I am an unusually aware person. Or at least I am unusually aware of how people perceive me. As a young adult most people have a strong understanding of how social norms work and thus know how to evoke a desired response in most situations. But as children we are less adept in picking up on these social norms because, presumably, we haven’t experienced them yet.
As early as five years old I can remember distinctly that I could do very specific things in order to get other people to do things. Interestingly enough I didn’t use this new found awareness to manipulate others into being my subordinates, which probably would’ve ended in my social demise, but I did all the things I knew that pleased other people. I found out what certainly people liked or enjoyed; playing hide and seek, unicycling, riding trikes, being scared of girls….etc and did those things to win over the affection of others.
The same was true in my family. At least my awareness was just as acute, but was manifest differently. As a very small child I remember realizing that I had become a part of an already existing family. I had no real concept of what the word adoption meant, but I knew that my mother, father and sister had all lived together before I had entered the family and that time they had before I arrived separated me. I essentially felt adjunct. At one point I recollect going up to my room, or upstairs, when the four of us were down in our kitchen for the sole purpose of allowing them to be their original family for a little while. I felt that although they did accept me and love me and the like, there were probably times when they would want to be their old family again. Nothing personal, just an ordinary human desire to miss what you once had.
Interesting what a five year old picks up.