches the shoreline cautiously, not jumping in with the reckless abandon you often see in six year old boys, but only sort of, well, jumping for no apparent reason:

Pay particular attention to the "safe" activities he pursues when he first arrives at the beach -- jumping miniscule waves along the shore's edge, finding shells and showing them proudly to his mother. The snorkeling goggles, however, betray the first child's true desire to "go deeper" and explore beneath the dangerous waves.

See how he seeks out the company of younger children who will not dare him to venture further away from the shore, thus leaving him secure in his sense of safety and confidence:

Observe how the younger children look at him and wonder: 1) why the heck he's hanging out with them when clearly he can actually swim; 2) why he insists on being called "Aquaman;" and 3) why he wore his underwear beneath his swimsuit when he seems like just the sort of child to not wear underwear at all if he can get away with it:

Watch how, at least an hour later, the first child grows braver and ventures a smidge further into the waves. It will be, eventually, and at an agonizingly slow pace, a successful day in the waves much further out for the first child:

Now, the second child. Just where is the second child?

Bring that second child back here, I need him for a very important case study. How did you get out there so fast? We've been here all of three minutes!?

No. Seriously. That's too far. Bring him back.

For tomorrow's class, we'll be examining the dangerous maternal tendency to allow the second child to sit on an innertube in the ocean with the father while the mother wastes time trying to get the first child to actually get into the ocean.


  1. For scientific purposes shouldn't you factor in the info that the first child's mother, even though she was a second child, responded in like manner to water and all new/or potentially dangerous situations?

  2. Those pics are so good. Looks like you all had a great time. I'm glad no one was eaten by a shark. I'm with Casey, the shore is the place to be. The sea animals live in the ocean and I don't like it when people come over to my house and try to take over. Why would I do it to them. I'm fine in the sand. I'm even better on the side of the pool


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