July 20, 2007
Last night Schuyler and I curled up on the couch, just the two of us, and it would have been a really sweet picture if you were to peek in through the window and see us there. I'm not sure if you'd still get the same Normal Rockwell vibe, however, if you could see that we were watching Godzilla versus Space Godzilla.
After it was over, we changed into our sleep clothes and stomped around the living room, destroying imaginary Tokyo and attacking each other. Schuyler stopped in her rampage every now and then to open her mouth menacingly and breath imaginary Godzilla fire, although she ruined the effect by cracking herself up and giggling. Well, that and also by being a four foot tall little girl in very un-monstery Hello Kitty pajamas.
I was driving her to her summer program this morning when she suddenly called out excitedly, pointing out the car window.
"Ah-ee, oo! Eh UH!"
I followed where she was pointing and saw a police car, and that's when I realized what she was saying.
"Daddy, look! The FUZZ!"
"Is that the Fuzz?" I asked. She squealed with delight and clapped her hands at our (until now) private joke.
Judge me if you must for the things I end up teaching Schuyler, both intentionally and otherwise. We're like any parents, we pick our battles carefully, based on our own beliefs and the values we feel are important to pass down. Even if sometimes those values involve nothing more than being a smartass. Especially then, perhaps.
We'll watch some pretty questionable television sometimes, for example. Jurassic Park II: The Lost World was on last week, and I've never seen Schuyler's eyes as wide with wonder as when she watched a T-Rex walking down a quiet suburban street and into a back yard, drinking from the swimming pool and looking into a kid's bedroom window. I can't even begin to imagine how happy she would be to look out her own window to such a sight.
But after one too many trips to the bookstore when she ran straight to the Disney and Barbie sections as if there were no other conceivable book in the world, we stopped letting her watch shows that seem to be little more than merchandise disguised as educational television. So yes to rampaging dinosaurs eating the family dog, but no more Dora the Explor-ahTM.
She knows that hitting and pushing other kids is wrong, but also that she's got the right to be anywhere anyone else is, with her Big Box of Words by her side. Schuyler knows that when other kids get bossy and start telling everyone what to do, there is no greater fun to be had than to cheerfully break those rules. She wears the punky clothes that she wants, with camouflage and little bead bracelets with pink skull-and-crossbones and red hair that exists nowhere in nature, but she also knows that short shorts and the slutty Bratz attire that is so popular with the North Dallas second grade set these days (WTF?) isn't going to happen, and it's not even worth putting up a fight.
She knows nothing about Jesus (as far as we're concerned, she already has plenty of imaginary friends), and isn't going to find out more until she's old enough to make the distinction between what's fact and what's opinion. She's trusting in a very unsophisticated way at this stage; she will take whatever she is told and process it as Truth-with-a-big-T, and we feel better about her believing in Santa and King Kong and monsters right now. The difference is that fewer people will be insisting that they are real as she gets older, and she's not ever going to be pressured to live her life a certain way because someone told her that it's Godzilla's will.
Most of all, Schuyler has inherited a "Fight the Man" attitude that she is going to need as she gets older and takes on more of her own battles for equal treatment and adequate concessions for her life in a mainstream society.
Being who she is, however, Schuyler infuses that attitude with a charm that her father has never possessed. As we pulled away from the police car this morning, she smiled, gave him a wave, and said "Eye, uh!"