The evening ritual of Denial
That’s what it is. Outright denial. There’s no way I’m gonna read:
- Where The Wild Things Are
- I’m Big Enough
- Elmo Take Me Out to the Ballgame
- The Biggest Thing in the Ocean, or
- Llama Llama Red Pajama
in anything but an American accent.
Oh, not for lack of desire, and certainly not for lack of trying:
Oh no. Not even Leo the Late Bloomer is entreated to a British accent. Don't you know? It’s a prohibition in our home. Our 3.5 year old, in all his years of wisdom, has outlawed Dada, you know, the guy who does voiceovers…to do…um….voiceovers.
I have been granted permission by His Royal Highness to read any and all nigh-nigh books to my toddler solely in a purely North American accent. But dare I venture over to the British side – from which I am precluded – a set and unflappable sequence reveals itself without fail.
The very nanosecond I embark upon an accent that is unacceptable to him, my toddler knows what to do, and he follows these precocious and unassailable steps.
The Steps of Denial
Step 1: It begins with the squirming. See, the toddler knows what's coming. Dada has opened the book, and it's impossible for him to resist doing this. The toddler knows deep within his little 3-year-old beating heart that Dada longs to venture off the beaten path and give these sacred bedtime stories a new, fresh, and, ahem, international spin. He knows what’s coming. The squirming signals his profound disapproval of Dada’s proclivities.
Step 2: It continues with the bottle drop. The bottle: that life giving plastic cylinder which contains that ***I*** bought for him (which should at least buy me one good British read, darnit!) because I love him and I wish for him to survive, and because I wish to read things to him in a new entertaining fashion. That bottle that contains fluid that is the stuff of life, you know, life, as in, all forms of life, even British. Nay. The bottle drops, and the steps continue.
Step 3: The inevitable head tilt and eye glare. Yes, with all the bluster this threenager can muster, I am entreated to a profound glare during which my toddler sizes me up for a coffin. Indeed, this is the beginning of my demise, that demise has one battle cry which signals my doom.
Step 4: “NORMAL!” Yes…that one word yelled from the bowels of my son’s disdain reverberate into my ears and bounce around my soul like a ping-pong game of despondency, as my son cries out for the mundane, the ordinary, the common, the routine, the regular.....the boring.
It wasn’t always this way
My perfect British – and Australian – and Mexican – and Caribbean – and Italian – and Russian – and Goofy McGooferson - storytelling accent is rejected and cast out like out fried grease from a mug, into the garbage bin…unwanted…alone. If only he knew how much it just wanted to be loved.
It wasn’t always this way. His Royal Highness used to be aged two. Or even one. And I could read things to the little chump whenever and however I wanted, without fearing rejection. But that’s just not the case anymore. It’s a law in our home, inscribed on two tiny Play-doh slabs after he descended from the Holy Mountain of PillowFortia, that I am to read bedtime stories in one manner and in one manner only: that of utter formula (not to be confused with formula; his highness is a milk drinker).
Yea verily…though the stories I would read to him would contain all forms of international aplomb and savoir faire – he would have it one way only: in a North American accent.
So hey howdy hey, yiipee-kai-yay, howdy doody you boring three-year-old who precludes me from taking on the mantle of British hierarchy in storytelling! I relegate you to the abyss of mundane North American accent forrreeevvveeerrrr!!!
I love you. Now go to sleep or I’ll sell all your toys. Nighty-night! (Said North American style).
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