I've gotten far too used to "background noise" in my life, and leaving a television on as I putter around the house is pretty much par for the course. But nowadays, I'm not puttering alone. I have a second set of ears, 5-year-old ears, to consider, and those ears are attached to an impressionable young brain that hasn't yet begun to filter and differentiate signal from noise (and yes, I DO realize that the majority of television programming IS noise, and not signal, and you can't prove that I watched "Dr. Phil" today).
Bella also doesn't filter out anything WE say, unless those things happen to be instructions that are directly addressed to HER, in which case she's deaf as all get-out. So she's been hearing me fret about money a lot lately--mostly when I'm telling her why she can't have every single item on the shelves at the grocery store, or why we're not going OUT to eat instead of cooking actual food in our actual home (and hey--I made this tonight, and it was good). She's slowly coming to terms with the concept that EVERYTHING costs money--I'm trying to remember to explain that when we're watering the garden, we're paying for that water, that when we turn on the lights, we're paying for that electricity, that we pay to live in our house, and recently, that we can't be running around all over creation, because we have to pay dearly for every drop of gasoline in our cars. The only thing I'm not mentioning is the air-conditioning, because that is just not an option. Don't even suggest laying off the AC. I mean it. Shut up. I will skip meals to have air-conditioning, if I have to. You just don't know. Seriously, shut up.
I've mentioned before that we don't get local Arkansas television affiliates on the TV sets we usually watch at our house, meaning the one in the living room and the one in the bedroom--our network coverage comes from New York and Los Angeles. And on the New York network affiliates, the commercial that gets more play than any commercial you ever saw in your entire life is the series of wacky, highly-produced, musical IO Digital Cable commercials. The first one was a Latino-flavored rap video, and every time it came on, I felt like I was on some kind of bad drug trip. Here, judge for yourself:
The one that's playing now doesn't seem to be available online, but it is a very animated, primary-colored, singing, dancing showstopper that revolves around a glamorous Gwen Stefani-looking housewife (I know, right?) preparing a fancy dinner...what that has to do with Optimum Online, I have no idea, but then, I didn't get the Latina mermaids, either. Anyway, after the 42nd airing of this commercial today, Bella gets right up in my face, wearing that I JUST HAD A GENIUS THOUGHT THAT MUST BE SHARED IMMEDIATELY expression, and says, "Mom. MOM. We should get IO Digital Cable! It saves you LOTS OF MONEY! And we need lots of money, so can we get Optimum Online and SAVE LOTS OF MONEY?" And I just know that, behind that, unspoken, was, "...so that we can get out of this house and back to The Dixie Cafe, WHERE I BELONG?" As well as, "Look, woman--here is the solution to all of our problems! Gwen Stefani in an apron wants to give us lots of money for getting IO Digital Cable! What are you waiting for?"
If you have a succinct, intelligent explanation of savings vs. earnings vs. spending that is both understandable AND palatable to the intellect and attention-span of a preschooler, well, then, this is where you get to stroke your beard and feel all superior, because mine was apparently not that great. I mean, I thought it was, until said preschooler interrupted me by taking the rubber ducky she'd found in her closet earlier today, saying, "Look what I learned to do at Grandmommy's," and proceeding to tuck it under her chin, upside-down, and squeeze it in such a way as to make grotesque farting noises against her neck, then cackling madly. I just said, "Yes, that's nice. Please save that trick for when we visit your other grandmommy--the whole family will be SO proud."
But then, at lunchtime? After she'd already eaten a whole turkey-spinach wrap with cream cheese & chives, several raw carrots, and a fistful of grapes, and drunk a tall glass of milk? (This is anomaly--I guarantee you, tomorrow she will subsist on air and three almonds.) She asked me if she could make a peanut butter sandwich "all by herself." This is something she's been able to do for a couple of years now, so of course I let her...and this is what she came back from the kitchen carrying in a paper towel:
That's right. It's heart-shaped. I think I shall keep her.