Sunday, August 17, 2008

Anthropology and Melina II

I have already written about Melina and her plush snake, but there are some additions to make on this issue. I have also bought Melina a rubber dimetradon, which she has used immediately -- with no prompting from either her mother or me -- to "attack" people's bellies, making the dimetradon bite everyone. I also bought her a plush tarantula, which she grabs and attacks people with, thrusting it at people and laughing as she does so (again, she was never shown to do this -- it was done on her own). She understands that the snake, the lizard, and the spider are scary creatures, and she uses them to attack people with. I've even watched her attack one of her baby dolls with the spider toy. She does not use any other toy to attack anyone with, with one exception: her cat toy. With the cat, she has a mixed form of playing. She will hug it and kiss it and make it meow, but she will also sometimes use it to attack people with. This is perhaps not surprising considering the fact that the cat is a mammal, so she (and we) feel close to it, but at the same time, cats eat primates, so it also makes sense that primates evolved to be wary of cats. Snakes, lizards, and spiders are all unambiguously scary. But with her dolls, she carries them and takes care of them -- recently, my wife caught her trying to give one of her dolls something to drink from her sippy cup. It's amazing the behaviors and understandings of the world we have which are innate.
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