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Monday, June 25, 2012



       mama's in the bathroom

As one who takes everything for subjective, I see objective being a condition created by the human mind to help understand the subjective, taking it apart, naming the parts, dividing the seamless infinite, the continuum of Now into millenia, centuries, decades, years, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes, seconds, tenths of a second, hundredths of a second, thousandths of a second, the nanosecond (a billionth of a second). Terms that everyone can agree on, the definition of reality, essentially meaningless. Is reality, thus, meaningless? I think so. Yesterday I saw Vada, 1 yr, standing by the edge of the coffee table, using the edge with her right hand for balance. She saw Justin's Marlboro gold pack box. She picked it up with her left hand like a cell phone, held it to her ear and said, "Hello," leaving out the l's, something like Heh-ho.

I held her up to see the mounted deer head on the wall; she'd pointed to it while we were going around looking at pictures on the walls. She looked at the deer face-to-face and said, "kit-kit," her word for cat, kitty. I got it that she saw its face covered with hair, a different kind of face from ours with ears that stick up, and big round eyes, like kit-kit. She's differentiating "reality" out of the seamless continuum, one image, one word at a time. I'm seeing her learn this "reality" by every experience in the course of a day. She feels sleepy, she wants to hold her blanket. It was the first time I'd noticed her make associations, the cigarette pack for a cell phone. Same shape, same size. I believe she knows it was not a cell phone, but saw the association and played with it, a toy. She saw the deer head with hair on its face and associated kit-kit. It seems like she's walking, one step at a time, out of the seamless void where there is no depth of field, something like seeing the forest, not the trees. They would be there only like in a dream that sees everything inside the eye's frame, as "unreal" as a movie, light on a screen. Each thing she pulls out of the seamless vision is differentiated into its form, given a name and understood as real. This table that helps you stand up is real. It has a name. It is solid and heavy; you cannot walk through it. It must be walked around.

She has to learn in this new body that sharp corners on tables hurt, that you can't walk through a table. She's learning to separate objects from the continuum one at a time by name as she learns them, and I see going on in her eyes immense curiosity about everything she sees. I blew bubbles for her outside on the deck. She said, "Buh-buh." She imitates sounds so well, no matter whether it is a sound like clicking the inside of one's cheek or a word, I can't help but see her as a translator at the UN so fast she can translate simultaneously with the original. Sounds are so interesting to her, she reminds me of a musician finding new notes, new chords, new runs. She's connecting sound and object. Learning the names to things, she is also learning which sounds have no meaning beyond the sound itself. We, the adults, are teaching her to differentiate "reality" from the seamless continuum as we were taught it, one thing, one word at a time, as we collectively believe it in agreement with everyone else. I think it's called enculturation, a Margaret Mead word. Then, in another language everything has a different sound. Like gato and kit-kit.

Yesterday I had several hours with Vada, watching her, seeing her have a new experience every second, delighted discovering reality at so fast a pace. It's like the world she's new in is opening, revealing depth of field to her, separation of what she sees into particular shapes that have names. She sees a bird fly over. Mama says, "Bird," and points. Vada looks up and bird is gone. She does see them, though, and knows mama means those things that flicker in a straight line across that big expanse of sky. It fascinates me to watch her about like it would sitting in a class with Noam Chomsky the professor, which I've never done, but imagine it would blow my mind every class. Baby the professor teaches me by experience, blows my mind every time I'm around her. I see her watch the bubbles hop on the breeze and drift down to the table, pop-pop-pop. She would watch until the last one went out. It took me back to my own disappointment seeing bubbles pop when I wanted them to last on and on, delicate crystal balls floating like dandelion parachutes surfing the breeze.


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