Wednesday, January 20, 2010

From Three to Thirty

My niece is a couple of weeks short of her third birthday, and like many young children she has that one childhood comfort thing that she can't be without. You know, some kids have a blanket that they are always carrying around like Linus from the Peanuts cartoons. Or some kids have a stuffed animal that they can never be without. Well, my niece has her BaBoo, which is sort of like a hybrid of the two aforementioned examples. It is a little blanket-like thing, about the size of a handkerchief, with a little stuffed bear head sewn in the middle of it. It's cute, and it is perfect for a little girl.
The thing about BaBoo is that it causes a change in her behavior. My niece is by all accounts a pretty remarkable child, okay. I know, I am a little biased, but she is smarter than the average bear, she has good manners, and she acts much more mature than the number of candles on her birthday cake would suggest. The thing about it is that when she has BaBoo in her hand, she regresses back to the days before she could talk or run around. She always has a corner of BaBoo stuffed into the corner of her eye or her mouth or usually, her nose. It is a very subconscious thing, because I don't think she means to do it. There is just something primeval deep within her that makes it happen.
It's not so bad with Sweet Pea because, well, she's three-ish. And when you are three-ish you are still allowed to have some of those little childhood habits because, well, you are still a child. Now, try pushing thirty and still having the same problem. That's a little scary. Now, I don't have a BaBoo. I mean, I did have a sort of a BaBoo when I was a kid but that is at home, packed away for posterity. What I do have is a quilt, made by my Grandmother by sewing a couple of pieces of cloth together with a nice white border, and stuffing a very small amount of stuffing inside of it. Anyway, it's a nice little quilt, and it serves its purpose, and I have taken it with me from place to place and home to home. And what I have found is that, much like Sweet Pea with her BaBoo, I find myself subconsciously wrapping the edges of the quilt around my index fingers and to a lesser extent, my thumbs. I just do it absent mindedly but incessantly. It is like I am obsessed with it, like I am addicted, like I am jonzeing for it. And I can't stop myself, not that I have tried all that hard. I haven't really tried because, quite frankly, I don't want to stop. Take that.
So what have we learned here? What is the moral of this story? Is there an important point to take away from this story? No, probably not. I am sure that plenty of professors in plenty of tweed jackets with leather patches on the elbows have done plenty of studies with plenty of government grants about this sort of phenomenon. I am sure that there is a name for it even, but I am not going to look it up. Partly because I don't care. Mostly because I am too busy wrapping the edges of my quilt around my fingers. The point here, I guess - if you need to have a point - is that sometimes we never grow out of our childhood habits, and that is perfectly fine as long as it is something innocent. Like something with a quilt. Or sticking your BaBoo in your nose. It's just your inner child making an appearance on the outside.

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