teen toys today

Um, you say, these don’t really look like toys.

I had friends visit last week. These are the thirteen year old’s toys: he enjoys fixing cell phones and computers and asked if we had any old game platforms. I talked to my son and the thirteen year old is taking the ones he wants. And what was he working on in the picture? Replacing the broken glass in my cell phone.

Now many of you are jealous and would like this teen to visit you. My cell phone has a lot of parts and many tiny screws. There was only one left over and the phone is working fine and the glass is unbroken! Wow! Toys of mine that were used in explorations and repairs included my vacuum and I provided the super glue.

I thanked him with a comic book subscription, since we share an enjoyment and appreciation of comic books.

One of the most useful toys I had growing up was a china doll. Useful you say? Yes. We sewed doll quilts and doll clothes and made our own furniture and hoped for the tiny books in the Cracker Jack boxes. How is this so helpful? Surgeons asked where I had learned my stitching techniques. It was quite delightful to reply, “Doll clothes.” It really did help. I made one old fashioned dress with miles of ruffle, all hemmed by hand. In the 1970s I was embroidering my jeans and adding studs and we dyed t-shirts with melted paraffin and crayons. My sister and I nearly burned down the kitchen once, but we did learn which techniques to use to stop wax fires.

I am not sure who made this dress for the doll. My grandmother Katy Burling sewed doll clothes for us and helped us make patterns and nine patch doll quilts. My other grandmother Evelyn Ottaway could knit the tiniest doll clothes on knitting needles: I still have some of those as well. A tiny stole knit out of a furry yarn and lined with brown satin. My mother was an artist and loved crafts as well but NOT sewing. Pottery yes, sewing no.

My daughter promptly illustrated her lack of the packrat gene by putting half the furniture and stuff away and having a spare and elegant doll house. She learned to sew but does not like it much to date.

What childhood toys and ideas contributed to your adult skills?

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: toy.

mad skills

What are your mad skills?

My maddest baddest skill, shared with my younger sister, is reading hidden emotions. Children of alcoholics and addicts learn that one young. Or die. Or start drinking/drugging to numb young.

Our culture is bloody weird. Emotions are stuffed like turkeys until people are near bursting. I swear that half my clinic time was letting people talk about emotions and then saying, well, those seem like pretty reasonable feelings in view of the insanity going on in your family. There would be a silence while the person thought about the horrible terrible feelings being reasonable and then I would say, “You said you want an antidepressant. Do you want to discuss that?”

Often people put it off. Once the feelings are OUT and present and looked at instead of stuffed/contained/terrifying, the person would say, “I don’t know. I don’t know if I need it.”

“Do you want to schedule to come back in two weeks?”

Sometimes yes, sometimes no. If they wanted to start an antidepressant, I would caution that the recommendation was to stay on it for six months minimum if tolerated. Also, if they were starting it in June, I would say, “Don’t stop it in January. Wait until the sun is back. Here that can be July 4th. At least wait until spring.”

The plants are all thinking about spring now. My magnolia would like three more days of sun and then it will burst into bloom. The plums are budding and close to exploding. My camellia is usually first, but I trimmed it at the wrong time of year and so it is not blooming. It looks healthy, though. It is sort of sulking for a season. I would like to sulk for a season too.

Why is our culture, the US, so terrified of emotion? We think everything should be about logic. Emotions are both hormonally and electrically mediated through nerves and blood and they are INFORMATION about our environment and each other. We should let emotions roll through us like waves, and not worry about them so much. I think of myself as an ocean. The emotions are the weather. They roll through. Ok, big storm. Then rain, and lightening. Then low clouds and some fog. Then sun and a beautiful day to sail with a light breeze. But the deeper currents change slowly and the weather is not really that important. I reside in the depths.

The furor over rising prices seems ridiculous to me. The roaring twenties has begun already in housing and buying stuff on Amazon. I have bought two things from Amazon in the last two years. I like to buy local. One order was for my future daughter in law’s wish list. I think people are buying so that they do not have to feel. It is cultural mania. Everyone is rushing around trying to make money instead of grieving. Yesterday I thought, if this keeps up, we WILL have a depression like 1929.

Don’t do it. Don’t buy stuff to avoid the stuff inside. Sit still twice a day, for at least five minutes, and just listen. Try to listen to the depths.