I am fascinated by psychology. And with my brother studying to become a psychologist, I have picked up little tidbits of information here and there along the way. While he will hate me for posting a blog entry about psychology seeing as I actually have ZERO real knowledge about the subject, I'm gonna do it anyway because while he is 3 years older, I'm 7 inches taller (and too far away for him to beat me up).
Object Permanence, defined by psychology.com (if that means anything) is "a child's ability to know that objects continue to exist even though they can no longer be seen or heard". So, lack of object permanence means that if a kid can't see it or hear it - it's not part of the world.
OK, that's brilliant. That's why kid's love "peekaboo". When you put a dish towel in front of Mommy's face and she stops talking, in the child's mind, MOM NO LONGER EXISTS. That's amazing! Thats's the coolest thing I've ever heard.
Infant baby, "Oh, Mom's doing a cool thing with the sounds and she's making facesssssss!!!! Yaaaaaaa!!!! I love being a kiiiiiiiiiiiiddddd!!!!" (Any english teachers reading this will excuse my use of multiple exclamation points.)
Dish towel goes up.
"Wait....she was JUST HERE. Ok, remain calm, it'll be okay."
Dish towel goes down.
"MOMMMMMMMMMYYYYYYYYY!!!! You've returned!!! How was your trip? Did you pack warmly? Did you bring me anything?"
I mean that what it's like. Truly - in a child's mind (in the first 8-12 months before this amazing ability goes away), peekaboo is the best game EVER. Halo has nothing on seeing your mother slip in and out of existence before your eyes. And it's also not like they understand that their mother is still there and just in another room or busy at the moment. THE MOTHER DOES NOT EXIST. She has become part of the Martix, or Men In Black after the flashy thing - just a figment of your imagination. Brilliant.
Also - while were talking about this (well we're not talking about it - I'm writing about it, hoping that there's an off chance you read it). Who thought of this? Like who created this idea? Who's the doctor going, "You know, when you put your hands up in front of your face like that, your child can't see you and therefore you don't exist."
Startled mother, "I WHAT?"
Scientist, "Ya, gone. Don't exist."
"How do you know?"
"Ahhhhhh, lets not start second guessing. ....Just trust me here....Done the research. I'm a scientist....You don't exist."
I think at this point in the conversation the mother has already been gone for quite a while, probably right after she was told by a perfect stranger that her son doesn't know she exists anymore. Last game of peekaboo she'll ever play.
I kind of wish I still lacked object permanency. I mean, logically it would not help in order to be a functional adult. But I think it would lead to some funny situations.
Wife, "Did you do the dishes?"
Me, "Oh there you are! What dishes?"
"The ones in the sink."
"What? Those don't exist. Silly girl."
"There are very literally stacks of dirty dishes from last nights party, in the sink. I cooked all the food, you said you'd clean up."
"Ya - but the dishes are no longer part of this universe, so I can't really clean them can I?"
"Oh come on!! You and your object permanency BS! I've had it." She storms out of the room.
Me, "She's gone now, slipped back into nothingness."