I think most parents have a tendency to want their children to have the same kind of childhood they themselves had, believing, from the perspective of idealized memory and nostalgia, that it was great. Perhaps, in some sense, they even try to relive their own childhood through their child. So, for example, they return like salmon to the suburbs to breed and raise their young.
But some of us fail. I myself have felt a little sad thinking about how different my son’s life has been from what mine was like. He didn’t have a big back yard to play in, or long hot summer days to run through the sprinkler or play on the slip’n’slide, or ice-covered puddles to stomp on all the way to school in the morning.
While the weather is beyond my control–well, so far, I have not insisted we all move back to Fresno–there have been some other things I have tried to give him. But, he hasn’t been much interested in them. For example, he simply doesn’t like potatoes. I confess can’t understand this. At all. To the point that it makes me a little frustrated and angry when he won’t eat french fries. I mean, what kind of kid doesn’t like french fries? I loved potatoes cooked any which way from as early as I can remember. He doesn’t much like buttered toast and jam. This was a staple for me from the moment I got my first tooth, I’m sure. And yet, Theo won’t go there.
And it doesn’t stop with food. Try as I might, I couldn’t get Theo obsessed with the Second World War and spending all day playing with army men. Instead, he’ll spend all day with his Lego Clone Wars figures battling droids. How he can prefer this, this General Grievous to General Patton is a mystery to me. Or a Clone Turbo Tank, which will never, ever exist, to a Panzer V “Panther”, probably the awesomest fighting vehicle of the entire Second World War. Kids these days…
I will admit, there have been some small victories in the area of cartoons. While not obsessed, he does quite like Pink Panther and Warner Bros. cartoons. Of course he doesn’t have the regular Saturday morning cartoon routine that I had. But it’s a start. Maybe some Saturday morning I’ll get out the vintage TV trays, put on the Looney Tunes, and see if I can trick him into hashbrowns and toast for breakfast, if I can just sell it as a Gungan delicacy.