Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Oedipus Redux

One of the biggest changes in Bub over the past year is that he has moved into the fourth dimension. He remembers; he anticipates; the things he sees and does have a larger context of before and after. In parenting terms, this development has certain benefits: Bub can wait his turn; he can be motivated by promised future treats. It has also altered his relationship to books and movies: a year ago, we were watching Baby Einstein and reading Hop on Pop. The pleasures of watching and reading had to do with recognizing familiar words and objects. Now, Bub has moved into the world of story. He has discovered the pleasures of plot, the mechanisms of suspense and cause and effect.

Bub takes a particular interest in stories of metamorphosis. For months after watching Brother Bear one of his favourite games was to turn slowly on the spot, arms floating at his sides, and then solemnly announce, "I am a bear." More recently the Incredible Hulk has attracted his attention. The transformation of mild-mannered Bruce Banner into a green-skinned monster of rage seems linked in Bub's mind to that more common yet equally extraordinary transformation: the change from boy into man. "I'm going to grow up into a man," he informed his Little Gym instructor yesterday. "And I'm going to go to the office."

This is a new discovery for him, and a fascinating one. "When I grow into a man," he told me last night, "I'll be too big for this bed." I tried to explain that a twin bed is actually big enough for a man or a boy, but he was having none of it. "No," he insisted, "I will need a mommy-and-daddy's bed. That's my favourite kind of bed."

"Will you have a wife to sleep with you in the bed?" I asked.

He was highly amused. "No, silly! You will sleep with me in the bed. And Daddy will be a small, growing boy!"

Maybe I need to revise the lecture I gave my Children's Literature class yesterday on how the Oedipus complex is not something we need to take literally anymore.

32 comments:

bren j. said...

Hm....THAT could be interesting. I wonder what your Pie would think about that....

Veronica @ Toddled Dredge said...

My one-year-old actually fussed at me yesterday for trying to get in on her hug with daddy. Mama was most definitely an unwanted intrusion. This is my first child to do that.

bgirl said...

hilarious!

my little dude went through something so similar, batting his long lashes at me, wondering if when he turned 5, he would then be a man, we even needing a reminder him how little boys kiss their mamas.

ah to be so adored. ;)

cinnamon gurl said...

Ha ha! Yes, I think maybe.

Mayberry said...

Maybe you could explain to my son, while you're at it, that he doesn't really have "a baby in his belly dat's name is Daddy."

Gwen said...

Bub made me grin, but Mayberry's son had me chuckling.

kittenpie said...

And on the flip side, my little Electra has labelled her dad as her "babies'" father more than once in the past. But now that she's all death-obsessed, she's said that their dad was from Africa and now he's dead.

Ours IS however, convinced that she will never want to leave home when she's a grownup. I don't think so, kid.

niobe said...

When he was two or three, my son used to pretend that I was a little girl and he was my mommy. That makes a certain amount of sense, doesn't it?

Bon said...

laughing. daddy will be a small, growing boy. oh, if only we could bring so many daddies back to that stage...

Mary-LUE said...

Yes, a boy's first true love is his mother, as a girl's is her father. Parents represent so much to their children. It sounds like Bub is also getting to that stage really emulating his dad. (I miss watching all this with my children... they're getting too old!)

Mad said...

Miss M wants to marry me when she grows up. Not exactly Electra.

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

It's fascinating, isn't it? My daughter was convinced she'd give birth to guinea pigs on her 4th birthday. They were going to crawl out her mouth. I actually bought her a guinea pig a few days before her birthday -- me being just the tiniest bit superstitious. (When she saw the new guinea pig, she said that maybe she'd give birth to the others on her 5th birthday.)

Bea said...

Bren - Pie is ALL about Daddy these days. Between them my children are giving Freud a field day.

Mad - I remember that feeling, that all-consuming desire for mama. My earliest concept of death was that heaven involved everybody lying in long rows, and I decided it wouldn't be so bad if my spot was right beside my mommy's.

Heidi said...

I had a friend who every time she and her husband would hug or kiss, their not even one-year old would throw a tantrum. That Freud was on to something!

Kia said...

Too funny! My Little Man often starts his sentences with the following: "Mommy, when you're a little girl again..."

If only!

Beck said...

Yeah, my son likes NOTHING better than sneaking out of bed and crawling into bed with me. That's creepy, buddy!

Patois said...

Oh, but my favorite is "'And I'm going to go to the office.'" That slays me (for some reason I'm still not entirely clear on).

Susanne said...

My son has it all mapped out. When his grandmother dies my husband and I will move into her apartment upstairs and he will live in our apartment with, well, either a girl from kindergarten or a boy from kindergarten, whichever is his bestest friend right now. Though the boy told him that two boys couldn't get married (wrong!), and they agreed on just sharing the apartment.

We will be allowed to come down and eat with them. They'll cook.

Kelly said...

That's a whole lot of funny.

Magpie said...

:)

(and i LOVE your post title...)

Janet said...

Both of my older kids wanted to marry me, once upon a time. Now my eldest daughter just wants to live with me forever; my son, he's soooo over me.

Ciao Oedipus.

Sarcasta-Mom said...

I think my kids are already excited to grow up and live on their own. My son seems to think that being a grown-up means he gets to do whatever he wants :)

Mimi said...

What an interesting development! And as for the Oedipal complex, Pynchon was giving me a hug and Munchkin was grumbling about it. He said, "Mommy is my favorite," and Munchkin hollered, "NO!! MOMMY IS MYYYY FAVORITE!" And smacked him. Nice.

nomotherearth said...

I love the things that they come up with - too funny! The Boy is constantly telling us how he will be a daddy soon.

Jozet at Halushki said...

"Daddy will be a small, growing boy."

Now THAT is poetry in the fifth dimension...at least!

the end of motherhood said...

I just love the certainty with which they pronounce the future...

Sus said...

My daughter, a daddy's girl through and through, still sleeps in our bed. Every time I take shelter from my her little heels jabbing me in the side (which she either doesn't do to my husband, or he somehow doesn't feel) and I give up and go sleep in her twin, I glance back at her snuggled up next to her daddy and think of Freud. Then I shiver and go sleep in the other room.

Kyla said...

Hahaha! That's very funny.

Catherine said...

I love it!

And, in defense of Bub, my husband does NOT fit on a twin bed. No, not at all.

And...we read Hop on Pop every day....

the new girl said...

Right?

How great is THAT? I love the 'small and growing boy!'

Class-ic.

Sue said...

My son is the same way. I am his greatest, dearest love. He will hold my cheeks between his hands and look into my eyes and whisper, "Oh mommy, I love you a very big much." And then he will ask for a new hot wheels car. He's crafty, that one.

He also believes that time and age are fluid - that if he will grow older, then of course Daddy will grow younger, that someday he will be the Daddy and I will be the baby.

Carmen said...

Wildly amusing!