Monday, February 15, 2010

Dogs are from Mars, Cats are from Venus

Yesterday morning, Genevieve and I were having a snuggle in my bed sometime mid-morning when she said out of nowhere, "Mommy, are cats girls and dogs are boys?" I had to stop and think whether she'd heard me say that, because this is exactly what I believed when I was little. But no, I hadn't mentioned it to anyone lately, she just thought of it. BD says all kids think that, but I don't know. It feels so bizarre when she demonstrates how much her mind works in the same way as mine. And when I explained that no, there are boy dogs and girl dogs, and boy cats and girl cats, she immediately, without having to pause and think it through, said "But why are there boy cats and girl dogs?"

A couple of months ago, as you maye have seen on BD's blog up in the "Quotable Quartet" section, we were in the car when she said to me in a slow, dreamy voice, "Mommy...when I'm sleepy, everything feels greasy. Like...chicken...on fingers." And you know, I knew exactly what she meant. I have a clear memory of waking up one morning after being sick when I was very young, probably no older than five, and telling someone "I slept like a tube of toothpaste." I had woken up feeling rested and great after a few days of feeling crappy, and that was what popped into my head as an appropriate comparison. I also have never liked ketchup on hotdogs because it tastes like too much red, in the way that a red shirt paired with pants in a slightly different shade of red would feel wrong.

She also has started talking a lot about her imaginary "Dremmy." Her friend and housemate Miss M has a "Grammy," so I think that's where she got that. She has filled me in on the back story of how she has a Dremmy, not Grandma but another Dremmy, and when Genevieve "used to be a grown up," she would go over to Dremmy's house and they would do things together. So each day, if someone mentions going somewhere or doing something fun, she will often tell me how she went there/did that with her Dremmy. Sometimes the stories are also scary or violent.

One way I can tell that G is approaching age four is that she is becoming increasingly morbid. Just as her oldest brother once told me, as a four year old, that "I was imagining being dead and all I could see was black dark," Genevieve has lately started telling me "I was thinking of something." Then she will go on to describe what sounds like a bad dream, but she will clarify "I didn't dream it, I just was thinking it." Recently she told me she was thinking about if Miss M came with her to Grandma's house and Deuce was there (her cousin's dog) and Miss M went to pet Deuce and Deuce ate her legs all up and then her arms all up and then just her head was left. Now, G loves Deuce, and has gotten over an initial fear of her that came from never really having spent time around dogs, and specifically not an American bulldog as tall as she is. She didn't even sound scared when she told me about her little vision, either. It was just something she thought of. This weekend she told me again that she was "thinking of something," and it turned out to be an elaborate montage of people falling down holes far too complicated for me to follow.

Oh! That also reminds me that she asked me about a week ago if "When people die, do they get sucked into the street and the sidewalk?" Thinking this sounded like something she saw on one of those weird cartoons her older siblings like to watch, (seriously, Chowder? WTH is that all about?), I asked if she saw that on a show. "No!" she exclaimed in irritation, "I'm just asking you! When people die, do they get sucked into the street and the sidewalk?" "No baby," I said, "people don't get sucked into the street or the sidewalk. Did someone tell you that?" "No!" she said, clearly exasperated that I was being thick, "I just thought of it and I'm just asking you!" Then she asked where people get sucked into when they die if it's not the street or the sidewalk. Um...? What am I supposed to say to that? I said "They don't get sucked into anywhere, honey. That's just not what happens" and then I distracted her by pointing out something happening beyond the window.

Freaky little kid.


Stacey Greenberg said...

i think the dog/cat thing is pretty normal and is also perpetuated by children's clothing. (i.e. cats on girl clothes, dogs on boy clothes.) when we dressed satchel as a black cat on halloween at age 2 EVERYONE assumed he was a girl.

yeah but that other stuff is definitely freaky! i hate the morbid what if game!

oh and i would imagine feeling like a tube of toothpaste to be anything but well rested.

Mrs. Katherine said...

I also think the cats and dogs thing is pretty normal, but I don't have a good explanation as to why like Stacey does.

When I was little, I was deathly afraid of earthquakes because I thought the sidewalks would crack open and either my loved ones would fall in or I would be eternally separated from them. I've thought about it a lot recently after what happened in Haiti.

Rita said...

Yup, she sounds four. Oh dear, that "when I used to be a grownup," stuff is right from Liz. My other two did not do that, so I was freaked with Liz's non-linear understanding of time.

But, the morbid stuff about death and dismemberment, yup. Liz is still fascinated about what happens when people die. She's all the time reminding me that my mom died. Yes, child, I know. But, when she asked where grandma died and what happened to her next, I lied through my teeth, because if she knew that grandma died in the bed that grandpa still sleeps in and then they burnt her and grandpa keeps her ashes in that pretty vase in his livingroom, I think she'd never go back to that house. So, according to her, grandma died in the hospital and she's buried in a cemetery somewhere. When she gets older, I'll tell her the truth.

My kids thought cats were girls and dogs were boys too. Now Liz judges gender based on eyelashes alone. Eyelashes=girl.

Cathy said...

Funny...Charlie is going through an almost identical phase. He talks about "when he was a grown up" and "a few years ago, when I was a little boy." The morbid stuff is there, too. He's all into death these days.