Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Parallelogram

"These beans taste like a parallelogram."

We tried to feed my daughter tofu last night. She poked it - it wobbled - and then she asked what it was. We're not vegetarians or anything like that. But in our minds tofu is just another thing you can eat. When I was still eating gluten stuff I would cram boxes of Boca Burgers into my fat mouth. Those things are delicious. So tofu was on the menu and it was on my daughters plate. I wasn't all that optimistic because quite often she will just look at stir-fry, smell the sesame oil and then commit to not eating any of it. I tried to make it better by plopping a sliver of butter on her rice. Which she immediately picked up with her fingers and tried to eat on it's own - still cold. I shot her down on that one. Anyway, she asked what the grey/white blob was and I said, "Beans!" Because she likes beans. And it's sort of true, but also not. So I told some silly story about if you imagine taking a load of beans and then squashing them all together to make one big giant square wobbly bean that's what you would get. Yay! They're all friends!!!

So she ignored it and ate her rice. Then she started in on the little tiny broccoli florets that had soaked up all the juice. Which she ate tons of and kept asking for more of. My wife asked what she liked and she said, "I love how they're juicy." Then we told her she has to eat some tofu and she gagged, came really close to vomiting and we quickly begged her not to eat any more. And it is genuine. It's not like a child doing a shitty job of washing dishes so that they'll be asked not to do it again. She actually gags and vomits five times the volume of stuff that went in her mouth. So we stopped her from eating and she blurted out that, "these beans taste like a parallelogram." My wife did her usual, "well, yes because the opposite sides of the tofu are of equal length and the opposite angles are also of equal measure." That is all true. But my wife was also unaware that while playing Hide and Seek earlier my daughter deliberately kicked my in the nuts and then playfully said, "Ooops! I stepped on your Pinocchio!"

I used to think my daughter was possibly The Chosen One. Not Jesus born-again. But a superhero sent from another world to either save or destroy our planet. And when I say I believe this I mean I thought about it sometimes and then wondered if I should ask other people if they think their child is magical. But then lots of parents think their child is special like that. I've had conversations with people who have made absurd claims that hold no water at all. I genuinely know someone that claims that right after their child was born from their womb that it looked at them and said the word, "Love!" That didn't happen. The first thing my son did after he was born was sneeze. When my daughter was born they did that reflex test where they stand the child up and see if their legs will push up from a surface. My daughter did that and looked like she might actually stand up.

And whereas I used to think that my daughter's mental development was absurdly advanced I now no longer even think about it with my son. Not because he's slower or different in any way, but because he's clearly happy and there are no problems at all. Add that every parent of two kids goes through that thing where they take their first new baby home and are weirded out that they now have this frail useless thing in their house that might die. So they obsess over every movement and cry made. Each growth step and developmental stage is hugely important - so important that you'll read books about it and sign up for Baby Stage emails to find out which piece of fruit your child's head should resemble at 3 months of age. But then you have a second child and you know mostly that it won't die. You can differentiate that the cry that he's doing now just means he wants to make noise, or is cold or thinks you should walk around with them. It's not a plea to save their life. You learn really early on that kids are different and won't behave the same way, think the same way or achieve milestones at the same rate. They will be slower at some things and much faster at others. And who cares - as long as one kid works out you can still be proud right? 

And I don't want my kids to be genuine genius children. The real ones that speak multiple languages and have advanced musical skills also have that creepy vibe that they will either become engineers or dig a well in their living room to keep neighborhood kids in. But you still have to admire the parental effort I guess. I'm inherently lazy and still get lots done. I know a Hockey Mom who whisks her kids (more than mine) all over to get them having fun. I can't imagine how annoyed I would be if I tried that. But parents of genius kids are waaay off the charts busy. These are parents that are teaching their kids minute by minute by minute without rest. They are constantly on the ball cramming information into their little offspring's brain. Me - I'm sitting with my daughter and playing Jumper For Goalposts 4 and explaining to my daughter that if the other guy in the poker game we've moved on to has a Jack then I might have to sell the bar I bought with my winnings earlier.

Which might explain why instead of practicing the violin this morning my daughter is pretending to poo through the tube from Christmas wrapping paper.

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