Reluctant Townie: Tangling with a toddler

Reluctant Townie: Tangling with a toddler

For the past week, everyone in my house has been sick with the flu. Or the cold. Or the upper respiratory infection. Or some unholy combination thereof. Each day seems to bring a new set of symptoms. We consulted a doctor midweek and were met with a definitive shrug of the shoulders. Dr. Gregory House is, unfortunately, not in my provider network.

Whatever the diagnosis is, the malady originated at my niece and nephew's birthday party, so it is probably some hybrid of super-resistant toddler germs previously unknown to science.

So far, I have been unsuccessful in pinpointing a patient zero at whom to direct my scorn — there were several children of questionable-looking constitutions at the party — but to be honest, at one point, I saw my daughter eating popcorn off of the floor, and when I tried to confront her about this decision and offer her a fresh bowl, she blew me off.

Toddlers be crazy. And gross. From an evolutionary standpoint, I guess it makes perfect sense that a 2-year-old would prefer the taste of floor-flavored popcorn to nonfloor popcorn — they've got an immune system to build, after all — but that doesn't make it any less disappointing to witness.

I'd like to think that I've always been above eating popcorn off of the floor, but the truth is that just yesterday, I ate a corn chip I found on the seat of my office chair, and I am not 100 percent sure, or even 70 percent, that it had been deposited there recently.

So whatever, here we are, a week later and my daughter has mostly recovered, my wife has completely lost her voice (thank God for small miracles, HEY-OH, wink-wink, JK), and despite having circled the rim of disease like a Washington Generals free throw, I finally succumbed to full-blown malaise a couple days ago.

I am currently on a cocktail of cold medicine that includes some of that good Heisenberg stuff that requires your personal information, sexual history and preference of fabric softener to be entered into a database at the time of purchase. Worth it. I forgot how liberating cold medicine could be for existing outside of the time-space continuum.

Have you ever pondered the origins of the universe ... on cough syrup? I haven't either, but I did watch "Cosmos" on pseudoephedrine, which I think produces a similar effect. We're all connected, man. We're all the same cosmic dust. We are made of stars. And unspeakable toddler germs.

Am I the only one who thought Neil deGrasse Tyson was a brand of organic chicken breast until a couple weeks ago? I will admit that I am not as up to date on astrophysics as I should be. Or even at all. But this guy is pretty personable for being such a mega-level nerd, and I have a lot of respect for that. Science needs better spokespersons like NDT — it seems like all the best showmen gravitate to megachurch religion, where the money's at ...

Sorry, spaced out there for a minute. Another round of cold medicine kicking in ...

Where were we? Yeah, I don't remember, but here's a question:

Why is this episode of "Caillou" refusing to load on Netflix and trying to ruin my life? I never have any problems streaming video content on Netflix, unless it's an episode of "Caillou" that I desperately need to play so that I can finish writing a newspaper column without my kid going all Bamm-Bamm on my living quarters. I think I read somewhere once that at any given point before noon on a weekday, 85 percent of all broadband traffic is being used to stream episodes of "Caillou." This should constitute a national emergency.

My kid loves "Caillou," which is a shame because, in my opinion, Caillou is the worst possible role model any 2-year-old could have. Whiny, annoying, vindictive, an idiot about most common-sense things — he's a pretty accurate representation of toddlers worldwide, and that is exactly the problem. Little kids don't need to see themselves portrayed accurately in the media; they need something to strive toward, an ideal to live up to. Someone who goes to bed when their parents say so and always eats their vegetables.

That little bald Canadian freak show is the reason my daughter has begun to literally "Waaah!" when she fake-cries after I confiscate the pill bottles and serrated knives she wants to play with.

If you are curious what my writing process is like, or how it has changed since my daughter came into my life, let me draw you a mental picture: Imagine a jungle gym in its early 30s, guzzling a cup of coffee and trying to string words together on a laptop while a hyper-psychotic monkey swings from its structure and simultaneously tries to dismantle everything around it.

(In case you think I'm exaggerating, you should know that as I type these very words, my kid is deliberately sitting on my left arm whilst head-butting me in the deltoid. And that last month she tore the wood trim out of her doorway and used it to to play pinata with the chandelier in the living room.)

Anyway, writing this column on cold medicine has been fun, but I gotta bounce out and go stare at the wall above the TV while my eyes glaze over.

At first, I thought it was just the medicine, but it appears this episode of "Caillou" is legitimately about Caillou, his father and his grandfather spending a weekend in the woods to "get lucky and catch a glimpse of beaver." Ummm ...

Ryan Jackson is not home right now, but you can leave a message after the beep or reach him at

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