I read that children’s literature, like dreams, helps us resolve some of our most taboo and deeply sublimated notions of self. For instance, I should start to feel better about biting my sister when I read Cinderella and I should believe it perfectly normal to mistake fiction for truth after reading Alice in Wonderland. And, when I watch Peter Pan with our almost one-year-old, I learn that girls don’t get properly kissed until they sing a song about sewing.
It’s a bit awkward between Peter and Wendy, isn’t it? Peter swirls down with the tinkering Tinker Bell and after his the-sky-is-not-the-limit routine, Wendy says, “You may kiss me now” to which Peter responds, “And you can be mother.” As the songs go, she wants him to teach her how to fly and he wants her to insist the dishes get washed.
A few nights ago, I dreamed I had what I guess would be called an emotional affair with a faceless statue named Sophie. I’m going to assume my subconscious knows that a loose translation of “sophie” is wisdom and thus conclude that in my dream, I was Peter Pan. What’s interesting about Peter and the Lost Boys is that they seem to want Wendy to tell them what to do rather than have her to do it for them. Because, as all lost boys and girls eventually find out, it is wise to keep the dishes washed and even wiser to bring someone with you to Neverland to help dry them.
Awhile ago something monumental, but nothing to send a card over, happened, like we heard Clara’s heart beat for the first time or we paid off our credit card. In the same hour, we got a congratulatory call from both our moms. Aaron talks to his mom every Saturday morning, and my mom always answers her cell phone when I call. In these gestures of availability, I take a few maternal cues. When Clara cries at 2:30 a.m., which is only one hour past 1:30 a.m., I will think, “What’s the awful ring tone?” and then, “Oh! Better answer my cell phone. It could be Clara calling.”
Hi, Mom, it’s Clara. Do you like my bath water?