I usually write about hideous people on their birthdays. Although my daughter can be a real pain in the ass — demanding that I change her diapers, prepare her meals, and carry her around as if I were some kind of sedan chair — she’s only a year old as of 5:34 p.m., and I suppose she can only be expected to do so much for herself. I brought Audrey to my final class of the semester this afternoon in recognition of “Bring Your Daughter to Work Day.” Also, she contracted rotavirus from one of the disgusting goblins she hangs out with at daycare, so she’s suspended for the rest of the week. All this probably made for the lamest birthday ever. Whereas most parents would try to make their kid’s first birthday somewhat enjoyable, I made her listen to a lecture on US foreign policy since 1979. She returned the favor by farting about a half dozen times during the lecture.
Although I’m pretty familiar with the kinds of books and toys and foods Audrey prefers, there’s quite a bit I don’t know about my daughter after a full year. As near as I can tell, her political and social views are rather unformulated. I’ve apologized to her many times for helping bring her into the world during a Bush presidency, but I can’t tell if any of that matters to her. She did, however, emit a strange and almost joyful noise today when I was describing the results of the 1980 election. One of my students speculated that she might be a “future Republican,” and I explained that since she has a grossly uncomplicated view of the world and spends most of her time thinking about her own needs, she probably already is a Republican — but that once she acquires basic literacy, she’ll grow out of it. For the time being, though, her overt politics are limited to a hypnotic obsession with Elmo, who — as other parents have already learned — could probably turn the average toddler into the Manchurian Candidate with a mimimum of effort. I can’t understand what the little red bastard is saying half the time, but Audrey jotting it all down in that canteloupe-sized brain of hers, storing it away for the uncertain future. To be safe, I’ve removed all decks of cards from the house.
Well, happy birthday, Audrey. I’m keeping my eye on you.