February 15, 2019
By Ekta R. Garg
Enjoy these Spurts from the last few weeks, readers!
Last week as we drove to the kids’ art lesson, Ten started describing a book she’s reading at school in which a character experiences a strange phenomenon: the person hears something and sees colors.
“What is that called?” she says. “It starts with an ‘a’.”
“Synesthesia?” Twelve said after thinking about it a moment.
“Yeah, that’s it,” Ten said. She laughed. “I almost said anesthesia.”
“Um, no, that’s not it,” Twelve said. “That ends with an ‘a’.”
The girls and I shared a giggle.
“Oh, wait,” I said in the middle of our laughter, “we’ve solved the mystery! Now we know what Sleeping Beauty was suffering from!”
“Breaking news!” Ten said. “Sleeping Beauty suffered from long-term anesthesia!”
We arrived at art a little early, so we sat in the car outside the art teacher’s studio chatting. Doing this also gives the kids a chance to finish their after-school snacks. Sometimes we read aloud. Occasionally the silliness continues.
When Twelve finished her snack, I glanced at the clock and turned back toward the kids.
“All right, time to head out,” I said. Then I saw Twelve’s face.
“You’ve got crumbs in the corner of your mouth,” I told her.
She paused for a moment to lick the crumbs off. Then she looked at me, tilted her head in mock condescension, and did her best Valley Girl voice.
“Um, it’s a look,” she said. She even added a prissy scoff. A minute later my tween grinned at me, and I had to laugh back.
Yeah, crumbs on the face; sure, that’s a look.
This week the middle school is holding its spring dance (I know, it’s a little early to be labeling an event “spring,” but maybe it’s in a bid to be optimistic.) In Twelve and Ten’s school, the eighth graders plan the event—they pick the theme and put together the playlist for the evening. They also decide on the snacks and facilitate the entire dance from start to finish.
At the beginning of last week, the theme of the dance hadn’t been revealed yet so Twelve and Ten came up with their own ideas. They bandied about a few themes. Then Ten piped up with her favorite.
“They should make the theme anti-gravity!” Ten said.
A long pause filled the car.
“How would you even do an anti-gravity theme?” I asked.
“Cannons,” Twelve replied, quick on the uptake.
“You shoot people out of cannons and hope for the best,” she said. “Each of them gets one suction cup, so they just make the most of it when we shoot them against the wall.”
“That’s…technically, that’s not anti-gravity.”
“It’s as close as we can get on Earth,” the girls reassured me.
I’m still trying to figure that one out.
Our current read-aloud book is the fifth volume in the Land of Stories series by Chris Colfer. Yesterday as we drove home, Twelve read a scene in which twins Alex and Connor argue. The sister and brother find themselves tied up back to back on a pirate ship, and Alex blames Connor for their predicament. At the end of their bickering, according to the narrative, each twin tries to pretend that the other isn’t there by giving one another the silent treatment.
“What, really?” Twelve asked, interrupting herself. “They’re, like, 15.”
She started reading again, but this time I interrupted her.
“When you’re 15, and you’re not speaking to your sister over something silly, I’ll remind you of this moment,” she said.
“Well, by that time I would have released her back into the wild anyway,” Twelve quipped.
I guess that’s one way of solving a problem.
The school administrators and kindergarten through fifth grade students are getting ready for their big musical production a couple of months from now. Ten isn’t overly thrilled with the idea of a show in general. While she enjoys being part of a group, she doesn’t necessarily enjoy performing.
Also, the fact that there’s a new music teacher this year and that Ten misses her old music teacher has a lot to do with this.
Last night as we talked at dinner, she described the progress of the show.
“We’re doing these songs from a show by, um, Gilbert and…”
She paused for a moment to think of the other name, which I already knew.
“Sullivan,” I said. “Of course.”
“Gilbert and Sullivan?” she repeated. “That’s right. No one’s ever heard of them.”
“I’ve heard of them,” I said.
“You have? How?”
“Because they’re Gilbert and Sullivan,” I said, a little mystified as to how to explain myself further.
“Well, no one else besides you has heard of them,” she said.
“No, I’m sure the other parents have heard of them,” I replied with a smile.
“Oh, so we’re doing oldies music,” Ten said with a hint of resignation.
“It’s not oldies music!” I said, mildly indignant. “We just celebrated my birthday. I’m forty, not a hundred and forty.”
She shrugged and went back to her dinner plate, nonplussed about her indirect comment on my age.
This morning, of course, I had to check, so I Googled Gilbert and Sullivan and the time when their collaboration was at its peak. Wouldn’t you know it, had I been 140, I would have fallen smack in the middle of the years of their partnership. I wonder what that says about the fact that I’ve heard them. :>