I think it is obvious that any older sibling would worry as much as Dave does for Toph. We know what has just happened to their family and certainly Dave does too. He is very aware of his feelings for his parents’ deaths and I think it is for that reason that he worries so much for Toph’s emotions. Perhaps the death of their parents has affected Dave so much and clearly had to deal with it because he was one of the older siblings and was there to help his mother and family however he could. Dave does not make his emotions obvious, but it is what he says about his relationship with Toph that allows us to know how he is actually feeling. He says many times that he and Beth want Toph to have as normal a life possible and that’s why he wants Toph involved in so many things. I guess that he thinks Toph is aware of how Dave and Beth feel about their situation and how much it actually takes to keep them together.
It must be difficult to have just had your parents die and then take on the role of a guardian. This is when I asked many times where there older brother Bill is. He does help them, but it seems that he is less involved. It would have made more sense for Bill the eldest brother which seems to have his life in place to take that responsibility because he could better handle it. Anyway, I think that Dave is definitely beginning to change in how he feels about being a parent/guardian. When he does leave Toph with the babysitter he cannot stop thinking of all the possible things that can be occurring at that very moment, but he still does not return home. He like any responsible parent always has his son/brother in his mind, but is still struggling like any guy his age who is still in the processes of maturing. Does he continue to enjoy his freedom as a twenty-something year old man or leave that to take the complete responsibility of a 10 year old boy? I don’t think it actually means either one or the other. I am definitely anticipating, not a complete resolution, but a progression to a more stable relationship however it may be labeled.