A charming tale of domestic delight: the mother is reassuring the daughter that the towel did not fade, even though the child had put it into the dishwasher. Do not give over to lamentations, child; mother is not mad.

Or so early interpretations believed. Subsequent scholarship suggests that the parents live in fear of the child, and are performing an elaborate routine to bend to her will. Father is desperate to learn if he has opened up the window exactly as she likes; mother, who at the moment is unnoticed by the tyrant child, awaits her moment of evaluation. The positioning of a not-entirely-similar item on the counter to the child’s left makes one think that the family must go through an endless series of propitiatory rituals, each with minor changes, to satisfy the child’s desire to control every aspect of the room, and hence the interpersonal dynamics of the family.