Toddlers and psychotics

 I’m oftened haunted by a thought that with all the great writers and thinkers in the world that there is no original thought left, that I’ll never string together a truly innovative series of words or write something that hasn’t already been said in far better ways.  Still, I struggle to string together pretty words in my notebook, always disappointed in the results.  My two-year old looks at me quizzically and and I tell her I’m writing a story.  She looks at my scrawling, carefully studying me, and then says “You’re drawing your ideas?”  And yeah, that’s exactly what I’m doing.  “Drawing my ideas.”  It’s a briliant piece of phrasing really, better than anything I could have come up with.

She does that a lot. 

Her little mind is still soft, and logic isn’t a barrier to her like it is to me.  She doesn’t use the crutch of overused phrases because she doesn’t know them.  She’s forced to build her own.  I envy her that.  The last bastian of truly original thought belongs to toddlers and psychotics, a kind of erratic reasoning and creative well-spring that most of us are “cured” of over time.

At night she calls out sometimes, crying about how a witch flies into her room.  I tell her that I’ve put up an anti-broomstick net around the house to keep out any witches and she shakes her head.  “No mommy, the witches are flies.  They sneak in under the doors.  You have to hum them to sleep so they’ll feel better and sleep.”  I hum to invisible witch-flies in the night.  I’m told they all fell asleep on the spiderweb outside her window.  I wouldn’t know.  I can’t see them like she does.

There’s a secret magic moving about our house, visible only to her.  I listen to my two-year old as she pulls an egg from the refrigerator  and delicately holds it up to her ear. 

“Hush, mommy.  You’ll wake up the spiders.”

“Spiders?  Those are just chicken eggs, baby.”

“No mommy,” she whispers as she holds it out to me.  “These are spiders eggs.  All spinnely and slippety.  You hear them, mommy?”

No, baby.  I can’t hear them.

God, I wish I still could.

34 thoughts on “Toddlers and psychotics

Read comments below or add one.

  1. 1. When I saw the title my mind slipped a little bit and I actually thought you were going to talk about toddlers on drugs. You know, “*anti*psychotics.”

    2. I do not want to see the size of the spider that lays eggs the size of the ones in my refrigerator.

    3. This is some beautiful writing.


  2. Well, if you’re having trouble capturing your own original ideas, at least make sure you’re capturing hers! My grandmother used to write down all the cute/weird things we used to say when we were kids – and we now have treasured copies of those pages. I only wish I had done that with my kids.

    You know, back when the stuff they said was still cute.

    And didn’t involve requests for money.

  3. Oh, how that post made my heart hurt. I know exactly what you mean and I am frequently slammed into silence by the cogent thoughts, the amazing imagination that my children present me with on a daily basis. Sometimes I just have to sit down and really think about what they’ve just said.

    Come to my arms, my beamish boy[s].

  4. I thought I was the only person who worried about never having an original thought. Great post! What an interesting little person you are raising!!

  5. They are so beautiful and full of innocence and creativity…and sometimes, they seem a little bit wise, too.

  6. I’ve always said babies/toddlers know the answers to world peace and saving our sorry asses, we just can’t understand them or don’t take the time to listen. Great story!

  7. She is wiser than many of us. Our babies see the world in such an innocent and exciting way.

  8. Out of the mouths of babes…if we would only take more time to listen and learn from them. Great post. That apple doesn’t fall very far from the tree. Hope you are feeling better.

  9. “Spinneley and slippety”
    Brilliant. Your little girl is brilliant. I love that. A lot.
    And my favorite part of that poem is “Snicker-snack;” it became a catch phrase for one of my (NERD ALERT! NERD ALERT! NERDY STATEMENT AHEAD!) favorite D & D characters who wielded two vorpal shortswords. 🙂

  10. Dude, clean your house today if you can stand it. I swear my house has never been as clean as when I’ve cleaned it under the influence of steriods. Seriously, I’m not kidding.

    ps. I was sick and NEEDED the steriods, I promise. The clean house and hulkish feeling was just a perk.

  11. What a delicious post to resurface on, Jenny. Truly one of the most beautiful, well-constructed pieces I’ve ever read of yours (not that I don’t enjoy them all…).

    You do freakin’ hilarious like few are able to…but when you slow down? Poignant and beautiful.

  12. I love this. And I definitely think all writers fear the “nothing new under the sun” adage. And really, I guess there isn’t. But there ARE plenty of new images to create with words, plenty of new ways to say the same things. I love that about writing.

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  14. Pure brilliance. I love this. Actually, one of the best blog posts I’ve ever read. God, I wish I could still hear them, too.

    And, I stand corrected. I’ve linked to this post.

  15. I am enamored with your book Furiously Happy and I am learning alot about myself while learning about you. I know the magic thoughts of a psychotic but at this point I don’t have any children. If and when I do I think I will take notes on their magical world. I am looking for the blog post that you mention in your book: The Big Quiz. I really relate to the post and I am curious about the comments you received, I think they might help me and a few of my friends. Could you please link me to that post? Thank you!

    (Thank you! For you: ~ Jenny, Bloggess)

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