"It's So Nice To See An Unmedicated Boy"
The naturalist was part of a team from a nature center that had come to the playground to give a presentation on local wildlife. They had lots of animal skulls that kids were invited to touch and identify. My sons were literally dancing with delight at being able to pick the skulls up and turn them around in their hands.
"We give presentations to school groups all the time," said the other naturalist. "We've been doing it for years. All the boys used to be like that, and now you hardly see that kind of energy at all. I miss it."
The idea of a whole school group of thirty kids, half of whom were dancing and jumping around and not listening much to directions like Gareth was, filled me with sympathy for the teachers who had to engage in classroom management under those conditions. I know why people overmedicate boys. Believe me, I understand the temptation. If I could take a pill that would make it easier for him to listen to me and follow my directions, I'd be popping it a dozen times a day.
Gareth knapped a few more stone tools for his collection. He spotted a toad in the underbrush. On the way home, he chanted the naturalists' mnemonic: Eyes in front, likes to hunt; eyes to the side, likes to hide. At home, he built blanket-caves to hide in, like a good little terrestrial mammal. If he weren't such a skinny kid, he'd be perfectly suited to life during the last ice age. The more primitive the skill or lore I'm teaching him, the happier he is to learn it. I almost wish I didn't have to prepare him for life in our new century. Almost.