Sunday, July 19, 2009


Pete: I wish I liked anything as much as my kids like bubbles.
Ben: That's sad.
Pete: Totally sad. Their smiling faces just point out your inability to enjoy anything.

Now that JB is very much into bubbles, (and I'm dabbling in generalized anxiety) I think of this line from Knocked up often. The scene made me laugh when we saw it 2 months before he was born (though as I recall, we cried a lot during this movie- more a comment on our collective emotional state than on the movie's ability to "move" us, but I digress...) The line about the bubbles has hung with me and I can't calculate how often I've mentally recited it because it's silly but it's also kind'a poignant.

In college, whenever a certain bunch of my good friends and I would see little kids running around, laughing, and having fun, we would mockingly chastise them from an inaudible distance, "Oh, you are riding high on life now, kid... but just wait until life starts riding you." Then we would use the quote on each other sarcastically when one of us fell on hard times.

Thing about both of these lines is they cheaply use the kids as props to try and hint at an unpopular truth. It gets harder and harder to experience joy, pure joy, the more you know and the longer you live.

Bubbles. Go ahead, wherever you are, go buy a plastic bottle of those bubbles and play with them. Help an almost-2 year old blow bubbles. I dare you to find the fun in it. We're talking about soap here, people. But in my experience, it is so annoyingly sticky and messy that from the minute I stick my finger in to bring up the "wand" I cannot wait to sink the tool and re-cap the container. Also, it's not that easy. Unless I'm buying a brand with defunct wands, the physics of bubble making are very precise. If you blow too hard, nothing. If you blow too soft, no bubbles. If you blow at the wrong angle, nada. If the wind is blowing, you-get-the-point...

For his part, JB
1) Wants to do it himself
2) Doesn't seem to be bothered by the bubble-juice spilling every where and/or dripping all over everything and his clothes
3) Can barely create any bubbles (as above, he either blows to hard, too soft, at the wrong angle, etc.)
4) Does not want any assistance...
5) Sometimes feels compelled to taste the bubble soap.

When 1 or 2 tiny bubbles -of his own making- float out of the wand, he shouts, "I DID IT!" perfectly thrilled with himself. If nothing is born of his efforts on the next 5, 10, or 50 attempts, he will say out loud to no one in particular, "Almost." It's adorable at first, but if it happens too many times in a row, I have the irresistible urge to grab the device out of his hands and CREATE SOME MOTHER-LOVING BUBBLES!!!

My kid loves bubbles.
It seems (much to my dismay) that I hate bubbles.
I am alarmed at the degree to which I am annoyed by something that brings him this much joy.
How long before I'm shaking a cane in a neighborhood kid's face screaming, "Don't let your messy ice cream cone drip on my sidewalk!"


Sarah said...

wow. i was quickly reading this and growing anxious with my recent bubble failure while we were on vaca. Ellis would hand me his bubble bottle, i would open it. and have the EXACT same thing happen as you describe here.

Michelle said...

Aw, man, don't hate on the bubbles!! Maybe you should get one of those big wands with the tray. Then it's more of a pour, dip, and wave action, rather than a drip and blow. This will also let you take more of a sit and watch role, rather than a fish and spill. If you work at it, i think you, yours, and bubbles can all live happily ever after.

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