Saturday, July 7, 2007

So when I got back from my talk yesterday early afternoon onechan had already constructed this whole narrative that involved her coming with me to oshigoto--specifically, my office at the 21st Century Program on the Ropponmatsu campus (where, to be fair, she's been several times)--and hanging out while I continued writing my last talk there.

"But you'll get bored and want to play," I warned her. "And I'll have to say 'no, I can't play, I'm writing.'" She assured me she wouldn't do anything of the sort. "You'll get thirsty and want me to go with you to the Pocari Sweat machine." No way, nohow, she insisted. "You'll get sleepy and cranky." Uh-uh, nope. "I'll just sit quietly, dad." Refusing to let optimism triumph over common sense, I told her I'd think about it and maybe later in the week, after I finished my talk, she could come with me to oshigoto. Then I ate a late lunch. Afterwards, she chided me, "Hurry up, daddy, your gakkoosee are waiting!" I interrupted her account of how much she likes playing with my students by reminding her that we had to run an errand with mommy to the vegetable stand to get some supplies for my vegetarian friend coming to dinner the next night. So that gave her something to think about and do for awhile. But on the walk to the stand, she told me, out of the blue, "I want to go to your office to see the little worm!"

I had no idea what she was talking about until the tsuma figured it out. That morning when I had been trying to download some scanned images from my memory stick to my laptop (which I've been using as a projector at these talks, thanks to JASF's equipment, that is), our virus protection software informed me the stick was infected and that it could sequester but not erase the worm (I mean, the tsuma read the Japanese messages to me in English). So onechan must have heard her--or heard me complaining that my office machine must also be infected--and leapt to the obvious conclusion. I gave up trying to explain what the "worm" really was almost as soon as I started, and fortunately, we stopped for dango soon after that, so onechan forgot about it (or at least dropped it). She and imoto even did me the favor of falling asleep after the veggie run, so I ended up writing at home anyway.

So anyone have any suggestions about how to explain to a 3-and-a-half year old what a "worm" is?

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