Theodore had long since developed the ability to tune out his surroundings. It was necessary to do the amount of work he had to do, because the world was full of distractions. Television especially he found very distracting, and of course having children meant the television was frequently on.
Certainly, Theodore could have worked in another room, but he wanted to be at least somewhat present for his boys. He didn’t want them growing up remembering that he was never there.
However, Theodore had discovered that despite his considerable ability to tune out background noise, children’s programming tended to override that, its bright colours and loud, repetitive sounds designed to keep the attention of small children, and therefore incidentally designed to steal the attention of adults. Theodore well understood why so many people he knew complained about their children’s favourite things; it wasn’t that they were horrible in and of themselves, but children tended to fixate.
And so Theodore was grateful for the Bubble Guppies, who, as Daniel’s current fixation, were considerably less odious than most of the alternatives. They were currently singing the outside song, to which Daniel was singing along with a great deal of bubbles of his own, clapping.
Idly, Theodore wiped some of the bubbles off Daniel’s chin before flipping the page of his report. It wasn’t looking good for this deal; Theodore had been excited by the prospect of buying this automotive parts manufacturer, but the more he read about their operations, the more it seemed like they’d been lying to him about their willingness to transition away from fossil fuel-based engines in the next five years.
Daniel’s clapping got more excited as the outside play portion of the show progressed. “Dimsaur!” he said, bouncing in place. “Daddy, dimsaurs!”
Theodore looked up at the television saw that the children were pretending to be dinosaurs. “Yes, you’re right, Daniel, they’re dinosaurs. They’re very fearsome, aren’t they?”
“Uh-uh,” Daniel said, shaking his head. “Dimsaurs scary! Rarrr!”
Theodore smiled as Daniel made claws at him, and he kissed Daniel’s head. “You’re very scary,” Theodore promised.
Daniel hopped up. “Gonna eat you!” he declared, bouncing on the couch.
However, he quickly became enraptured by the television again, and forgot about his cannibalistic desires as the Bubble Guppies continued playing. Theodore put an arm around him so he wouldn’t fall, and after a moment he sat back down, watching.
Another song began, and Daniel started clapping again, and Theodore kept his free arm around Daniel. Perhaps he wasn’t entirely mentally present as he thought through the trials of trying to reform a company this embedded in its ways, but half of Daniel was under the sea anyway, so Theodore wasn’t too worried about it.
They’d both look back and remember that they were half-present together. Them and the dinosaurs.