Saturday, August 28, 2004

What would Danny do?

My daughter has always had trouble understanding that the people in the TV aren't real -- that is, that they are actors and actresses playing parts, and the houses and schools are just sets, and the characters have no life outside the particular scenes we see. As her language skills have grown, her ability to appreciate abstractions has increased as well, but it's still not what you'd call strong. She doesn't ask anymore what Lizzie Maguire is doing to amuse herself during the commercials, but she does sometimes check just to make sure that a character's injury isn't really suffered by the actor. I try my best to explain, again and again, the disconnect between the appearance of reality and reality itself, but since piling more language onto a language problem often results in more confusion, I'm never sure how well I'm getting through. So this exchange earlier this week heartened me greatly:

I was talking with her about the hostilities that had broken out at camp between her and her brother, and after floundering around for a while, I made a reference to one of her current favorite shows, re-runs of "Full House" on ABC Family. "I wish I could say the words Danny Tanner would say in a situation like this. I know it would end with a hug, but I don't know what his advice would be. He always knows the right thing to say."

My daughter agreed, adding: "He's much better than you."

"Well," I countered, "I'd do much better if I had someone writing a script for me."

And to my surprise, she said, "Yeah! He has a script! Bob Saget is a cheater! Cheater, cheater!"

So at some level, she understands that superwise dad Danny Tanner is Bob Saget with a script. She still thinks he's a better mom than me, but hey, I grasp for encouragement wherever I can get it.

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