Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Muppet Dictator

So much of my day at home is filled with Bucky testing my limits.

Just today I was writing an email when he slowly approached from behind and proceeded to see just how close he could get to my ear whilst creating a cacophony of sucking on his sippy-cup.  One could argue he didn't know I have a very sensitive bubble when working on the computer. Maybe he also didn't know that the sound of chewing, or mouth sounds in general, are perhaps my biggest pet peeve.  Or perhaps maybe he did know and decided to see what would happen when he put both of them together.  Well played Bucky. . . Well played.

There is also the foremost example of his boundary crossing expertise that happened the day Bucky approached me with his big wily smile and proceeded to start by gently patting my knee once and with each successive tap it grew harder and harder and harder. Each time the love tap was followed by "I'm hitting?" "I'm hitting?" and the shmarmy smile growing bigger and bigger. I'm on to you Bucky McBuckerson.

Of course, this is completely normal behavior for any 2yo.  They must discover the laws of the land and figure out what makes a hit, a hit.  But to say that I am easily able to dismiss this constant prodding, on the basis that it is simply human nature, would be completely inaccurate. I quickly go through the list of choices in my head of how best to manifest the mounting frustration.  There is the stink-eye, the timeout, the "Do you want me to decapitate your beloved stuffed animal giraffe Jimmy-John?". (The last of course is to cruel to ever use or even threaten with, but I can dream can't I?)  Although, the most naturally occurring reaction, in my equal opportunity home, is to return the favor to Bucky. I shall test his limits.

Another one of Bucky's common 2yo traits is wanting consistency and normalcy and things to be the same each and every time he encounters them.  Very often he'll walk into a room where we've just moved a stationary item and with the greatest look of concern he will inquire, "What happened here?"

Just moments ago, Mamma was reading Bucky his bedtime book.  Each night he chooses two books and has recently got in the habit of telling us around 12 times in rapid sucession that "This one be normal and this one be normal. Normal. Normal."  This is to make certain that no silly voices or word substitutions are used.  With Bucky's prologue finished, Mamma proceeded to read a book about sounds.  "Zoe's bell goes 'Ring! Ring!' Oscar's hammer goes 'Bam! Bam! Bam!' Telly's stopwatch goes 'Bplbhpphb! Bplbhbpp!'" "No!" Bucky exclaims, "Not like that!" Mamma laughs, but Bucky is all too serious and commands that she start again.  Mamma must have a hard time reading, because she messes up over and over again. Meanwhile, Bucky's reality is being tampered with and he is being pressed towards his limit.

Finding that fine line is the key. Go over it and you've created a tantrum and possibly some broken toddler synapses that can never be repaired.  It may be prudent to never even get close to that line to avoid such scenarios, but please remember, we're talking about revenge equality here.

So one day, after one of my above said manifestations was eagerly waiting to spill forth on to Bucky, we sat side by side on the couch watching a children's show that is very near and dear to him. Wonder Pets.

If you understand Bucky's need for universal harmony from above, you will understand why he loves this show.  It is consistent and unchanging.  The plot is ALWAYS the same. It goes like this.

The kids leave school. The Wonder Pets get a call on their tin-can phone. There's a baby animal in trouble. (I have to be careful writing this as I might burst out in song.) There's a problem with the fly-boat. They fix it with teamwork. They get to the baby animal. Just so happens the solution they found to fix the fly-boat is the same thing they need to save the baby animal! OH HAPPY DAY! Let's celebrate by enjoying a piece of celery!!

Yep. Each and every time. However, there was that one time where a stuffed animal giraffe ended up getting beheaded. Oh wait. That was my dream again.

Back to the couch. I seized my opportunity. "Hey Bucky, did they fix the shny-foat?" "The fly-boat," he responds with an agitated giggle. "Ohhh," I say. A moment later. "Is that the naby shnorcufline?" Without removing his gaze from the screen, "Baby Porcupine!" "Oh right. Baby Porcupine," I say. This correction on my behalf is much to his satisfaction and in turn allows me a few more rounds. "They're really good at cream turk!" "Team work!" This awards me a dirty look, and checkmate is insight. I go for the kill. "Hey Bucky. What's the name of this show?" "Wonder Pets." "Blunder Pets?" "Wonder Pets!" "Schnunder Getz?" "WONDER PETS!" "Grundy Underpants?"  And with the miraculous muppet unhinging of his jaw and all the fury of the F├╝hrer he slams his hand on the arm rest with each syllable, "WON. DER. PETS!!!" 

I have tested and reached the limit. I bask briefly in this victory, again for equality's sake, and then make sure he still loves me by announcing very articulately, "Wonder Pets."  He looks at me, laughs, and nods approvingly. Peace and unity have been restored to the universe. I too, of course, am having a good laugh and thinking all the while, "This is all very particular from a boy who also has affections for another TV show he calls, 'Bulb Day Burbur.'"

Stay-at-Home Dad, stay at home dad, SAHD

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