Kid logic

Children have very different perspectives from adults. The other day I heard giggles and shouts of “boo!” from kids in the kitchen. As I usually do with auditorily unidentifiable behavior, I went to check on them. Link and Gleek were taking turns scaring the fly that had come into the house. I went for the fly swatter since lunch was obviously not going to get eaten until the intruder had been eradicated. The kids met the sight of the swatter with loud protests. “Mom! Let’s keep him! He’s funny!” Pet flies. To avoid major upsets, the fly got a stay of execution on the condition that the kids Sit And Eat. They did. But when they ran off to do something else . . . no more fly.

It amazes me sometimes the mental and physical contortions I go through to appease the four small dictators in my house. Last Monday I had to walk back inside Gleek’s gym class to retrieve the imaginary dog that we’d forgotten. Her teachers were highly amused. Gleek was amused too. As soon as I got back into the car she informed me that I hadn’t brought “the other one” I tried to convince her that I had “See honey, it’s right there in your lap.” With a who-do-you-think-you’re-kidding look, Gleek said “No it isn’t. Go get it!” I was willing to retrieve the first dog because she was honestly upset and in tears that we’d left it, but the second dog seemed to be an exercise in making-mommy-do-stuff. I said “Oh look it’s coming to us. It’s jumping through the open car window! Here he is. He jumps into your lap! Isn’t he a funny dog?” Apparently this was satisfactory because she immediately manufactured a third dog whom she wanted to have me jump through the window. I informed her that we were only allowed to have two dogs and it was time to go. After a pause for thought, she deemed that I’d done sufficient appeasement and we drove home without further incident.

The sad thing is that I do stuff like that all the time. Or maybe it is a glad thing. Because the worlds my children live in are such different places from the one I inhabit. I think in their worlds the colors are brighter. There is a soundtrack for Gleek’s, I’ve heard bits of it. I know that Link’s world is full of special effects. Kiki’s has fairies and unicorns and a sea dragon named Sarah. I remember living in a place like those once. I remember being able to pretend so well that I could actually see what I was pretending. It’s been a long time, and I’ve forgotten how to get there on my own. But my children guide me to places I’ve forgotton how to go by myself.

18 thoughts on “Kid logic”

  1. I can barely remember when my world was like that. About the only time I even touch on that world is probably when I write, and unchain the imagination which the daily grind and the responsibilities of adulthood forces upon one. About the clearest memory I have of a situation like that was when I first met someone who would later become a friend, thorugh our families… and we ended up chasing one another around the house by using plastic bowling pins (the hollow plastic ones) to give ourselves powers or something.

    Unfettered creativity and belief’s something that’s rather underappreciated, and these days kids are either being urged to or rush by themselves, to grow up more quickly. It’s a pity, really.

  2. I had a world like that once…

    A mixture of all of those plus more…

    I wish I could get back to it after nights like this one…

    I think that’s why I like yer hubby’s comic so much… it’s bright, it’s cheery…

    My other 4 comics are S*P, Queen of Wands, Sinfest, and Underpower…

    Not happy places… funny to me, but not happy

    I find myself tearing up over the longing for the world I used to live in…

    Honestly, thank you very much for reminding me of a world where the good guy always won, the bad guys always got caught, and you could tell the difference between the two…

    If only it was only the good guys who wore all white…

    Then again, you and Howard would spend a fortune in bleach keeping your outfits white…

    Thanks Sandra… I honestly needed that…

  3. …Personally, I’m 23 now, and while the so-called Real World is trying to wear me down, I still live quite happily in my own world. It’s a bit more private these days – people will try doing things like getting you committed or thrown out if they think you’re not “in tune” with what they like to think of as reality – but it’s still a grand thing.

    As I told a friend’s mother a couple weeks ago… You may get me to grow up, but I adamantly refuse to ever become an adult. 😉 It helps keep me going when I’m up on too little sleep at a job filled with twits, dolts, and morons, after all…

  4. My writing professor

    I studied creative writing under Walt Wangerin at Valparaiso University, and in one class he went on a slight tangent (relevant at the time) about parenting, and how you had to inhabit your kids’ world to truly be effective. The following may be paraphrased from the “real” story somewhat, but only due to my own memory.

    His son, years and years ago, was afraid of monsters under the bed. No amount of checking would convince him that there were no monsters. In his son’s reality, there were monsters under the bed, and telling him they didn’t exist was denying his reality, which he could not, would not accept.

    Eventually, Wangerin realized that he had to join his son’s world… so he agreed one day to listen very carefully, and he said something like (here I’m reeeeally paraphrasing), “Oh, that’s why I haven’t seen them before! I recognize that noise! Those are invisible beetles! I’m sorry, son, I should have realized.”

    He realized that trying to then convince his son that invisible beetles were friendly wasn’t going to work, so instead he created a ritual to get rid of them. It was something simple like snapping and singing a simple tune, but it was a way to exorcise the kid’s fears.

    A lot of psychologists recommend against stuff like this, saying that it encourages the child to fear things and to find coping mechanisms that are not grounded in reality. But Wangerin’s son was never again scared of the invisible beetles under his bed, and eventually he outgrew the ritual as well.


  5. Absolutely

    I remember when I was growing up there were news reports about how the Japanese people schooled their children and pushed them to excel. I remember everyone was outraged. Now I look around at all the kids who are rushed from activity to activity, pushed to read before kindergarten, sent to high pressure academic schools and I think America is becoming what we once condemned.

  6. You’re welcome

    I needed it too. And I also tear up when I think of the worlds I used to have but have lost somewhere. I held onto them a little into high school by writing stories, but I haven’t even had time for that since college. Maybe I’ll be able to recapture that self-consciousless creation someday. For now I’ll enjoy the peeks I get into the worlds of my children.

  7. Monsters

    Sounds like your professor had an effective solution to the monster problem. We don’t have monsters in our house. All of our kids are firmly convinced that monsters are afraid to come here because Daddy will slay them. It’s a Pratchettesque solution, but it has worked really well so far.

  8. Re: You’re welcome

    Ok, after a couple hours sleep, and some coffee (food? feh… I’ll eat when I’m dea… wait, that’s not right…), here’s less teary stuff…

    Who in the world ever told us that it wasn’t ok to have imaginary friends/pets? That our hand wasn’t really a gun with unlimited ammo? That the blanket we had since childhood didn’t really protect us from monsters?

    Hell, who told u sthere were no monsters?

    Who ever that person was, they need to be hit with a 2×4…

    Never tell your kids that stuff…

    Just like telling them there is no tooth fairy, and no Santa Claus, it’s cruel…

    If they grow out of sound effects and theme music made on the spot, then fine…

    If not, even better…

    People like me need people like that to remind us that yes, infact, we WERE kids once… For however short a time that might have been…

  9. Re: Absolutely

    You want to know what the worst thing is? At least those kids do get to cut loose in college, at least for a while, before being pushed back into the mental cubicle, as it were. Here, the kids don’t even get that, at least not much of the time… though they manage anyways.

    And heck, the results in America aren’t all that good either. You’ve got some schools where the kids do learn, and many more where they DON’T. No recesses, no exercise, and they’re still doing, at most, as well as they did ten years ago… if not worse.

    Ah well. Back to my own chains.

  10. Re: Monsters

    Well, considering some of the stuff he’s written and the characters involved, that’s not all that unbelievable.

    Schlock could probably take the lot of them by himself. 😀

  11. Re: Monsters

    Daddy kicks monster ass. Daddy is what monsters are afraid of when the lights go out. The bad monster parents make their children be good by telling them frightening tales about ME.

  12. As I usually do with auditorily unidentifiable behavior

    Its the unauditorile unidentifiable behavior that worries me. The kids are quiet..too quiet.

  13. Re: You’re welcome

    I’m going to have to disagree about the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus. I believe that kids need to have a distinct line between what is real and what is not. And then I make sure that they know that pretending is more than okay, it is wonderful. My kids and I have wonderful fun pretending about Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, but my kids know that Santa and the Fairy belong in the realm of make believe.

    We all have to touch down on earth occasionally, But I don’t try to make my kids stay there. I prefer to see them soar.

  14. Silence

    I actually include silence into the category of “auditorily unidentifiable behavior” since I can’t tell what they are doing by just listening.

    And now I need to go upstairs. The kids are being quiet . . .

  15. Re: You’re welcome

    My parents told us the Santa and Tooth Fairy stories, but they were always clear that they were just stories, because (as my mother later explained) they were afraid that if I believed in them and later found out they weren’t true, that eventually I might wonder about, say, God, and when I’d be old enough to learn that He wasn’t there.

    They were careful, however, to make sure that we knew not to spoil it for others.

  16. I find that the imaginary world is not as far off for me, I can slip into it when I write or play certain RPGs, unfortunatly, that is still too far away for my tastes. I remember when I was a little tyke and always played in that imaginary world. One day I look forward to having kids who I can leech their imaginary worlds… lol

    Keep up the good work with the kids, they will hopefully always remember these days as they get older.

  17. Monster Under the Bed (and Elshwehere)

    What too many “grown-ups” don’t seem to realize is that children aren’t afraid of the dark because they think there are monsters out there; they are afraid because they _know_ there are monsters out there. They have a strong ability to tap into that special (if that’s the right word) consciousness that causes us to come out of the caves and into the open, and light _really big_ bonfires. We keep the monsters away.
    Children realize we do this, even if unconsciously. They pick up on half-heard and vaguely understood tales of crimes and monsters (both true and untrue) and _understand_ that there are things to be afraid of.
    And they come to us to help protect them. That’s what we are here for, as adults.

  18. Re: Monster Under the Bed (and Elshwehere)

    This is a major reason that I don’t watch or listen to the News anywhere near the children. All News programs livelyhoods depend on making people believe they can’t afford not to watch or listen, that threats are everywhere and only THIS News program can tell you how to protect yourself. When there are world or local events that my children’s friends are likely to discuss or that I feel they need to know, I sit down and tell them myself.

    My kids are still scared of stuff, but they don’t often have nightmares or believe in ephemeral monsters. I choose to believe that means my approach is working.

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