Friday, April 25, 2008
What does it mean when you're 46 and you still play with bath toys? I wanted to know the answer so I asked a couple of people in the field of psychology and their answers may or may not surprise you. To be honest, I wasn't quite satisfied with either answer; I took the query one step further and asked two people who work in the psychology department of one of our nation's greatest universities...the University of Oklahoma. We have a great mental program going on, so asking the question wasn't the least bit embarrassing - maybe that fact plays into the result as well. You be the judge.
I'm a 46 year old woman, single and living basically on my own. You can't count the fact that my girls come in and out of my house at will because technically they have their own places to live. Technically they've been subjected to my bath toys for years...technically they gave me most of them when they out grew them. If you want the real truth.
My toys are the usual childhood toys: rubber ducks, whales, a dolphin, a little turtle, and a car from the movie "Cars", it's the red one, I don't know his name. I have the Genie from Aladdin also, I call him Gus though, and no, I don't know why. I just didn't like Genie. Gus starts with a G and so did Genie. Maybe that's a tell-tale, who knows.
When I play I basically create little stories involving the ducks and the whales. Maybe the dolphin is sent in the save a duck, maybe Gus is asked to take a duck to the park to get away for a while. Maybe the car just speeds up and down the side of the bathtub racing the ducks and dolphin and the whales and Gus are the judges. Nascar never gets watched at my house - Bubble Derby! That's the ticket.
I used to have Barbie heads but Caity finally got around to throwing them away. I saved them for her just in case she decided to match them back with their bodies. After so many years of detachment it was pretty sure they were going to be zombies forever. She made the decision and replaced my smiling heads with ducks. I have a few, and they aren't yellow - one is; but Bath and Body Works had pink ducks, blue ducks, green and even a purple ducks, so my ducks are multi-colored. My yellow duck is actually quite huge. She's the mother duck. She was a promotional ad display rather than a give away duck - I talked the store manager out of her when I told her I really would play with her. At 55, she too understood. She took one home the same day. We talk about it.
My psychologist friends told me that I was a kid at heart, a creator, a mimick, a playful individual with open and honest ambitions. They mentioned separately and collectively that it was normal to play, that the bathtub is a good place to relax and take a few well deserved minutes to unwind and that it was very healthy to give play and patterns of play a place in my daily life. I thought they were patronizing me so I went to the big guns.
The doctors I asked at the University Health and Science Center had the very same things to say to me, and one added this: I am (because I admitted to playing in the tub) a very trustworthy individual with tendency of fantasy and illusion rather than focusing on reality as being the force which guides me throughout my daily existence. You think? I just told you I play with bathtub toys and that I make one of them race the others. I even let the car think he can beat a 15" duck! All in all I'm safe. I'm harmless and I'm fun. I knew that - so what's the catch? Is the shoe going to drop someday, will I be picked up and locked away without my toys? No, the most that I could ever worry about is my kid coming back into the bathroom and not flushing or something leaving me in the tub with the knowledge that I was not important enough to have her knock first!
I suppose if I ever do get into a real relationship again the man will have a choice to make. He can either play with me (buying new toys if he doesn't like my colored ducks) or he can stay out of my bathroom - Gus and I have decided that if I wanted to I could make a wish and have exactly what I want out of life; maybe a man who would sit and play duck-races would be the ideal man...what do you think Gus? He said yes. (You can't hear him - he only speaks to me!)