A New Year
Learning toys are a double edged sword. One side? Your kids get SMARTER! The other side? They help your kids keep growing up.
"Who's that on the lawn with Olivia? What are they doing, playing with those Thames & Kosmos sets?"
"Tim, stop peeking out of the window! Your daughter's growing up, and she wants to give her little boyfriend a gift."
Tim glared at his wife. "Boyfriend or friend that is a boy?"
Michelle shrugged. Tim crossed his arms.
"Michelle, this is IMPORTANT. If Olivia likes a friend who is a boy, that's one thing. But if Olivia has a boyfriend, that's QUITE another!"
"It's 2013 today, Tim. She's growing up."
"It's not about growing up, Michelle. It's about ... okay, just tell me this. Are they using the Thames and Kosmos Candy Creator Lab, the Thames and Kosmos Sustainable Earth Lab, or the Thames & Kosmos Stirling Engine Car and Experiment Kit?"
Tim peeked out of the window again. Michelle slapped his hand.
"What does it matter, Tim?"
"What does it MATTER? Michelle, it matters. It matters because that's how you can tell if she likes him or like-likes him. Don't you remember school? If they're just using the Sustainable Earth Lab, maybe it's for fun. If they're using the Candy Creator Lab, it's like a date, but still really innocent. But if they're out in the driveway with the Thames & Kosmos Stirling Engine Car and Experiment Kit SHE'S BASICALLY WATCHING HIM WORK ON HIS CAR, MICHELLE! And you know what that means, right?"
"No, Tim. No, I don't know what that means. And stop looking out of the window!"
Tim began to pace.
"Haven't you see Grease, Michelle? Once a car gets involved, the whole world turns upside-down. It starts to be about emotions and machines and speed and wearing those leather pants like Olivia Newton-John did. That's not about love and commitment, Michelle! That's about breaking rules and taking dares! Michelle! Why didn't you ask her! Why didn't you PARENT!"
Michelle folded her arms and glared, openly and deeply, at her husband. But Tim didn't notice. He was already opening the door.
"Olivia!" he called. "Do you have the Candy Creator Lab?"
"No, Dad!" Olivia called back. "I left that in the kitchen! We're playing with the Thames & Kosmos Stirling Engine Car and Experiment Kit!"
Tim closed the door in shock. Michelle pushed him toward the living room.
"Try not to think about it, honey. Here, let's just watch TV. I think they're showing Two of a Kind this afternoon, maybe that'll help you focus on how John Travolta stayed committed to his girl even when the scripts were awful."