Still Life With Chucky

August 4, 2009

So I was feeling unwell – which is to say, really, really vomitously sick – this weekend, and at some point I wandered off to have a nap, leaving the husband and the girl to the task of tidying the living room. ‘Please put away your toys,’ I said to Emilia as I dragged my pathetic self out of the room, tripping over the random dismembered doll parts and stray bits of crafting materials that she keeps in untidy piles throughout the house, ‘otherwise I’ll have to ask Daddy to throw it all away.’

‘It’s my ART,’ she replied, crossing her arms over her chest.

‘Fine. Put away your ART.’

‘I’m using it for DECORATING.’

‘Fine, okay. Just decorate NEATLY, like, by putting it on the shelves or something.’ If I’d had a cold compress, I’d have pressed it against my forehead dramatically as I left the room in a sick huff, but I didn’t, so I just lurched a little as I headed for the stairs.The vacuum cleaner roared to life behind me, and I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t wish that maybe, just maybe, some of Emilia’s ‘art’ got sucked into the Dyson’s Vortex of Nothingness.

As it happened, that wish did not get fulfilled. Indeed, it seems that Emilia’s ‘art’ took on a life of its own while I was napping and took it upon itself to arrange itself as – as Emilia likes to describe it – ‘decoration:’

is this anything

I swear on all that is holy that the above-photographed arrangement is exactly as I found it when I wandered downstairs after my nap. When asked about it, Emilia will only say, ‘that’s a dolly. She’s ART.’ She adds that the teeth ‘are Jasper’s,’ and that the book ‘is for you to read, Mommy.’ I can only hope and assume that ‘the book’ to which she refers is the Seuss, and that she doesn’t intend for me to brush up on my post-structuralism while contemplating the decapitated dolly with its bottle-figure, which I assume is some sort of commentary on body image in an age of environmental degradation, and not a Barthesian statement on the figurative absurd of the body imagined as plaything in childhood.

The teeth, I’m hoping, have nothing to do with anything, and were just randomly deposited there by a baby tired of novelty pacifiers. Otherwise the scene takes on a disturbing Blair Witch-ian subtext that I just haven’t the fortitude to decode.

I’m still taking very seriously the possibility that I never did wake up, and that the installation on my living room side-table is some sort of virally-induced nightmare. In which case, Freud has some explaining to do, but still. Nightmares are one thing, parenting a three-year old Cindy Sherman is quite another. I think.

(I think that her installation-slash-decapitated-baby-on-plastic sculpture needs a title. Any suggestions?)

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    eden August 4, 2009 at 12:51 am

    I am in love with her Art … people pay good money to see such things.

    The Baby Bottle: A John the Baptist Limited Edition
    .-= eden´s last blog ..Real Men Carry Babies =-.

    Her Bad Mother August 4, 2009 at 11:14 am

    Bonus points for theological references. Because, who’s to say that this work isn’t a critique of the banality of Sunday School?

    Maggie May August 4, 2009 at 1:02 am

    This is just how freaky-awesome-wacko kids are, and why I love having them.
    .-= Maggie May´s last blog ..Isabella Blow: Distrust the Biography =-.

    Marinka August 4, 2009 at 6:58 am

    title: Bottle Neck

    And I bow to her strategy of scaring the shit out of you so that you never ask her to clean up again.

    well done, Emilia. Well done.

    Sara August 4, 2009 at 7:15 am

    I’d call it: “Little Help?”
    “I can’t feel my legs”
    Good job, Emilia.

    Her Bad Mother August 4, 2009 at 11:14 am

    “I Can’t Feel My Legs” L.O.L.

    Her Bad Mother August 7, 2009 at 6:50 am


    harrytimes August 4, 2009 at 8:10 am

    LOVE the juxtaposition. I have several pictures of my academic books mixed with kid books that always make me smile, but the art in your picture is fantastic.
    .-= harrytimes´s last blog ..Juggle =-.

    Ann Nonymuss August 4, 2009 at 8:20 am

    What about “Suck It, baby”?
    I agree, excellent strategy to get out of future cleaning requests!

    JD at I Do Things August 4, 2009 at 9:30 am

    I don’t think you’re awake. For that? Is the stuff of nightmares.

    Jennifer August 4, 2009 at 9:31 am

    I LOVE it! I’d have to go with something simple for the title, such as the obvious…

    Baby Bottle

    Jennifer August 4, 2009 at 11:52 pm

    Or, if I could read… I’d notice that the first comment already used that! :( (And used it better, I might add.)
    .-= Jennifer´s last blog ..Healthy Treats =-.

    julie August 4, 2009 at 9:36 am

    “I Drink, Therefore I Am”

    And is that really a pacifier? That must be a riot.
    .-= julie´s last blog ..Sometimes, hands are for hitting =-.

    Her Bad Mother August 4, 2009 at 11:15 am

    It is absolutely a pacifier. Makes for some interesting pictures…

    lydee August 4, 2009 at 9:39 am

    this, this is sickly hilarious.
    all the better to take pictures of it so you won’t forget! :-)
    hope you feel better soon.
    .-= lydee´s last blog ..Really, I Should Be… =-.

    liz August 4, 2009 at 9:39 am

    My step-mom is friends with Cindy Sherman.

    I like Bottle Neck.
    .-= liz´s last blog ..72 doors and the Skechers were not up to it. =-.

    Judy August 4, 2009 at 9:55 am

    Water Baby With Toofs.

    Ginger August 4, 2009 at 10:16 am

    The last temptation of Betsy Wetsy.
    .-= Ginger´s last blog ..Haiku Friday – gadgets =-.

    Her Bad Mother August 5, 2009 at 8:15 am

    ROFL, seriously.

    C @ Kid Things August 4, 2009 at 10:39 am

    Remind me of Toy Story, when all of the dismembered and reinvented toys come out of hiding from under Sid’s bed.

    Obviously, I’ve watched too much Toy Story.
    .-= C @ Kid Things´s last blog ..On Being a Girl =-.

    Her Bad Mother August 4, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    If Emilia figures out how to make her Frankenbaby move independently, like in Toy Story, I will quit motherhood.

    The Chapstick Pezbian August 4, 2009 at 11:03 am

    Kudos, Emilia. Very well done!

    I can’t wait to have children for a number of reasons, but occurrences such as these are one of the reasons near the top of the list.
    .-= The Chapstick Pezbian´s last blog ..Kitchen Adventures Ahoy! =-.

    Monkey August 4, 2009 at 11:39 am

    How about “Salome Redux”?

    You’ve got beheading, the teeth can symbolise the casualness of Salome’s request, and the Dr. Seuss can symbolise…uh…that reading is fundamental (I got nothing on the Dr. Seuss)?
    .-= Monkey´s last blog ..The Schedule =-.

    Her Bad Mother August 4, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    Dr Seuss always symbolizes absurdity and/or constructive chaos. It’s a universal signifier.

    Monkey August 4, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    Ah, of course.

    Your daughter is clearly working on a piece here that speaks to many levels of the human experience.

    She should get together with my son who is currently working on an abstract piece entitled “Squished Garbanzo Beans on A Wooden High Chair”. It has a nice textural quality (and, if I let it dry overnight, it will become sculptural in nature)
    .-= Monkey´s last blog ..The Schedule =-.

    Natasha August 4, 2009 at 2:06 pm

    Hee hee. That’s really funny. “some sort of commentary on body image in an age of environmental degradation” Love it.
    .-= Natasha´s last blog ..The day I died was the best day of my life =-.

    Mrs. Wilson August 4, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    I love the three-year-old mind. I have to brush up though, as I’m going to have one of them in 8 months. Remind me to hide all the dolls.
    .-= Mrs. Wilson´s last blog ..fields of gold =-.

    Nel August 4, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    Title: “OMFG My Child Created A Piece of Possessed Art And It Is Going To Eat Me!!!!”

    No? Too long?
    .-= Nel´s last blog ..If you can dodge a wrench… =-.

    habanerogal August 4, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    Definitely a Toy Story reference as well as garbage strike what shall we do with all of these bottles. I love her taste in kidlit Seuss is top 3 in my world. For a good read Try out “The Rascally Cake” by Jeanne Willis No endorsement intended just a family fave.
    .-= habanerogal´s last blog ..It’s time for a trip to The Big Smoke =-.

    Sugared Harpy August 4, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    For art that conceptual, I would go with “Untitled” and leave the interpretation up to the viewer. After all, your young Cindy Sherman influenced Emilia doesn’t OWE her audience an explanation, but she chooses only to offer a situation that they can choose to explore.
    .-= Sugared Harpy´s last blog ..NOT “Weird” =-.

    Procrastamom August 4, 2009 at 4:18 pm

    Why do I get the feeling that some day in the future Emelia’s art will be featured on Craftastrophe? I would buy from her etsy shop.

    Her Bad Mother August 5, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    And thereby fund her therapy, no doubt.

    laurel August 4, 2009 at 4:18 pm

    i used to teach art to littlies and had them title each and every of their artworks. they have the most amazing titles. i think you should ask her!

    Her Bad Mother August 5, 2009 at 8:19 am

    She says that it is ‘DOLLY ON A BOTTLE.’

    I think that it might be a commentary on drinking.

    Amy August 4, 2009 at 4:19 pm


    And Monkey, “Squished Garbanzo Beans on a Wooden High Chair” made me laugh out loud.

    Sam August 4, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    Your gmail account got hacked.
    .-= Sam´s last blog ..Waking Up =-.

    Her Bad Mother August 5, 2009 at 8:19 am

    I know. Eleventeen trillion e-mails and DMs worth of knowing.

    Sarcastica August 4, 2009 at 8:15 pm

    That’s fantastic lol! I love it!
    .-= Sarcastica´s last blog ..Mama’s Still Got It =-.

    Haley-O August 4, 2009 at 8:17 pm


    Brittany at Mommy Words August 4, 2009 at 10:08 pm

    Wow. Speechless I am so scared. If my almost 3 year old did this I would not let her in my room at night. I would wonder what she was there for! Still, I have taken a deep reath and it is crazy strange funny.
    .-= Brittany at Mommy Words´s last blog ..World Breastfeeding Week =-.

    Alicia August 4, 2009 at 10:25 pm

    Reminds me of a 3D exquisite corpse, but with two parts instead of three. If the water bottle were in a boot, or on a skateboard or something, it would really be complete. Beautimous!
    .-= Alicia´s last blog ..a staph infection. in MY BOOB. =-.

    Andrea August 4, 2009 at 11:46 pm

    Dude, that’s freaking hilarious. I can’t wait till my tiny baby is big enough to do entertaining shit like that. xo

    Overflowing Brain (Katie) August 4, 2009 at 11:50 pm

    Holy crap.

    I’m going to suggest, “Baby bottle.”

    Or, “what we’ll be discussing in therapy in 20 years.”

    Momily August 5, 2009 at 2:02 am

    “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.”
    .-= Momily´s last blog ..tweet tweet tweet =-.

    Mrs. Schmitty August 5, 2009 at 9:03 am

    ROFLMAO! I think you should get her an Etsy shop! Maybe she’ll get a post on Craftastophe! Raw talent there!
    .-= Mrs. Schmitty´s last blog ..Take Us Back In Time Tuesday – 8/4/09 =-.

    LAVENDULA August 5, 2009 at 10:10 am

    catherine i’m sure i don’t have to point this out to you but she will one day be a teenager boy are you ever in trouble.she is one smart feisty clever little girl that wonderbaby!

    xandy August 5, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    “Breast is Best” ?

    (egads. this is truly funny. hope you feel better soon.)

    frugan August 6, 2009 at 2:01 am

    Amazing. She jumped from toddler to sophomore year at RISD in the space of an afternoon.

    Also, that pacifier is insane! Way more disturbing than the decapitation creation.
    .-= frugan´s last blog ..“Mother of almost-six-month-old writes blog post then bangs head into wall” =-.

    Chantel August 6, 2009 at 2:46 am

    I’m just really, REALLY impressed that you can write so well when so deathly ill. I can barely string two words together when I’m completely healthy! :P

    Hope you’re feeling better!
    .-= Chantel´s last blog ..The Boobies =-.

    Rachel August 6, 2009 at 9:31 am

    I’m so glad I’m not an intellectual. I’m glad I never studied art and turned away from an English major. Your post reminded me of this happiness.

    It’s a freaking head on a bottle.

    So funny.

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