Turtles (from the story vault)

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all kids

From July 1999

When I’m not trying to hide from the girls, I’ve been reading with them and laying around with them waiting out the latest round of fevers. We learn some good stuff this way. This week we learned that turtles can breathe through their butts! The gals laughed themselves to bits over that tidbit.

I’m having trouble getting over it myself. In what stage of evolution did that little skill pop up? One day, some old turtle was swimming along and said, “Ya know, I’m tired of this going-up-for-air drill! Whaddaya know! I can breathe through my butt! Hey fellas! Try this!”

We usually watch a lot more teevee when there’s a virus running things, but we had one day this week when it never went on at all. I noticed, but they didn’t seem to. I guess when they’re groaning, they’d rather hear themselves groan than watch “Cow and Chicken.” I think that’s a position I can stand behind, in any case.

Today, Sparky put herself to bed in her closet. Her closet is really nothing like a closet. It’s more of a nest with a lot of books and toys on the shelves. I put up a battery-powered light so that they could nestle in there and read, but the thrill only lasted a few days. Now it’s still loaded with sleeping bags, but they’ve also thrown an enormous collection of stuffed animals in there to enjoy the library without them. It’s the perfect place to get lost and pass out when you don’t feel like having company.

by thomashawk on flickr

by thomashawk on flickr

I don’t seem to be able to fool Bo for any length of time now. I tiptoe up the stairs or down the stairs, nip into the bathroom or whoosh out onto the deck while she’s occupied with other things, but her separation anxiety has achieved a half-life of instantaneous. She misses me as soon as I round the corner and comes stomping and paging.

I wouldn’t mind being with her all the time if she didn’t insist on being held constantly. I hold her for a while and then put her down and explain firmly that I need two hands for what I’m doing. She freezes and thinks it over. Tick tick tick.

More often than not she has a try at a tantrum.

She flings herself forward (or backward) and alternates shrieks and growls. It’s quite a performance. I’ve seen plenty of tantrums before, but hers are nearly impossible to ignore. I don’t want to laugh or give any sign that I actually notice what she’s doing, but my reflexes get the better of me when she really gets underway. I begin to wonder if she’s hurt herself and try to pick her up. Any attempt to interrupt her machinations makes her angrier and I always remember too late that I have once again broken the rules of disengagement.

She argues with herself if no one else will argue with her. If she can’t get satisfaction by telling herself “no” she’ll scold her toys until she gets it out of her system. Every question is met with “no” except if she’s in an exceptionally good mood, in which case, she’ll nod at an offer of food if she’s very, very hungry.

In the morning, I’ll bring her downstairs for a cup of juice. She begs for that cup until I make it appear, then she throws it at the sink, “No!”

I count to three and hand it to her again. She takes it and guzzles it down. She puts it firmly back in my hand.

“More juice?” I ask.

“No!” she replies.

I put the cup down and she screams and growls until she gets it back into my hand.

“More juice, please?” I prompt.

“Noooo!” She becomes increasingly impatient with my stubborn ignorance of her needs, gives me the cup again, more forcefully clamps my fingers around it and says, “Juice!”

I give in once she’s at least made something resembling a request.

“Do you want to go for a walk?”

“No! No walk!”

“Do you want to sit with me?”

“No! No me!”

“Do you want to play with the blocks?”

“No! No blogs!”

What she does want to do is sit on my chest and point at parts of my face. It’s the height of conversation for her: eyes, nose, mouf, teefs, shin, eyebwows, eeors, shieks, hayer. I don’t mind until she gets inevitably feisty about it and starts poking my eyes and pulling my hayer.

It’s a good thing that I have lots of hayer to spare.

Waddaya think?

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