Katie can sing the theme song to "That 70s Show" word for word, which should have been a tell-tale sign that she's paying attention when that show comes on.
I like to stay in denial, though. Once I admit that the television is more than background noise, I'll have to begin the process of censoring what's on it, which basically means I have to miss all the good stuff.
Who would have thought that two children who are chasing each other around with laundry baskets on their heads even know that the television is on, let alone what's on it?
Then, Katie told me -- with a smile -- that she called her sister a "dumpass," her variation of a word that went out of style in 1979. I knew then and there that it no longer was safe to channel surf with impunity.
Hell, I'm no longer safe to do anything with impunity now. (Yeah, I'll be working on that, too).
Have you ever played hide and seek with a 4-year-old? It's a really tough game. You stay hidden for 19 minutes (while moving and pounding on the wall). When it's the 4-year-old's turn, you pretty much look in the exact same place you just hid.
They're little sponges -- and they don't just absorb the good stuff, either.
My children are at the age where they have two problems: They mimic every thing they see, and they don't have the social wherewithal to know whether what they're doing is appropriate for where they happen to be doing it.
Then again, Katie said "dumpass" quietly and shyly enough to indicate she knew there was something different about the word.
Children have this innate ability to know what not to do combined with a rare talent to pretend they don't.
It's like when Katie hits her sister, and when I yell "Katie!" she looks up with wide eyes and innocently says "what?"
Someday she'll learn it's a waste of a look. I'm no dumpass.
Christina M. Currie can be reached 824-7031, ext. 210 or firstname.lastname@example.org.