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,
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