Horatio’s Third Birthday Party
At the age of three, and four now that I think about it, my oldest son Horatio discovered his social currency. His Birthday Party. An invitation to this always simple affair was a hot ticket. For as soon as he learnt to talk, he became a mini tyrant. It lasted for about 24 months.
It first flagged itself when we used to take baby Jack to the cafe near our home, and the proprietor, a wonderful man called Jordan, would send Horatio over a mini-freckle cookie. He would look up at Jordan and would exclaim “You can come to my Party!”
At his daycare centre, the cook Lena would give him an extra serve of spaghetti bolognese and he would grant her with the ultimate compliment “You can come to my party!”
And walking down the street, well there was never a dog that he didn’t like to pat. Once he was patting a very friendly labrador when he stuck his hands around its neck, buried his face in its fur and said, in a muffled voice…. “You can come to my party….”
But it also worked the other way.
Horatio’s Fourth Birthday Party
I would often tell a very over-tired little boy that it was time for bed, and as I tried to calm him down and tuck him in of an evening he would bellow “YOU CANNOT COME TO MY PARTY!” Or perhaps his toddler brother would snatch a toy from him and Horatio would hiss “You cannot come to my party….”
Mr. Woog would sometimes tell Horatio that he had to try a new vegetable? And the party invitation was once again rescinded. Those parties! It was very hard to keep up with the guest list.
I was reminded about this little annoying, cute habit this week when I continued to watch on with horror at the behaviour of the new President of the United States, Donald Trump. And it bought me back to when I studying a little Childhood Psychology years ago. I won’t bore you too much with the nitty-gritty, but I am happy to share with you my theory and I would be interested to know your thoughts.
Donald appears to be stuck in the second stage of Piaget’s Theory, the Pro-operational stage associated with Egocentrism. This is usually where you will find the behaviours of toddlers, roughly aged two to five. (correct me if I am wrong please.) Generally speaking, in this stage you cannot use logic to combine or separate ideas. It is slightly linked with narcissism in a rudimentary way.
“His widely reported symptoms of mental instability – including grandiosity, impulsivity, hypersensitivity to slights or criticism, and an apparent inability to distinguish between fantasy and reality – lead us to question his fitness for the immense responsibilities of the office” – The Independent
So in a way, Donald Trump is still a toddler trapped in a grown ups body. And like all negative behaviours, you are advised to ignore them. But in these disturbing circumstances, it is really hard to turn a blind eye.