You know that intrinsic sixth sense that children have? Not the “I see dead people” kind, but the just-knowing sense, as in knowing that they like or dislike a certain situation or person. I call this “kidstinct.” And I have found that a kid’s instinct or kidstinct is usually right on. As we get older, this seems to get blurred. My son has proven this time and time again, literally since birth. No, I don’t think my son is Superboy, allergic to Kryptonite or anything like that. In fact, I believe that all children possess this gift. Yes, gift.
Let me explain. Since he was an infant, he has known which friends and family members he liked, and those that he could not stand. When he was an infant he knew which family members he wanted to hold him and those that did not feel right. Of course at the time I thought this was coincidental (rather, the belief that it was coincidental was forced upon me by those particular family members that he outright disliked).
There was (and still is) one person in particular, who has been coming around since my son was an infant, whom my son has detested. As an infant, as soon as my son would see him, he would start to cry and even scream. Let’s call him Mr. Sunshine (who is anything but sunshine, and I have to admit he resembles a child molester. If there was a particular look for a child molester, Mr. Sunshine has it in the bag).
Mrs. Sunshine and her children would quickly chime in and make excuses, of course at the expense of my son…or me: “He’s colicky. It’s just gas. Are you feeding him enough?” Funny as it was, as soon as Mr. Sunshine left, my son was all smiles.
As my son got older and was able to express himself, he would simply walk away and say things like “Bye Bye” or “Go!” And still today, at age three, whenever he sees Mr. Sunshine or even a picture of him, he says. “I don’t like you. You are a scary guy. Yucky man.” My husband and I try to cover this up and be polite. We find ourselves having to make excuses when we run into Mr. S. “It must be your hat or that jacket.” But all I really want to say to him is, “it is probably because you are a scary, yucky man, and I’m not fond of you either, frankly. But, you fit somewhere in our family tree, and thus, the reason that we see you again is that we have to. Cream and sugar with your coffee?”
I have never told my son (and never would) that I agree with him that Mr. S is a creepy man and probably finds some sick amusement in sitting on a park bench watching children play in the sand box. In Mr. Sunshine’s defense (which is difficult to say when both my husband and I agree with my son), he has never done anything outwardly wrong to my son, although there have been actions on Mr. S’s part towards other people that have absolutely reinforced my son’s instinct (we’ll just leave it at that). It is just his normal Sunshine self.
We would have definitely limited contact with this family if we could, but the whole related business keeps us connected. Such fun.
So, Mr. Sunshine, if you are reading this, just know that it is not of my doing or my husband’s, it is simply kidstinct. And kidstinct hasn’t failed us yet. It has saved my son from running into a stranger’s arms, walking over the edge of a cliff and befriending those he doesn’t want to befriend. And know that it is not “just gas.” It’s you.