Thursday, January 1

Look At Me, I'm A Shy Exhibitionist

The Sprite has reached that 'showoff' stage of his young development. Whenever he wants to attract, impress or get the attention of someone (it could be another child, a visitor to the house or a family member) he will often resort to some outlandish stunt. Usually this involves climbing and ultimately falling to the ground in a glorified flop. "Did you see that?" he'll ask. "Do you want to see this?" he'll inquire before repeating the stunt.

Recently we were at Irvine Regional Park for the annual Christmas Train that rides through the park to Santa's Village. Waiting in line for our turn to ride the train, a girl maybe 7 years old took a liking to our Sprite. This attention was met with cold shyness at first, but thanks to the young lady's persistence, was eventually returned with some very silly behavior of the "Do yo want to see this?" variety. Climbing on the railing, falling to the ground, fake-bumping into the wall, all including an array of sound effects to enhance the stunt.

His antics must have worked, The Sprite and his older lady friend were inseparable for our duration at the park.

I wonder how long this showoff phase will last. Generally, the little guy is very reserved and standoffish when meeting people. However, once he warms up to someone the antics usually start. He has started mimicking TV commercials and movies, invariably the slapstick physical comedy appealing to his sense of humor. Any time the Pepsi Max "What Is Love" commercial he rushes to the TV to ape the head-nodding and falling over. It cracks him up to no end.

I always thought he would be great on the stage or screen. He's a total ham and loves an audience. But he has to warm up and get comfortable first. Not ideal for auditions i would say. As parents I wonder what we could do to build his confidence enough to overcome his initial shyness. I'm not sure the showing off is a favourable trait but the humorous exhibitionism is definitely entertaining for now. We like to see this side of him more than the shy, reserved kid who won't answer when asked a question.

Of course on the other hand, a reserved kid is absolutely less likely to be abducted by a stranger. By my rationale, any douchebag looking to coax His Stubborness into the back of a bronze Toyota Camry will be greeted with nothing more than a stiff cold shoulder. Nothing can make this kid do ANYTHING against his will. So I take an ounce of comfort in this case. It's tough to know where to set balance between reserved/outgoing. For now it is not a problem obviously. We don't stop laughing at the non-stop goofball show when The Sprite gets going, and the lucky few he warms up to are treated to a great slapstick show. Hopefully eventually he will find enough self-confidence with other people to be his silly self right off the bat. It's s endearing.

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