Thursday, January 13, 2005

Come on in! The water's nuts!

So. When I was a kid--between the ages of, oh, 3 and 6--I had this little problem.

I thought that our furniture was alive.

Well, really, I thought some of the furniture was alive, along with all my stuffed animals and toys, and maybe some trees.

As you can imagine, this was a cause of some concern for Little Me. I recall, in particular, that the Bathroom Sink struck me as being rather surly. I always made sure to tell it goodnight very politely, to butter it up so that it wouldn't attack me. Which is what I, in some vague, Junior Psychotic way, thought would happen if I didn't make sure that all the Inanimate Objects really, really liked me. Oh, I went through the whole house every night, kissing and "goodnight"ing and tucking in assorted knick-knacks.

Thank God that Disney version of "Beauty and the Beast" didn't come out when I was a kid, is all I can say.

In retrospect, I think part of the problem was that I did indeed watch too many Disney movies. Also, I tended to space out and stare a lot. When you do that, your vision gets wavery, and things seem to pulsate a bit. Sort of like breathing. I remember sitting and thinking about something and then suddenly realizing that whatever I happened to be staring at looked as though it was moving slightly, which terrified me and made me stare even harder. Furthermore, I seem to have this odd habit of personifying things. Numbers, for instance. Ever since I can remember, I've assigned distinct personalities to the numbers 0 through 13, and the multiplication table is an exercise in human relations. Everybody wants to multiply by 2. That 4 has an attitude problem. And don't even get me started about the 9.*

I mentioned the furniture thing to my mom once, and she reacted with surprise. "You thought the furniture was alive?" "Mom," I said, "didn't you notice me telling all the appliances goodnight for 2 years straight?" "Well, yes," she returned, "but I thought you were just being polite."

The point of all this is that I'm a little concerned about The Girl because she's started looking askance at her stuffed animals. She'll be running around with, say, her bunny, and suddenly stop and stare at it. Then she'll sort of sidle up to me and say, "Mama. Bunny thcare me." And I say, "You're bunny scares you?" And she'll say, "Noooo, Bunny no thcare me. Bunny luff me." But I see her giving it the fish eye as they walk away.

Well, you know. Maybe she's just being polite.

* I've actually read that this is a variation of synesthesia. The fun never ends in my gene pool, I tell ya!


trisha said...

I like reading everything you write.

butterstar said...

My three year old was terrified of the radiators in our old house...until she made friends with them. Now she talks to them (and talks for them) and sometimes feeds them treats. Should I be worried??

Psycho Kitty said...

Only if she's shoving twinkies into your radiators, I'd say. I growed up ok, more or less. My sink now is lucky if I clean it once a month, let alone kiss it goodnight. :)

Anonymous said...

Ever watch PeeWee's Playhouse? His furniture's alive, too. Chairy, Globie (sp? Globey?), etc. Good stuff.

Wanna Be PhD said...

Don't worry about your feelings towards numbers. It is common with geniuses. You should read "The Number Sense" by Stanislas Dehaene. He has some discussion about this.

What Now? said...

Interesting that you needed all the furniture to like you. It sounds like a larger manifestation of the problem I have of wanting every person to like me; I can't imagine extending that to the objects I currently (and perhaps erroneously?) think of as inanimate!

~profgrrrrl~ said...


I remember being paranoid (age 6 or so, I think) that the TV news people could see me. I refused to undress for my bath in the LR if the news was on.

Krupskaya said...

Heh. Not so much furniture, but when I was little I thought things like balloons and pieces of paper were alive and have feelings. The great thing is, Matt did too, and even now we still will feel sorry for an old mitten in the gutter. A few months ago we were paralyzed with indecision for about 10 mintues, trying to decide if we should stop the car and pick up a book at the side of the road (we went back and forth a few times in the car).

And as far as stuffed animals being alive goes, they totally are and no one can tell me they aren't.