If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn’t. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn’t be. And what it wouldn’t be, it would. You see? – Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventure’s in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass
Some days, especially those on which I have limited interaction with other adults of the species, take on a peculiarly dreamlike quality. In part, of course, this is due to a lack of sleep. I exist in that state where time takes on a different character and the air can feel somehow heavier, as if the room (or your mind) is filled with fog. But there is also another factor at play. The Toddler.
I have always had a soft spot for surreal humour. My Dad read me some of the work of Edward Lear as a child, and later introduced me to Monty Python. Who would have thought that the cultivation of an appreciation of nonsense would be such excellent training for life with a toddler. Without this, the madness of everyday life might be appreciably more maddening.
Even still, I sometimes wish that a giant foot would just descend from the heavens to mark the end of scene. But not today. Today, there was a little piece of madness that was nothing but joy.
Pickles came running into the room with his hand behind his back. He ran round and around in circles screaming with laughter. The whole time he kept his hand behind his back. When I asked what he was doing he replied that his hand was chasing him.
I asked if he thought it would catch him. “No,” he replied matter-of-factly, “Running too fast.” I was impressed. It is surely no mean feat to outrun one’s own hand. He ran out again. I could hear him running up and down the hall. Finally he returned, much quieter now than before. He didn’t say a word, but slid open his cupboard door, climbed inside and then closed it behind him.
“What are you doing in there?” I asked. “Hiding!” Came a loud whisper. “Who are you hiding from?” “Quiet mummy! Hiding from hand!” “Oh.” I imagined his hand as Thing from The Addams Family, scuttling around, wondering where oh where he could possibly have got to. I imagined him imagining it. It made my heart smile.
And that’s it. Just a short one today. It was only a little slice of a day (although he did hide from his hand for a remarkably long time). But, in the words of Willy Wonka, “A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.”