Buster is adept at many skills for a two-year-old. He holds a pencil like a pro and draws abstract art as if preparing for his gallery opening. He makes up his own songs to serenade his Mommy at bedtime. He knows his way around an iPad better than I do and makes that little guy leap over the stampeding bulls in his favorite game with dexterity to make my head spin.
Yet there are some toddler skills that Buster is not ahead of the curve on. It would be one thing if he didn’t have the capacity to do certain things, but he does. It’s more of a defiance issue, although even that doesn’t truly capture the spirit of it. It’s defiance mixed with indifference.
Buster thinks he’s pretty smart. I don’t know if he styles himself a genius, but his affinity for playing jokes can only lead to the conclusion that he believes he’s pretty clever. And a clever boy shouldn’t be asked to learn things he sees little use for in the rest of his life.
Just as an older child might ask about the long-term utility of Algebra, I hear, in Buster’s spirited remonstrations, the philosophical query: “When will I ever use big boy underpants in real life?” Such garments hold no candle to the convenience of the diaper.
“Einstein didn’t have to poop on the potty!” He doesn’t know anything about Einstein, and he doesn’t say this literally, but I can see in his eyes the formation of an idealized, toddler image of genius. His aggravated eyes tell me that the child genius would never waste his time on something so trivial.
“Galileo didn’t pronounce K, F, or S sounds!” I bet he did, though this is not really about Galileo. It’s about a toddler whose opinion of his own world view dismisses the need to do inconvenient things.
It’s easy to replace the unnecessary consonants in words with the ever useful D and T. Mommy and Daddy understand the words formed by these substitutions, and since they are the only people he will ever need ask for a bowl of Lipton Noodle Doup, there’s no point in wasting effort on the unnecessary.
Buster can make the S sound. I know, because I’ve hounded him into doing it. He just doesn’t see the need. It is, after all, marginally more difficult for his tongue than making the D sound, so why bother?
Because Daddy is a trouble maker. One day, daddy wouldn’t make him any doup until he made the S sound.
“If you want soup, say ssssssss,” Daddy demanded.
Buster held out as long as he could, but he really wanted that soup.
Finally, he relented. “Sssssss,” he said.
“Now, say sssssoup,” the heartless Daddy persisted.
Buster sighed. “Ssssss . . . doup.”
That was close enough. Buster got his soup. And the last laugh.