He is three going-on-four,

and he finds the world a strange

and perplexing place.

At 3 O’clock in the afternoon,

He watches Sponge Bob SquarePants

on TV and he enjoys Sponge Bob

and his friend, Patrick, and their

escapades under the sea,

until his mother turns off the TV

and declares it’s all nonsense,

Silly cartoons.

Later, his father comes home

and turns on the news

and there is a shootout between

the police and a bad guy .

The bad guy get shot.

“Will he be back in the next episode?” the

child asks his father, who barks a laugh

and says no, this is reality. That guy won’t

be back anywhere.

But later on, his parents are watching a

movie and they think the child is asleep

in his bed, but he sits on the stairs and

watches cowboys and Indians shooting

each other and the child wonders if

they will be back tomorrow, on another show.

In the morning, his mother turns on Sesame street

with the instruction “watch this and sit still while

I clean up the kitchen”

So, he watches Big Bird and Kermit and Oscar,

who lives in a garbage can.

And his asks his mother “Are these real?”

His mother says no, they are just puppets.

Later she drops him off at day care and

admonishes him to behave himself and

not to ask Miss Wilson too many questions.

She has enough on her hands.

The child wonders if Miss Wilson is real or

make believe and what, exactly,

she has on her hands.   He has never seen

anything on Miss Wilson’s hands but

decides it wouldn’t be wise to ask his

mother when she is in a hurry to get

somewhere.  If Miss  Wilson is a puppet

or a cowboy or an Indian will she put him

in time out if he asks?

Understanding reality.  It’s  a concept

he hasn’t yet learned to grasp.

Maybe he will understand when

he is four. Or five.  Or like the big

kids who are six.


Sandra Lee Smith

Originally written August, 2009/updated June, 2018

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