M. Giant's
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Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks


Saturday, March 07, 2009  

By request, another rerun. Yes, one of my three shows is now over, but I'm still tired. Plus I got a request! What else could I do?

Swiperphobia

The trouble with being a blogger with a kid is the almost unavoidable pitfall of becoming a daddyblogger. Let's face it, though: I don't want to write about my day job (not only becaue I don't want to get Dooced, but also because it would bore you to tears), most of my paltry interactions with modern pop culture are already documented in exhaustive detail elsewhere, the house is finished, and the cats don't do much but lie around. Pretty much the bulk of my bloggable experiences are interactions with the child.

But sometimes you have to stop and think and remember that one day, that child is going to be old enough to read some of this. He won't, but he'll be able to. And maybe someone will send him a link to a years-old entry that, when he's fourteen or fifteen, will utterly mortify him. And I'm not sure I want that responsibility.

That said, there's this kid I know. He's about two.

His first real nightmare was several months ago. He woke up late at night and cried, "Swiper took my cake." He didn't have any cake, and hadn't for a while, so the only explanation was that he'd had a bad dream.

Those of you with toddlers and TVs already know who Swiper is. For the rest of you, Swiper is a character on the animated series Dora the Explorer. While Dora and her sidekick, a semi-retarded monkey named Boots, go about their adventures, they're regularly plagued by a fox named Swiper. Can you guess what Swiper does? Good guess, unless you guessed that Swiper is a compulsive credit card shopper, in which case guess again.

But the truth is that Swiper is the worst thief in the world, and quite frequently fails to live up to his name. A couple of factors are responsible for this. One is that Swiper's approach in the vicinity is always heralded by "sneaky" theme music, which notifies Dora to announce, "Uh-oh! That sounds like Swiper the fox!" (Dora always yells everything). Plus Swiper pops into view a couple of times, giving us glimpses of his mischievous grin, gloves, and Dread-Pirate-Roberts mask, so Dora and Boots are sure to see him coming. Swiper's complete ignorance of the element of surprise gives Dora and Boots plenty of time to utter the phrase "Swiper, no swiping!" three times, which always succeeds in thwarting Swiper, leaving him to snap his fingers and groan, "Oh, maaaan" before scampering off. In other words, Danny Ocean he ain't.

But even the worst thief in the world occasionally manages to pull off a job. On rare occasions, Swiper is actually able to get close enough to make his move before Dora and Boots can get out more than a "Swiper, nooooo--". Wherupon he snatches an item from Dora and Boots -- her backpack, a fallen star, whatever. And then the worst part is, he doesn't even bother making off with it. He just throws it or hides it somewhere and smirks at them, "You'll never find your [backpack/little star/blowgun] now!" Then he cackles and runs away, no richer except for the satisfaction of having briefly inconvenienced someone else.

Because even in those rare instances where Swiper succeeds, Dora ad Boots quickly recover the item in question. Which is why a certain toddler's phobia is so puzzling to me.

Recently, in the bath, he was reaching around behind himself and discovered a part of his anatomy that he had not been previously familiar with. Or, if he was, he didn't have a word for it. He commented briefly on this new discovery, and in a short time had settled on some kind of fixation with relation to it and a certain cartoon fox. Now hardly a bath goes by without at least one utterance of the phrase:

"Swiper gonna take my hole."

As a parent, you naturally want to protect your child from everything. You even want to protect him from the fear of everything. That's not always possible, of course; on a practical level, you do want him to be afraid to do things that may result in an injury, such as climbing a precarious stack of power tools to retrieve a sharp knife from on top of the fridge so he can use it to fish his firecracker out of the toaster. But aside from that, you want to be able to promise him that nothing bad will ever happen to him. Unfortunately, you can't promise that he'll never be hurt, or that nothing will ever happen to someone he loves, or that a favorite toy won't ever get lost.

However, there are certain things that you can promise him will never happen. And one of those is that Swiper will never, ever ever take his hole. Being able to say that with confidence gives me a warm feeling inside.

Let's just count the levels at which the success of such a heist is unlikely in the extreme. To start with, Swiper is:

1) The worst thief in the world.
2) Fictional.
3) Animated.
4) Based in a tropical jungle, and not the upper Midwest.
5) Confined to a fairly narrow M.O., targeting only things he can easily grab.
6) Not typically armed with anything he could use to steal a hole, whether it be a sharp knife or some kind of plug.

And even if Swiper were somehow able to overcome these formidable obstacles in the course of attempting to perpetrate an act of anal larceny, getting past the kid's pants and diaper would afford his victim plenty of time to repeat "Swiper, no swiping!" the required three times. Any such attempt would certainly end in a disappointed "Oh, maaaan" instead of a smug, "You'll never find your poop-chute now!"

Yet this child continues to fear becoming a victim of rectal theft. My certainty that this will never happen is something I just can't seem to communicate to him. All I can do is help him be more prepared. No, I'm not talking about getting him an Ass-Club or something. Whenever he mentions his fear of getting butt-jacked, I just say "Swiper, no swiping!" with him a few times. Then he goes, "Oh, maaaan" and everything's all better.

I just hope his problems remain that easy to solve for a little longer. But I know that someday, he's going to be living in fear that somebody will find an embarrassing blog post written about him when he was two.

But then that won't be just his problem. It'll be his dad's, too. Whoever his dad might be.

posted by M. Giant 12:52 PM 7 comments

7 Comments:

Thank you for re-posting this, you certainly made my Saturday a bit more entertaining!

By Blogger stacey, at March 7, 2009 at 1:36 PM  

I missed this the first time around thank you!

It reminded me how much I loved Kevin Smith's take on Dora too:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WicOCdOUWQo

By Blogger Ezekiel, at March 8, 2009 at 1:18 PM  

a request, which is maybe just a question- how did Trash get her name?

By Blogger Mindyourownbus'ness, at March 9, 2009 at 2:09 AM  

I was just thinking of this post yesterday and wondering if I could find it again!

By Blogger Nancy, at March 9, 2009 at 5:49 AM  

"and her sidekick, a semi-retarded monkey named Boots" gets me every time. It makes me think a TWOP recap of Dora would be hilarious.

By Anonymous Lisa, at March 9, 2009 at 9:29 PM  

Another blogger I read has a 3 year old daughter who likes to run around naked and claim that Swiper stole her underwear, so maybe the kids know something we don't.

By Blogger velocibadgergirl, at March 10, 2009 at 3:57 PM  

This post makes me laugh so hard I cry. Thanks, dude.

By Blogger Stephanie, at March 22, 2009 at 10:47 PM  

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