Sarah Avery (dr_pretentious) wrote,
Sarah Avery

A Little Ho(a)rse From Inauguration Day

To be able to watch the inaugural coverage myself, I had to narrate long swaths of it to Gareth to keep him from noticing how long he'd been cooped up in the living room. This required that I try to imagine how a toddler would, if he could, understand the proceedings. I had to be most visibly interested in the aspects of the spectacle that were already interesting to him.

I've never been so aware of motor vehicles in inaugural proceedings before. Gareth is still fixated on the word bus--maybe even more so, now that he knows he doesn't have the category formed right. Okay, so not everything that has or is a wheel is a bus. Does that mean that all yellow things are buses? How about all spherical things? All things with lights? So anytime he sees an object he's not confident he can name right, he'll say, "Bus?" in the hopes that Dan or I will sort it out for him.

Ted Kennedy's ambulance elicited cries of "Bus! Bus!"

"Sort of, sweetie. That's an ambulance-bus. It's taking the Lion of the Senate to a hospital, but he's not really a lion. See the grandpa picture on the screen? That's the man in the ambulance. He reminds a lot of people of lions. But, um, not for the usual running-down-and-eating-impalas reasons."

Yeah, like that, all day.

Eventually the commentators on MSNBC, and everywhere else where commentators could be found, were hoarse and punchy, and had already said the stuff they were most interested in saying several hours earlier, and probably many times over. I actually wanted to see the parade, because I'm a sucker for ritual, and I wanted to see how different it would be from the second Bush inaugural parade, which I attended as a protester. Thank goodness for C-SPAN, which ran the visuals and sound from the reviewing stand with no interruptions or overlaid commentary whatsoever.

It was a John-Philip-Sousa-rific parade. Gareth loves dancing around to Sousa marches, it turns out.

Horses are not buses. They are, however, hard to name if you're a toddler. All the consonants are late arrivals in the typical toddler phoneme repertoire. So, rather than try to shout Horse! every time he got excited about the horses in the parade, Gareth would find his little plush friend UPaul the Transvestite Unicorn (well, what would you name this if your son adored it and you knew he'd see all his stuffed animals as male?) and brandish him at the screen, squeaking exuberantly.

Dan got home just in time to see NASA's lunar rover at the end of the parade. Geeks that we are, the two of us tried to convey our sense of wonder by jumping around the living room and shouting, "Look at the moon bus! It's a moon bus, Gareth! Someday you'll go to space and ride in a moon bus!"

Gareth has some idea of what the moon is. It's shiny, and tiny, and sometimes when you're reading you say goodnight to it, and sometimes in books it says goodnight to virtuous families of ducks. It's round, but not yellow, and when you look out the nursery window at it in the few minutes before bedtime, it does not visibly spin. Poor kid. He's probably still trying to figure out how a moon can be a bus.

My throat's still sore from all that talking, but that's fine, because my guy's still president.
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