Ready for a new word to add to your lexicon? Ok. Here it is: synesthesia!

Reader and instagram follower, barbiezen, mentioned it to me last week. I immediately looked it up when I saw her comment, and it blew my mind (thanks Barbie!). Synesthesia is the experience of recieving sensory input through one sense, and having an involuntary reaction in another sense. It’s sort of a sensory mix-up.

It came up because I shared this interaction with Andrew:
“Mom, what color is sound?”
“ummm….did you just say ‘what color is sound‘?”
“yeah, I think sound is an invisible color that only ears can see.”

Oh man. I love that story so much. I love that ANDREW so much. I loved it so much I had to do a “did you hear THAT?” to Dave…who was sitting right there with us, and then announce the story over instagram.

But I really didn’t think too much about it, other than appreciating how cool it was…that is…until Barbie dropped that hint about synesthesia. When I saw her comment, I stopped what I was doing to look it up and I realized that synesthesia comes up around here all the time.

In fact, just hours before seeing her comment, Isaac and I were back in the car after our one-on-one time at the beach. “Mommy, keep your hair quiet.” “Keep my hair quiet?” “yeah. it’s too noisy.” Scouts honor: my hair wasn’t making a sound…though I admit I was a little wind-blown.

It reminded me of a time that Isaac insisted that the days of the week each had a color identifier. Monday was red, Wednesday was pink, etc. And a time that Isaac used to write the alphabet every day after school using a certain color for each letter. It was the same every day. It came up so much that I scoped out his classroom to see if there was an alphabet chart hanging up with the letters in those colors. But I didn’t see anything.

Right now I think that *maybe* Isaac has synesthesia. *Maybe* Andrew does too. But I also think it probably doesn’t matter too much. It doesn’t seem like it will interfere too much with their little funky lives. Right now it just seems cool.

I was talking to a friend the other night about the story about my hair and Isaac’s potty troubles (still!). She laughed and said “I LOVE Isaac! He can sit around in wet and dirty pants and not care. He’s all, ‘don’t sweat the small stuff’ when it comes to being clean…but your HAIR, on the other hand, is making a RACKET! So try to keep it DOWN!” So true, and too funny.

My mom has said for years that Isaac will surprise us. But I think she didn’t see stuff like this coming. :)


Sometimes Isaac complains that muffins can be “too muffiny”. I don’t think that counts as synesthesia, but it definitely counts as “classic Isaac”. These biscuits seem to be fine by him though. I managed to make them just biscuit-y enough without being too biscuit-y. Not an easy balance to strike. I got the recipe from this cookbook, and I definitely recommend them!

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About robyn

I stopped teaching Kindergarten in 2005 to become the mom of two crazy boys here in Brooklyn. At first I thought being a stay at home mom meant that I needed to pour all my time and energy directly into my sons, but I realized somewhere along the way that being a rockstar mom meant not only taking good care of my boys, but also taking good care of myself. And taking good care of myself means pursuing something creative...just about everyday. I started Made In Brooklyn to motivate myself in my creative goals as well as share my work with others and perhaps inspire them in their own creative journeys.
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3 Responses to synesthesia

  1. MamaV says:

    one of my dear friends is a synesthete (?), and she even associates cities with a certain taste in her mouth! she travels a lot and talks about how chicago tastes like one kind of berry, nyc like another, san francisco is salty, and so on! so funny!

  2. Ruth says:

    There’s always so much more to learn about our boys, isn’t there? Right now though, I am in the role of teacher as I “educate” The Boy Child’s new class teacher about his condition. Go me!
    Have you read Ten Things Every Child With Autism Wishes You Knew? It’s the book I’ve been searching for.

  3. Ladkyis says:

    I see colours when people talk. Some people have dark brown voices (these can make you weak at the knees) some have pale pink voices some have slimey green voices and you just know they will have sweaty palms and a mouth full of saliva…. Doesn’t everyone see colours when people talk?

    ~feels embarrassed now~

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