Tuesday, January 17, 2012

On Helicopters & Tristadekaphobia

 For Christmas, John's Nanny & Grampy got him a super cool remote control helicopter.  The only problem with the helicopter was that it would not fly or even turn on.  This was such a shame, since I had dictated John's exact specifications for the helicopter to Nanny.  These included the quantity & placement of exhaust pipes, reach of the remote control, possible flying heights, and cost parameters.  And of course she had found one that met the requirements. 

And so because a helicopter was one of the ONLY specific things he had on his wish list, the fact that it wouldn't work was, obvously, disappointing.

So Nanny took back the dysfunctional helicopter and gave John-John the money to pick out the perfect (i.e., functional) helicopter for himself.  After Christmas, we were busy painting our bedroom and trying to refinance our house, so we have only just now gotten around to The Helicopter Replacement Shopping Trip.  Although it has been mentioned at least once every hour since Christmas Day.

On Monday, the boys all went to Target, cash in hand.  John picked out the helicopter you can see pictured above, which has no exhaust pipe, but three gears, a charger, and two rotors -- one on top to provide lift, and one on the tail to aid in turning.  The remote control itself is almost an exact replica of a real helicopter's cockpit (minus all the gauges and dials), which I know because to date, I have read each the following library books aloud at least seven times:

No one can ever say that I don't indulge the children in their interests.
Now the Helix 360 4-channel helicopter with Gyro is a part of my daily life, much like the cicadas were this past summer. 

It is a buzzing, flying object that moves mostly with abandon and often crash lands into my hair.  And then my lost hairs become entangled in its rotors.  Another neat trick it can do is hit the ceiling and knock off weird bulbous paint chips which Sam picks up and brings to me (and then I obsess about whether or not they could be lead-based).  It flies and buzzes.  (Did I mention that it buzzes and flies?) 

But the best trick of all is how this little flying toy has provided me with a newfound understanding of the male brain from age 2 to almost 40.  Little Sam is obsessed with grabbing it out of the air (or the ground, or the top of the fridge, or wherever it is hidden).  Brian stays up late at night "practicing" with the remote so that he can "help John understand it better."  And of course John never stops flying it around, hiding it from Sam, and discussing its various parts and amazing abilities. 

I did not intend to write this much about a helicopter.

But can't you see that the helicopter is a metaphor for ME? 

Think about it:  The boys like to push buttons and then watch things flap their wings, make noise, and hit the ceiling.  This is what I do daily in response to various Boy Activities.  Up until now, I have been their remote control helicopter.  They know exactly which of my buttons to push so that I fly, turn, hit the ceiling, crash into walls, land, somersault, spin, and buzz.  I have even been known to flap about wildly on the ground from time to time. 

Oh, and one more thing, the boys LOVE to discuss my helicopter parts: rotors and, ahem, exhaust pipes.

This definitely gives new meaning to the term "helicopter mom."

And calls attention to the fact that I should really be terrified of myself.

But really this is not about me.  (Really!)  I mean, I am happy for my child that his Christmas wish has come true.  I am!  But as of tonight, he has been banned from using it ever at all again in the house in my presence encouraged to use it only in my absence, as it sends me into absolute conniptions makes me feel a bit anxious. 

I have always hated any flying, buzzing object.  Especially if there is the possibility of it getting entangled in my hair.  This used to be an individual problem, but it has now evolved into a family "situation."


It is definitely not as big as the very unique and interesting problem of one of my new writing students, who recently wrote the paragraph below in an email to me.  The assignment was for each student to send me an email in which they introduced themselves and told me something unique or interesting about their lives.

I am very happy to take this class with you, for all my friends said you are a perfect teacher and i will be very comfortable with you. Ms. Kim you aske me something interesting about my self. I never try any kinds of pickles from my childhood to right now. It make me cry and nervous. Also, if I smell or view the pickle, I will not eat any thing whole the day. But This is not a satisfactory condition. My parents never bring them to our house although they are liked so much and my husband is doing same thing now. This thing caused and causes many problems in my life especially when I be invited to some where.

A simple google search of this phobia has revealed that it even has a name:  Tristadekaphobia, the fear of a pickle.  In fact, it is common enough that Maury Povich did a show on this topic, wherein he interviewed someone suffering from this condition (it was not my student). 

And so it is by re-reading this email repeatedly that I am inspired to learn how to live with my ridiculous fear of flying, buzzing things, and all the problems it has created for poor John, who is fascinated by them all -- bees, wasps, helicopters, etc.  I can console myself by embracing the fact that at least I am not an Iraqi, Muslim refugee living in a pickle-dense foreign land that is often hostile to people of her religion who have a mental disturbance.

Onward, upward, and sideways,

1 comment:

Lori Inman said...

Love love love your pickle-fearing student! So honest and real.