Transitional Objects

When I am tired or less than engaged by what I am reading, I sometimes wander off in my head, suddenly come to my senses, and realise my eyes have scanned the last paragraph or so with no idea how I reached my current point. This means retracing my steps to keep me on track. Rather like my forest rambling really.

I experienced this probably not unusual phenomenon once or twice whilst ploughing through the collection of Voltaire’s philosophical tales that, with ‘Songe de Platon’, I finished this morning. This particular sketch, translating to ‘Plato’s Dream’, was too short to send me off into my own reverie. It is a brief dream in the form of a Platonic discourse about the dual nature of humanity and the universe.

Easy to read if you are not working too hard to understand their allegorical nature, the stories are useful for brushing up your rusty French literature.

This morning we drove to West End to visit Mum, who was looking well. She has recently undergone eye injections of a different prescription for her macular degeneration, and is bearing up well. It is to be hoped that her sight may improve enough for her to continue with her cross-stitching.

After this we did a big Hedge End Sainsbury’s shop. I believe it is usually women who collect soft cuddly toys and array them at home on their pillows. I was therefore quite surprised to see an elderly gentleman pushing what, from my angle of vision, I took to be a set of these treasures in a buggy in the store. Baby in hatUpon closer inspection I discerned that the exposed hand was a little incongruous with the head that turned out to be a hat. The scene reminded me of a photograph I had taken In June 1967 at Bernard Gardens:

Michael & Babba 6.67

It is of Michael and Babba.

Babba was Michael’s Teddy Bear. Does anyone know where he is now?

Wrapped round our son is a dressing gown Vivien bought me for Christmas, probably in 1960. For some years after her death, just as Babba was Michael’s transitional object, so the garment, in a sense, was mine. Transitional object is a psychoanalytic term denoting a comforting item carried about by a child moving from one stage of development to another. The child is in transition between phases of life and the object is transported wherever the infant goes. Loss before the young person is ready to abandon it can be quite traumatic.

images-1Security blanket is the lay person’s variation on this phenomenon, perhaps the most famous example in literature being that belonging to Charlie Brown’s Linus. These objects, in reality, can become awfully smelly, and washing out the aromas sends to be extremely unpopular. Foster parents and residential care workers soon learn that the smells are an integral part of the comfort to which their charge is clinging.

P.S. I’ve pressed Publish prematurely again. Maybe I’ll add something later.

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