I have learned much about the female brain thus far as Dr. Dobson introduces vast amounts of research and then provides explanation of the same in an easily readable and fascinating fashion.
I have, while looking over the top of my book, observed some of the results of the research on girls taking place before my eyes as I watch a particular little girl at play in the swimming pool.
In a chapter entitled "Why She is Who She Is" Dr. Louann Brizendine, author of The Female Brain, tells of girls' valuing of relationships saying:
If you're a girl, you've been programmed to make sure you keep social harmony. This is a matter of life and death to the brain...From their earliest days, they [girls] live most comfortably and happily in the realm of peaceful interpersonal connections....It happened with Leila and her new friends on the playground. Within a few minutes of meeting they were suggesting games, working together, and creating a little community. They found a common ground that led to shared play and possible friendship."
Dr. Brizendine may well have been talking about Kate, the creator of community at our hotel complex this week.
Though under the strict supervision of her father and I, Kate has somehow managed to befriend a small army of children and parents alike. My Man and I are frequently "stationed" at separate areas within the swimming pool/lazy river/hot tub areas of our hotel. Kate is the one who has made this necessary as she flits and floats from pool to pool and river to river. Maintaining her intricate network of contacts has made her travels necessary.
While in our sites, or while floating from my Man's zone to mine, Kate will stop and talk to a mom of a toddler, asking how old the child is and will often move the conversation on to the child's bathing suit or flip-flops. I watch the mother look at Kate initially in disbelief that a child her age would speak to an adult. Soon, however, the woman will find herself telling Kate where the child's bathing suit or flip-flops were purchased and how long ago. Kate might add a comment or two about her own family or her own flip flops. Soon, one of Kate's keepers will move in and release Kate's new friend from the conversation and set Kate's sights back onto the pool.
While she's in the pool, our Social Barracuda organizes boys and girls alike into games with water guns and toys or into make believe play. They have "activity counselors" who work at our hotel whose jobs could be in jeopardy if the management finds out that Kate will perform the same services just for the privilege letting her through the gate to meet and greet folks.
I was with Molly and Kate in one of the baby pools when a lady walked by and thanked Kate for letting her child play with some of Molly's toys and return the toys to her with a big smile. This has happened over and over this week, most of the moms stop with a comment to me about what a nice little girl we have. Kate will then grin at me wordlessly as if to say, "I know, I know...I shouldn't have talked to them, but really, they needed my help."
My Man was floating in the lazy river with Kate when a cry was heard. Kate soon located the origination of the sound and scrambled to free herself from the pool float and hop out of the flowing water. Her father asked her where she was going to which she answered, "Dad, that boy crying over there is one of my friends and I need to go help him!" It was evident that the boy's father had the matter well in hand, however, so Kate was detained.
"Well, how are YOU this morning?" I heard as I was marching my little ducks onto the pool deck a day or two ago. I turned to see if the question was directed to me but of course, it was for Kate. A mother of another of Kate's friends was giving our middle daugher a smiling greeting. Kate paused to ask where her kids were and to comment on the woman's shoes.
Later, that morning, I looked up from my pool chair to see four children on a fourth floor balcony. The children were in various states of hanging on or creeping up the rail of the balcony. Hotel workers and guests were yelling warnings to the kids to stay off the banister and to scoot back from the edge. They were making everyone very nervous. "What a crew," I thought, "where are the parents?"
Thirty minutes later, I saw one of the same little boys from the balcony leading his family onto the pool deck. As they were passing by my chair one-by-one, I heard a familiar voice ask, "So, how old are all you guys?" Kate had joined the line right behind the child closest to her size, with an eager welcome for the unruly gang, and was ready to give them the orientation tour!
It's a good thing we packed loads of snacks. On many occasions, Kate has graced me with her presence just long enough to ask for a baggie or two or three of chips or pretzels or popcorn to share with her "gang" as Meg as been referring to Kate and her cohorts. I've been surprised about how many parents will allow their children to eat food from a complete stranger's pool bag! Kate, not so surprised, just keeps dishing out the Doritos!
Just this morning as Megan walked on to our family's balcony to gauge the weather conditions, Kate yelled from the next room, "Hey Meg, while you're out there, check and see if my friend's tent is set up yet. It's a blue one that they brought from home. They set it up down there every day!" Kate gathered this bit of info while I was setting up our beach site (the only morning we set up on the beach). I thought I had called her away from the nice family soon enough, but I guess she got off a few questions with the time she had to work with!
One of Kate's friends just flagged me down and pointing to his head said, "Hey! She said I could use her goggles! Oh, my name is Zachary."
Soon Zach had finished with the lime green goggles and another fellow arrived and asked Kate to borrow them. "Sure," she said immediately, "lemme fix 'em for you so they fit you right." To Zachary she yelled, "Hey! You want a snack?"
I'm cultivating a secret plan to send Kate to Dr. Dobson for a week or so next summer. I'll be very interested in seeing the research material that will surely result from that visit.