Wednesday, November 13, 2013


Two nights ago, Miriam was doodling pensively on the whiteboard when she turned to me and asked, "Mama, what color is Sunday to you?"

I asked her what she meant.

She replied, "well, when you think of Sunday, what color is it?"

I guess I am a nerd because my heart instantly thrilled to the thought that my daughter was possibly describing a form of synesthesia. Simply put, synesthesia is when you experience one sense in two ways, like tasting colors. From what Miriam told me, it sounds like days of the week are certain colors to her. Here's what she described:

Sunday - yellow or light blue
Monday - pink
Tuesday - red
Wednesday - dark blue
Thursday - orange
Friday - "Friday is hard to describe. It's not really any color, but if I had to say, I would say green."
Saturday - white

I realize that it's entirely possible that Miriam might have just sat down one day and decided that the days of the week are a certain color. Eight-year-old girls do that kind of thing sometimes. But until further notice, this is synesthesia and it's the coolest thing ever.

I think many of us have some form of synesthesia, even if we don't know it. When I heard about synesthesia a few years ago, I realized that I do something weird when I think of the progression of the months of the year. To me, in my mind, a year looks like this:

Is that what a year looks like to you? Do you have another synesthesia-like thing that you do?


Kathy Haynie said...

1. I'm with you. WAY cool.
2. Nope, I don't have another way of thinking about the year. I love that August is longer than the other months. It always seems shorter to me - it just goes by so fast because we're playing so hard, I guess.
3. That last post of Magdalena w the Filipinas is hilarious.

Susanne said...

Do June and July seem longer to you because they are hotter months and you prefer it cool? Or because they are traditionally when we (at least here in NC) are out of school, and you prefer being in school?

I can't think of any synesthesia for me, at the moment. That's interesting to hear how Miriam colors each day of the week.

Melody said...

I remember when I was young I used to think of the numbers one through five being separate from all of the other numbers. At the time I tried to explain it to my mom by saying that there was a wall after you get to five. Not sure why.

elliespen said...

So cool! For me, all numbers and letters have genders.

Kristi said...

I don't know if this counts, but I always have trouble spelling certain numbers because I try to put the first letter as the actual number. For example 5ive or 4our. I do this without even thinking about it.

Ariana said...

CLOCKS with me. I can not look at a digital clock display and process the time it says without visualizing an analog clock and the position of the hands. Time passing, for me, is not a feeling of how long something takes. It's the speed at which the hands on the clock move from one position to another. I realized this awhile back. I have always hated digital clocks and digital watches, and always have analog ones. Except alarm clocks, because analog alarm clocks with cool features are hard to find.

Hannah said...

As a kid, I associated colors with certain numbers. Sadly, I don't really do that anymore, and I've forgotten which colors I associated with which numbers.

Glenda The Good said...

FUN! I can't be the only one that things this girl needs day of the week colored undies. As for me, I don't think of things in color but I often think of things as music.

Sarah Familia said...

As a girl, my grandmother always heard beautiful music when she looked at a sunset. The sad thing is that she told me that sometime during WWII, while her young husband was at war and she was hearing casualty reports every day, it went away, and she didn't hear the music anymore.

Liz Johnson said...

I really think Sunday is purple. Like a bluish-purple.

I do that with the months, but they don't look like that (you start your calendar on the TOP of the bubble? that's weird to me - July/August go on top of the bubble!). It's always longest from June-August, and Jan/Feb/Mar are super small. I don't know why.

Monday would be yellow for me. Sometimes it's a bright yellow, other times it's that horribly nauseating, vomit-esque yellow.

Tuesday is green.

Wednesday is blue.

Thursday is orange.

Friday is red.

Saturday is an explosion of happy colors.

And again, Sunday is purple.

That's just what comes to me in my head.

Jessie said...

My grandma and dad both experience this! They can't assess where they are in their day by looking at digital clocks. If my grandma has so much time before she has to be somewhere, she has to look at an analog clock to keep track of the passing time. A digital clock doesn't give her the cues she needs to stay on schedule. I don't understand it, but I think it's FASCINATING.

Jenn Ridgeway said...

I'm geeking out because my mental calendar looks almost exactly like yours! The shape is the same and December is in the same spot, but my months go the other direction (your Nov = my Jan, etc).

How does your mental calendar work? In my mind, I'm always ON the current day, and I see the rest of the calendar in relation to that day. In other words, the calendar is stationary and I perceive myself as moving around it. There are colors according to the season: blues and blacks now as we're heading into winter, greens and water in spring, bright white for summer months, oranges in the fall.

I can also zoom in or out. So, if I think about today, or one of my kids' birthdays, I see the individual days on the calendar. Otherwise, it's a broader scale and I see the whole year mapped out.

Jessie said...

I read a book several years ago where a child is learning algebra and sees numbers as members in a family. They each had a personality, and all numbers tell different stories (e.g. if 3 was a baby, and 8 was a grandma, then the number 38 was a story about a grandmother taking her grandchild to the park.) It's been driving me crazy because I can't remember what book it was, and this seems like as good a place as any to ask for help : )

Also, my brother-in-law sees music in color, and as a result he's a really talented musician. He knows which notes and chords sound good with each other, because their colors are complementary, or in the same color family....or something. So cool.

Amanda Ball said...

I've read that book before... and I have no idea what book it was. Completely unhelpful.

Suzanne Bubnash said...

That is both fascinating, and sad.

Suzanne Bubnash said...

My year looks almost identical to yours.

Bridget said...

I don't think this is the kind of thing that can be learned, so there must be some hereditary aspect of synesthesia.

Bridget said...

I can't even imagine this. Just like I can't imagine seeing days of the week as colors. Synesthesia is so weird.

Bridget said...

At what point did you realize that it was abnormal to be seeing days of the week as colors?

So cool that your year is a bubble, too. :)

Bridget said...

Sounds about right. Actually it sounds exactly right, though I'd never put it in words before. This was the first time I've "written" my calendar image and I had never noticed the weird spacing before.

Autumn said...

I am one of your readers that never comments, but I had to comment of this post. I also have a few different variations of synesthesia, and I just wrote a paper on a study done on synesthesia in the Netherlands that has an idea of what causes it. apparently its more common amoungst females and tends to be hereditary. here's the article:


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