Thursday, August 02, 2007

Elementary Structures of Kinship

This morning, Sweet M lounging on bed, Mothersvox working at desk adjacent to bed.

Sweet M: Hey M*, can I ask you a question?

Me: Sure honey . . .

Sweet M: Well if a boy has a sister and a girl has a brother and then they grow up do they get married?

Me: Well, no, there is a rule against that. There's actually a law against that.

Sweet M: It's a against the law? Like you could go to jail?

Me: Yes, it's against the law.

Sweet M: Why is it against the law?

Me: Well, if the brother and the sister got married and had a baby, the baby would have a big chance of being sick, so people aren't supposed to marry their brothers or sisters.

Sweet M: Oh. [Thoughtful pause.] So the boy would have to find another lady to marry.

Me: Yes. Then they would start a new family.

Sweet M (incredulous): You mean I'll start a new family when I grow up?

Me: Yes, I think you may.

There were several digressions that involved DNA, and why I haven't married any of my brothers, and why Fathersvox hasn't married his sister, and how his sister found someone else to marry instead of marrying Fathersvox. But essentially, that's it. We've now discussed the fundamental rule on which civilizations are based, the incest taboo, and we're ready to go to the newly opened playground swimming pool.

* Sweet M has been calling me by my first name for a while now, but since we have the same initial, it can be confusing . . . We're M & M.


VAB said...

Did you ask her to call you by your first name, or did she pick it up by herself. Our guy has called us by our first names for years. We never asked him to, and in fact modeled "Mum" and "Dad" for him but he insisted, "But your name is M---!" (Yes, another one.) That is hard logic to argue with.

Stimey said...

My son Jack has also recently started calling me by my first name. It's even become sort of second-nature to him, although at first it seemed like he did it merely because it delighted him so. I find it kind of endearing.

kristina said...

Echoes of this and that myth are in my head right now............. Charlie has said "Kristina!" a few times and with a big grin. I think he knows it's not the usual moniker for me.

Anonymous said...

In reality, Sweet M started calling me M____ quite some time ago. She and Fathersvox had gone away for a week to visit his family in Canada and I'd stayed back in NYC to finish up a deadline that was looming.

I guess while she was away she heard everyone speaking about me by my name rather than my mom-moniker, and when she came back, it stuck.

Sometimes I feel as though I got demoted by not going on the trip, but then Dr. Florance told us that her son Whitney didn't call her "mom" or "Cheri" -- he called her Dr. Florance!

Part of me thinks it's just easier from a language processing point of view. . . not wanting to call me Mom in the 3rd person incorrectly when she'd need to say "My mom . . .". And part of me thinks it's interpersonal -- emphasizing the individual person rather than the intersubjectivity and the kinship.

And part of me thinks that it's just fine. Though, as I said, from a reportage point of view, I've been avoiding dealing with it in the blog . . . Avoiding it because it would be so confusing if I use both of our initials and they're the same! Maybe we could go with Big M and Little m. Or eventually, maybe we'll just use names!

Anonymous said...

Mine flip flop with the name thing too and we'll skip over the subject of 'jail.'

Anonymous said...

My five-year-old ASD girl has taken to calling me "MommyYes?"

It's always in the form of a question.

We think it came from her whining for me, and I was trying to teach her to say "Mommy", and, when she did that, I would say "Yes?"

So I became "MommyYes?"

Hard when the answer to her question is "No"....


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