It's said it takes a village to raise a child. In Jimmy Kirk's case, this proved literally true. The second he could stand, he climbed. The moment he learned to walk, he began running. He would run into things full force, sit down hard and cry as if being dismembered for about 30 seconds, then he'd get up and do it again. His parents nicknamed him "Crash", and his elder brother dubbed him "Dr. Destructo", because some of the things that he used as speed bumps, such as floorlamps, promptly gave up the ghost.
When he was six years old Jim used his brother's old bike that he found in the tool shed to teach himself to ride. He didn't exactly have permission to do this, but nobody was there at the moment to tell him not to, so he did. The bike was much too large for him, and he couldn't keep his feet on both pedals at once, so he'd walk the bike next to a rock by a gentle incline, step up, mount and push off. Once (after tumbling off to one side or another about 70 times) he figured out how to balance, he went to work on pedaling. He managed to push one pedal, hoist himself over the bar to the other side of the bike, and then push down on the opposite one. He actually succeeded in propelling the bike in this fashion. Exhilarated with the thrill of speed, he zoomed in a random pattern all around wherever there was a path before him, until he realized he was so thirsty that his tongue was sticking to the roof of his mouth.
He made his way home in this improbable and comical way, with the image of a big lemonade looming before him in his imagination. When he got to within 8 feet of the front door, he dove onto the lawn while the bike wobbled away to flop noisily upon its side in the driveway. He duplicated this experiment again later in the week and managed a particularly dramatic dive while the neighbors across the way watched in horror from their front porch. Later that week, after the frightened neighbors had a chance to talk to Jimmy's mom and dad, Jim was presented with a bike of his own. One just his size.
He never really liked it. Stupid baby bike. Although he did get more enjoyment out of it when he clothes-pinned a couple of playing cards between the spokes. This made a gratifyingly stupendous sound when he rode it, and made it easy to imagine it was a motorbike. He liked the way it made everybody look at him when he went riding by.
His parents didn't complain. At least this way they knew where he was.
Spock seemed fairly normal to his father's attentive relatives, at first. He was a handsome child, easy to please, and for the first two years of his remarkable young life enjoyed great popularity with his father Sarek's huge extended family. It was Amanda who posed a problem. She was very anxious to stay near Spock at all times, and could hardly manage her maternal alarm when she lost sight of him for a moment. Spock would only become upset if his mother did: he was exquisitely attuned to her moods, which ordinarily would be fine, but Amanda was an incredibly moody *human* woman, and this complicated things.
Vulcans typically discuss all possible solutions into the ground before finally coming to agreement, especially when the problem is an unusual one, and there was a lively and very prolonged argument about what to do about Amanda. Many defended her right to be a mother in her own way. Many felt the needs of the community to enforce local standards of behavior were of paramount importance. Some argued that Spock was becoming socially retarded, others that Amanda's love for her son was inspiring her to accelerate her own acceptance of local customs. There was very little of what humans might think of as sympathy. Amanda and Spock were more like a communal science project.
Finally it was agreed that noninterference would yield the most interesting results, plus it was less work: everybody already had enough of that. Sarek, who (except for his choice of mate) was a fairly conservative guy, found it easy to just go along with what everybody else wanted, especially since it was what Amanda and Spock wanted too. Hey, he had to *live* with them.
Around the age of 2 1/2, Spock went within one week from a stammering toddler to an astonishingly sophisticated little savage. He was baby talking one day, and completing full sentences in both his mother's and father's languages virtually overnight. One week later he was reading his mother's textbooks, and teaching himself Latin and French. Amanda was delirious with excitement. She canceled her classes and devoted herself to encouraging Spock.
Later that month, Sarek began complaining to his relatives that the situation needed to be re-evaluated. Spock was totally dominating his mother, telepathically keeping her enthralled, drifting in and out of her memories of her Terran girlhood and leading her deeper daily into realms of pure fantasy. And judging by some of the strange things the two-headed creature was saying, some of those fantasies were pretty weird. From Amanda's perspective she was simply communicating to the best of her ability with Spock as nearly as she could to his level. From Spock's perspective his mother was the closest thing to a playmate he had. From Sarek's perspective he couldn't get near his wife and his kid was competing for her with him like some grotesque little man. Obviously, something had to be done.
Vulcans being the way they are, the issue went straight into committee, where it was promptly mulled over with all possible speed. Three years later, they had an agreement. Of course by then the damage was thoroughly well done, and it would take quite a lot to undo it.
All site contents Copyright L. Goodwin 1990 - 2002
Back to details
Back to SSTO