Thursday, September 29, 2011

Dancing Robots and Toilet Water

In my last post I said writing is what I pay attention to, therefore I’m a writer. If you were to assess my four year old boy by this standard, you’d conclude that he’s a robot.

Caleb’s had a keen interest in all things robotic for most of his life. He knows more about robots than any kid his age has a right to. He recently told me about a TV show he's been watching called Eon Kid. Apparently it’s about a “real human boy” who finds a magic glove that transforms him into a robot when he puts it on. This would be a dream come true for Caleb. But his dream is ironic because robots have the following qualities:

  • Complete lack of emotion
  • Lack of all self-awareness
  • Sharp focus on specific, repetitive tasks
  • No need for parental or other human interaction
  • Ability to work long periods without assistance or rewards

Caleb doesn’t quite meet up to these criteria. In the current vernacular, I’d say, “Robot-like? Not so much.” I’d describe him more as the needy, demanding, selfish type, with no focus, lousy work ethic, and frequent dramatic mood swings. It’s okay, because we give kids a pass until they're five or six. Hopefully by then he'll have a handle on stuff, in other words, he'll figure out the universe does not revolve around him.

But Caleb's a fun little guy, and we have lots of good conversations. We had one the other day that started when he saw me take a drink from the bathroom faucet, and went like this:

Caleb: You drank some of that water?

Me: Yeah, it's okay. You can drink water from that faucet.

Caleb: Oh. Okay.

Me: [Knowing that he loves potty humor] But you can't drink the toilet water.

Caleb: I know!

Me: Only Cooper can drink that.

Caleb: I know. Because he's a dog.

Me: Right. He likes drinking from the toilet, and cats like to flush it.
      (This is a reference to one of our favorite videos on YouTube.)

At this point, I started singing the "Cat Flushing a Toilet" song, which made him spontaneously break into a frantic robot dance. When I say "frantic" I mean he was throwing down his usual robot dance moves, but at super high speed. I think an effortless ability to dance like a robot is one of the things Caleb envies most in robots.

If you can picture this interaction, you have a pretty good idea of what my life with Caleb is like.


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