Like most people, I LOVE Dr. Suess. I love him not just for breaking the Dick and Jane choke hold on children’s literature, but for his sheer irreverance, and, let’s face it, outright trippy use of words just vaguely tied together by a theme of some kind. His illustrations are equally weird and wonderful, if not for the sheer nuttiness of an animal who’s primary purpose is to haunt your toothbrush (a Noothgrush, I believe). And I’m ALL for silliness, especially in my literature.
Up until this point, LG’s Dr. Suess exposure was pretty limited – Wocket in my Pocket (As in: “There’s a Woset in my Closet and a Ghair beneath my chair, but the Bofa on the Sofa acts as if he doesn’t care.”), Dr. Suess’s ABC’s, and a few other DS classics geared to the under 2 set. Now that he’s turned two, I told those who were interested that, Yes, he loves Dr. Suess, and Yes, he’d love some of the classic stories for his birthday. So, sure enough, he recieved “Cat in the Hat”for the event – the birthday edition, no less.
We’ve read it faithfully every night since that day (almost two weeks ago) – I point this out only becuase its a LOT longer than A Wocket in My Pocket, and I’ve actuallly fallen asleep reading it. TO him. No easy trick, but I did it.
But I digress. Lately, I noticed a slightly annoying habit in the formerly easygoing LG of mine. I’ll give you an example:
ME: C’ mere, big guy – time to wash up for lunch.
LG: I don’t LIKE lunch.
(Those of you who know my boy know that this is a highly unusual statement. I’ve actually been maimed holding sandwiches for him to bite into.)
ME: What do you mean? I made you grilled cheese.
LG: I don’t LIKE THAT. I DON’T LIKE GRILLED CHEESE! I DON’T LIKE IT!
You can use your imagination as to what may have happened next. We’ll just say it involved a lot of ketchup. I’m not proud. Besides, ketchup has LYCOPENE, doncha know. Positively a food group.
When getting dressed to play in the pool:
ME: Let’s get your swim trunks on, buddy – we’re going outside to play in the pool.
LG: (Pointing to his Nemo swim diapers) I DON’T LIKE THAT. I DON’T WEAR IT.
ME: But you DO like Nemo, Honey. You wore them yesterday.
(Let me point out that this last statement just slipped out – I fully realize the futility of using this argument with a freshly minted two year old. Like he gives a poop about consistency.)
LG: (Louder and Louder). I DON’T WEAR IT! (At which point he plucks the offending swim diaper out of my hands and flings it across the room.)
Just look at that face. Just tell me you wouldn’t do everything you could to avoid that face.
Now, you may wonder what all of this has to do with Cat in the Hat.
Like every parent, I’m looking to assign blame on someone other than myself. How could my formerly affable boy go all Mr. Hyde on me? Surely there’s an outside force at work. It couldn’t have anything to do that he’s two, nuh-uh, no way. Hmm, let’s see, what new to LG lately…Aha! Teletubbies and birthday presents, or more specifically, books he got for his birthday.
The newfound facination for Teletubbies: boy, would that be great if they were the culprit. If ever there was a mind-rotting, undermining, and downright evil TV experience, the Teletubbies are it. I’m pretty sure extended exposure violates the Geneva Convention. But after extensive (EXTENSIVE) viewing, no luck there. In fact, Tinky Winky and friends don’t seem to have much of an aversion to anything to speak of, other than sitting in their spilled Tubby custard. Don’t ask.
(You may be asking yourself, as any reasonable individual would – why on earth would she let her child be exposed to such depraved stupidity? I myself would have said the very same thing. The answer is: he LOVES it. More importantly, he’s completely and totally engrossed. And I don’t mean that he enjoys it from time to time, I mean he wakes up and its the first thing he asks for. BEFORE MILK. Its all I can do to limit it to 1/2 hour per day. Sometimes, I just cave and allow him to park himself, slackjawed and surely shrinking brand new brain cells, in front of the TeleBoobTube. All for the sake of laundry. Or making dinner. Or – gasp! – cleaning. OK, OK – I may sneak in some knitting from time to time. I’m no martyr.)
So that quickly leads me to my next suspect: books we’ve been reading recently. A lot. After reading Cat in the Hat for the umpteenth time, I noticed there’s a fish (in a teapot, naturally) that strongly objects to the Cat in the Hat and his idea of fun. So much so, he says, surely enough, on a quite frequent basis, “I don’t LIKE it, not one little bit.”
Hey, Dr. Suess is a good a scapegoat as any. Green Eggs and Ham is NOT going to be introduced any time soon.
I’m thinking of starting an adult bookclub for Dr. Suess books. I think he had issues with his mother.