The Mystery of "Dawber"

As every Ozzie-and-Harriet-type family does at the evening meal (which is lovingly and meticulously prepared by a lovely woman with perfectly styled hair and wearing high heels), we sit around the dinner table and share with each other what happened during our day. Often it’s the same old stuff every day, like, “We had to do math, again,” or “Brandon got into a fight with an albino today.” (No, really, that was actually said at our dinner table a few weeks ago. Don’t worry, the albino’s OK.)

And we always ask Matthew, even though at age two, he’s rather vocabulary-challenged. He always says the same things, “I played with friends. We went outside. I ate apples. I bumped my head.” Now, he doesn’t bump his head every day. He just says he does. He’s such a liar.

Anyway, last night, Matthew said something different. He said, “(Unrecognizable) dawber.” We can often translate from two-year-old into 21st century English, but this was a new one, and none of us could figure out what “dawber” was. We attempted to move on and ask about apples and friends, but he was insistent about “dawber.” I could tell he was frustrated. He desperately wanted us to know about “dawber.” But, alas, we had no idea what he was trying to say and just said, “Yes, Dawber!” every time he mentioned it.

This morning, when I dropped him off at daycare, his teacher said, “Did they tell you what happened yesterday?” Typically, when I hear this, I am filled with dread. I immediately imagine that Matthew has injured some person or property and subjected us to potential law suits that will eat up our already strained and fragile finances. Then we’ll all have to sign up for medical testing to make extra money.

The threat of medical experiments for the lot of us faded as the teacher continued: “Sesame Street Live is in town and we had a visit from one of the characters yesterday. We all went to the gym and danced around with Super Grover. Matthew was so scared of Grover that we had to bring him back to the classroom for him to settle down.”

Then Matthew said, “Where’s Dawber?” And it suddenly became clear that “Dawber” was “Grover.” He was trying to tell us about Grover and the trauma he experienced at daycare yesterday. I felt so bad. Poor Matthew. He really wanted to share a scary experience with us and we had no idea what he was talking about.

Thankfully, he’s only two and the chances of him remembering how unsupportive and clueless is parents were are slim. Maybe he’ll even forget the trauma of Grover. But I don’t know; I still have this fear of oompa-loompas from way back. Luckily, it’s not a crippling phobia since I don’t see oompa-loompas everyday. Maybe there’s hope.

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