Don't do that. What?

Sometimes I just yearn for a scientific mind.

You see it most commonly in toddlers and those under the age of 5 when social awareness has yet to eradicate it. It always strikes me as being half way between a yawn and a stretch. It's a gesture that intrigues me as I watch a three year old girl twist and pull her skirt up towards her face, to reveal a pair of pink leggings. It does not appear purposeful, more like the shudder of cat coming awake. It's the same as another child that appears to half pull off his T-shirt. They remained clothed and decent, as they don't complete the motion. Somehow it is not the same as someone undressing. It's more like slow motion followed by a pause.

It should have a name.  Where should I start in the dictionary?

It appears that most children grow out of this phase but others do not. I suspect that whatever prompts the behaviour is outstripped by the stronger motivation to fit in with the social mores. Some others are both stuck in this phase and usually manage to complete the motion unless prompted to do otherwise. Because it is slow and lazy there's enough time to step in. If I could figure out the why, then I might be able to tackle the habit more effectively. It's all well and good to say 'no,' to be watchful and intervene, but it would be so much better to determine the cause.

This is so often the case with so many of their habits. If someone is not aware that they're doing something, it seems pointless to ban it outright without further investigation. If the social awareness and peer pressure element is missing, or not a priority, it is still wise to prompt and guide, but it's not ideal. If the tactile defensiveness component is eliminated, what else is left?

It is not the same as undressing. Undressing is purposeful and fast, over in the blink of an eye. This gesture is a distracted movement, common in youngsters that I never see with adults. If they are both kinesthetic learners, learn by their bodies going through the motions, I wonder if once they start the gesture, their bodies just follow through, as the 'pause' at the apex of the movement for most people, is over-ridden?

It is these kinds of thoughts that make life so unproductive.

Where are all the boffins when you need one?

Come along villagers, out of the lab, it’s time for some fieldwork.

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