Latest Spurts: YouTube audiences and a trillion requests

October 12, 2018

By Ekta R. Garg

Enjoy these Spurts from the last two weeks, readers!

Sometimes, once the giggles start, it’s hard to stop.

Last Wednesday Twelve and Ten got into the car after school, and I turned onto the street in the direction opposite from the house.

“So you have two hours of art today instead of one,” I reminded them as they settled in with their snacks and chocolate milk.

Both of them groaned.

“We have to make up for the art lesson you missed last week when [Ten] had her orthodontic checkup,” I said.

They grumbled a little but said nothing.

“And don’t forget, you have your dental cleaning tomorrow after school,” I went on.

“Tomorrow’s going to be the worst day ever,” Ten said. “An orthodontist checkup and a dentist checkup in the same week?”

“Well, they weren’t in the same week,” Twelve reasoned. “Your orthodontist appointment was last Wednesday, and the dental cleaning is tomorrow. On Thursday.”

Ten laughed. “Okay, so an orthodontist appointment and a dental appointment in the same month.”

“Uh, it’s not the same month either,” Twelve said, and I could hear the grin in her voice as she reminded her sister that October had just started. The previous week was September.

Ten caught the giggles, and she couldn’t stop.

“Fine,” she said when she caught her breath, “an orthodontist appointment and a dentist appointment in the same…two…weeks?”

“That works,” I said.

*****

The giggling didn’t stop after that, however, and actually led to Ten spouting off gibberish at one just for the sheer joy of being silly.

“Mommy, I just have no control over this child and what she does,” Twelve said, a frequent refrain of hers these days.

“It’s okay,” I responded in a faux consoling voice.

“Uh, okay, [Ten], pretend you have your own YouTube channel and make up music for that,” she said, jumping back into the fun. “In your mind,” she added.

Ten continued with the gibberish.

“Oh, look at that,” Twelve said in an announcer’s voice, “you’ve got a thousand views. Ten thousand views. Oh, now it’s a million views! But wait, now it’s going back down. You have ten views. Now you only have one subscriber left.”

“Yeah, and that one subscriber? It’s not me,” I said.

“It’s not me either,” Twelve said.

By that point the epidemic of giggles had subsided somewhat, but Ten was still so pleased with herself that she didn’t care about her diminishing YouTube audience.

*****

We’ve started getting to the point where the kids are asking for stuff and fighting for their right to get it.

“None of my pencils are working,” Twelve said one night just before going up to bed.

I had an idea what she meant but decided to play dumb.

“How can a pencil not work?” I said. “They’re pretty basic…”

“My mechanical pencils,” she said. “One of them is out of lead, and the other one is just kind of weird when I hold it.”

“Okay,” my husband said.

“Some of my friends have these really nice mechanical pencils with the gel—”

I held up my hand and flicked my thumb against my index finger—money—and she stopped talking.

“I know they’re expensive, but they would work so much better,” she said.

“I think, considering how many pencils we already have in the house, that you should use one of those,” I said. “Go the old-fashioned way. They don’t need lead, and all you have to do is sharpen them.”

“Yeah, but they hurt my hand, even with the grips,” she said, pouting a little.

“Oh, you poor thing,” my husband replied. He took her by the shoulders and turned her in the direction of the stairs. “Go to bed. It’ll help with your hand.”

“But the pencils!” she said over her shoulder in protest.

“We’re not spending money on new mechanical pencils when you have plenty of good ones already!”

She tried to push her luck again the next day, but in matters like these my husband and I share a parent brain. She’s tried to drop a hint or two since, but we aren’t picking them up. Doesn’t matter how nice the gel pencils are.

*****

Then it was Ten’s turn.

“Um, we’re going to be practicing the mile at school, and Mr. W. said we could bring a device,” she said one day in the car as we drove to an activity.

Again, I knew what she meant. Once again, I played dumb.

“A device? How is a device supposed to help you run the mile?” I asked.

“No, Mamma, it doesn’t help me run the mile,” she said. “It’s to listen to music.”

“And you can’t listen to…the music in your head?” I asked.

“No, come on! Please?”

“I don’t have a device for you to take to school,” I said. “And even if I did, I wouldn’t give it to you. You don’t need to take a device to listen to for five minutes.”

“It’s longer than five minutes,” she grumbled.

“Doesn’t matter how long it is,” I countered. “You don’t need a device for it.”

The grumbling continued, and I didn’t say anything. Sometimes, in these situations, it’s just better not to.

*****

Then came yet another request from Ten.

“Mommy, can you please order those books I’ve asked you about a trillion times?” she said last night after dinner.

“You haven’t asked me a trillion times,” I said with a smile. “You’ve only asked me 972,862,124,569 times. When you get to a trillion, then we’ll talk.”

She grinned. “Mommy, can you buy those books, please?”

I held up a finger. “That’s the first time I’ve heard ‘please’. You need at least a billion of those.”

“Mommy, can you buy those books, please? Mommy, can you buy those books, please? Mommy, can you buy those books, please?”

“You’re going to need a few more,” I said, still smiling.

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