Sunday, March 19, 2006

a fanciful child

The more I get to know my daughter, Laura, the more I see traits in her that I remember from my own childhood. Perhaps I'm partly imagining them. Perhaps I'm projecting certain emotions onto her behaviour, which she may not truly be feeling. I don't think so, though. My Laura Lou is a sensitive, slightly serious creature, given to fanciful thoughts, and rapt in stories of princes and castles ... strangely similar to her mother at the same age.

The other night, when feverish and dull-eyed, Laura sighed and tossed in her bed. I sat at her bedside, and asked her what was wrong. Laura sighed again, shook her head, and murmured, "You'll think it's silly".

"I won't. I promise I won't think you're silly. What is it?", I queried.

"It's just.... my head feels too big for my neck. My neck is too skinny and my head is too big."

The thing is, I knew exactly what she meant - that thick, heavy-headed feeling that high temperatures bring. I smiled, and told Laura I understood; that what she said made perfect sense. I went to fetch the Nurofen.

When I was small, I remember trying to explain my odd thoughts to my mother. I don't ever remember her laughing, or telling me I was silly, but I have a vague memory of her seeming concerned, and loving, but slightly perplexed. My mother is a very down-to-earth person. I'm not sure that she knew what I was rambling on about much of the time.

I recall one summer being terribly un-nerved by the sound of slow knocking. Any sort of slow, insistent banging gave me the creeps. I remember trying to demonstrate the scariness to my mother, by rapping my fist in a rhythm on the wall, with long pauses between strikes. In my memory, my mother made some supportive sort of response, but I could tell she couldn't comprehend the fear. I was an odd sort of kid, I suppose.

Another time, aged 7 or so, I remember being very worried by the fact that over about 3 days, every time I burped, I could taste grilled cheese sandwiches. I kept telling Mum, " It's happening again! I can taste grilled cheese!". I felt like I would never escape the clutches of the melted cheese sandwiches, that Grilled Cheese had taken over my body like some sort of a demon. I probably didn't know about demons, then, actually. But I definitely was distressed. I'm not sure what my poor mother thought.

Then there were the strong feelings I had about numbers. Odd numbers were shady, shifty, mean sorts of numbers - not to be trusted. Even numbers, on the other hand, were honest, straightforward and decent. So if asked to choose a number between 1 and 10, it was always going to be an even number. Two was too few, eight was too much. Four was OK, but to be frank, not quite enough. Now, SIX....well, how could you go past it?? The number six was obviously the perfect number. I am still a huge fan of six.

Perhaps I wasn't such a strange child - perhaps all children have these weird thoughts, but just don't tell each other. Instead, kids confide in their old, sensible parents.

I may be old, but I'm still not completely sensible. And when it comes to parenting, that's not always such a bad thing.


Suzanne said...

no it's good to be a little goofy when you're a parent. You you can relate. ha ha
My son told me his eye felt like they were going to pop out of his head. This went on for 4 days, many doctor visits, and exrays. They finally said he was having migraines! I guess your eyeballs really do feel like they're going to pop out of your head when you have a migraine if you think about it?

Hope you guys are not affected by the hurricane that hit there?
take care

Flossy said...

My harry bear is a little like that - and I guess I was the same when I was a kid. Kids have an interesting way of explaining their feelings ad thoughts - the best we can do is try and understand, and never, ever put them down for it, or make light of it.

I fear I'm still fanciful and full of strange thoughts and feelings...

TUFFENUF said...

I am glad that you have good recall of your childhood thoughts, it makes you a better parent.

Motherkitty said...

Well, we hope Laura Lou's head is now the right size for her neck. When I was very, very young, and not feeling well, I used to dream of floating through outer space and flying past planets, with a heaviness weighing on my chest. It was all very strange and I dreamt this same dream for years. But, I was never able to verbalize this dream and feeling of suppression to my mother or anyone else.

It is good that she is able to talk to you about these things. And, it shows what a good mother you are to your lovely children that you show your understanding (however silly these things may seem).

We had a wonderful time at the party and I will post some pictures tomorrow. Right now, I'm for bed.

manababies said...

This is very interesting to me. Just today I was trying to remember things about my childhood... specific things about events or people, much like things my daughter remembers. Oddly enough, I don't remember much and I'm not sure why. My mom tells me I was a very serious child. Quiet, reserved, and terribly shy. I'm not like that any longer. So I almost want to believe I was a different person. But this has made me realize that childhood memories are so important. I think it does help one become a better parent actually.

It is funny how kids communicate things to parents. And you know, if you took everything too seriously, like what I do quite often, it really would be so hard to relate to them. I think that's the issue my mom had... and still does come to think of it :)

doubleknot said...

Laura is a very lucky child to have a mother like you. Too many parents would just fluff it off and say it was silly.
Hope she recovered from her fever.

Abandoned in Pasadena said...

Jelly, you are a very caring & thoughtful mother and it sounds like you can relate to Laura feelings and you are also willing to take the time to listen to her. I had lots of nightmares as a child that started when I was 8 and nobody seemed to care or want to your little Laura is very lucky to have you as her mother.

Our return trip home on Sunday took much longer than it should have because we had stick-beaks and stopped everywhere that looked interesting.

Kerri said...

Your Laura verbalized that heavy-headed feeling very well. Maybe she'll be a descriptive writer like her mum.
My Kylie (oldest daughter) went through a stage of being afraid of my houseplants after watching an episode of the twilight zone. Sensitive kids seem to have vivid imaginations. I wonder if they grow up to be the most creative adults.
You sounded like a pretty normal child to me...perhaps a little more able (or willing) to verbalize than some :)
I wish you'd been there to listen to that author. He was so interesting!