Walt is an unusually present father, and although most of the toddler care-giving responsibilities fall to Bert, Walt picks up a bit of the nurturing slack.
He dots at the baby’s runny nose and then stretches out on the floor next to her where they build towers out of alphabet blocks. His desire to nurture resides on a seesaw, and on the other end is his ability to be a restless tease. In an attempt at compromise, he makes a pal out of the baby.
It’s not that Bert doesn’t try her hand at nurturing, but there’s a missing piece from her childhood that leaves her more introspective than most and impatient with the people and tasks that pull her from her own terms. Which is not to be confused with antisocial—Bert has a game nature and a quick wit. Many nights and afternoons she goes to “club”, a gathering of women who are supposed to be playing Pinochle but mostly they gab while Bert’s baby crawls around under the table looking at legs.