Here’s today’s news from fatherhood:
Tess doesn’t like much.
I’d like to believe I just figured out something about 3 year-olds, or at least my 3 year-old, so if you have any evidence to the contrary, please keep it to yourself until I’ve moved on to other convictions about child development.
But I’m pretty sure Tess doesn’t like much.
This isn’t to say she doesn’t like anything, nor is it to say she’s bored or unhappy or already weary of what this world has to offer. I think she likes just as much as she’s supposed to like, and what she does feel affection towards, or lends her interest towards, well, that stuff gets some serious Tess-time..
And that just turns out to be a few things.
For instance, I used to think she loved Fraggle Rock. Who doesn’t? It’s a little more hippie than I remember, and the songs really privilege that 70’s soft country sound, but all in all it holds up. Boober, The Trash Heap, the Doozers, the whole package.
Tess seemed to love it. But something about the way she watches makes me think she’s actually interested in less than the whole . She doesn’t exactly watch. She waits. She waits and occasionally watches whatever she’s been waiting for, then she waits all over again, which sort of resembles watching.
I started to think it was just certain episodes, or sequences. Then I got to thinking she actually just likes certain characters. Maybe just Gobo’s hair. She perches on the couch ready to pounce on a flash of it.
But my suspicion these days is that it’s all about Sprocket, the muppet dog. Who knows. Most likely, though, it’s just that one moment on episode 3 when Sprocket roller skates. Tess laughs at that. Then I guess she just resumes her waiting to see if he’ll ever do it again.
Must make for disappointing television if an entire season only delivers the one moment you like, er, once.
But I didn’t arrive at this sense of Tess only through her viewing habits. It’s all in keeping with her relationship to food, too. Again, she likes food, but she doesn’t like much.
Consider, she doesn’t like yogurt. She likes vanilla yogurt. And not any vanilla yogurt. You can fly that watery stuff off the nearest dock. And she wants it with her pink spoon. The one we bring to restaurants so she’ll actually eat. Got a big fancy spoon? Good for you. She’ll starve before she uses it. A little O.C. of her? Maybe. But she does insist on referring to pink as “her colour”, so the spoon issue is really more a matter of fidelity than compulsion.
Last night she suggested we go out for sushi, so she could eat her cheese pizza. Note that she doesn’t eat the crusts. Those are crusts. Crusts are not pizza. That’s why they have their own name. So what if a little cheese and sauce gets on the crust. That’s cheesy crust, not pizza. Keep your semantics to yourself, and just get me a high chair. No booster seats, thank you, unless their pink.
When she finished her dinner last night, she stuck her crusts in my tempura and declared she was done, ready to go. She looked around the sushi restaurant, probably hoping to catch a glimpse of a roller-skating dog before we left. That’s how you know she’s waiting.
“Do you have any money, punkin?” I asked.
I was teasing, of course, but also sort of half-wondering. The kid spends nothing and collects change like nobody’s business. I swear her piggy banks (plural) sport a smug expression known as “mockery”.
“no, papa,” she lied. “I don’t have money.”
“”Well, how will you pay, then?”
A slight worry in her voice emerged.
“Do you have money, Papa?”
“Me? No. Oh no! We have no money!”
She got down from the table, totally disinterested in this story, its crisis and characters.
“I want to go home and watch a show.”
“But we can’t pay! What will we do?”
She put her sweater on.