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Kayton, E.C. (1960). Development of Sexual Identity in a Little Girl. Psychoanal. Rev., 47A(1):116.
  

(1960). Psychoanalytic Review, 47A(1):116

Development of Sexual Identity in a Little Girl

Eloise C. Kayton

The following contribution originates in the analysis of the father of a three-year-old girl and was told in associations of the patient during the interpretation of one of his dreams.

His daughter has developed a kind of ritual. At bedtime she asks her father to find her in order to put her to bed. He asks, “Where will you be?” She replies, “In the living room behind your chair.” He agrees. After a few minutes he enters the room. Her giggle is audible. He calls her name as he looks here and there in the room. Her excited giggle becomes more shrill at each step that he takes. She screeches as he comes to her hiding place. Then she asks that he pull her out. He replies, “That's too hard!” She says, “I'll come out halfway, now pull me!' He does. Her satisfaction is complete when he agrees to carry her off to bed over his shoulder. Her mother says the little girl's facial expression is so dramatic that she looks like Clara Bow being carried away by King Kong. “The little ham!”

It is no accident that at this time the daughter's sleep is occasionally disturbed. She walks into her sleeping parents' bedroom sometimes and announces that she is going to the bathroom or that she needs a Kleenex or she makes some other equally significant pronouncement. Her father says, “I guess she's satisfied after she has seen that everything is in proper order because she goes back to sleep.” How rightly his unconscious chooses his words although consciously he only dimly perceives the truth revealed in his statement.

On hearing this anecdotal material Dr. Theodor Reik was reminded of the custom wherein the bride wishes to be carried over the threshold in her husband's arms, as she enters married life.

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