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Thursday, February 25th, 2010

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Toddlers Are Deconstructionists
It's not just that my kid is contrary. He doesn't get that things can be true whether we argue against them or not. It's like Derrida claiming that nothing exists outside of discourse. I say we're out of Goldfish crackers, that we've finished off the last bag, and Gareth says, "No, we didn't!" I can show him the empty bag, the empty space in the cupboard where the crackers usually go, whatever. He says, "No, there are more in the bag!" Unlike the Deconstructionists, Gareth will probably grow out of his faith in proof-by-assertion. I wish I could hope that would happen before his third birthday, because this is driving me a little bit batty. Batty enough to imagine that the epidemic of Deconstruction that screwed up the whole field of literary studies for twenty years might have been cured by the judicious application of hugs, naps, and time-outs.

The empty cracker bag does not care that we might like more, the empty spot in the cupboard is not impressed by our ability to imagine it full. The wet diaper does not turn dry just because now is an inconvenient time for a change. Playing in parking lots is still not safe, even though we might like to play puddlestomp. Rain falls, snow falls, snow keeps on falling, and no, we will not drive to the park during a snow emergency. The wish-inflected mental model of the universe is not the universe.

Sorry, kiddo. We're still out of Goldfish crackers. Have an apple ring.

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