Chart Number 221

July 8, 2016

By Ekta R. Garg

Enjoy these Spurts from the last two weeks, readers!

Our new home sits in a development that is still being built. Owing to that and the fact that we’re in Central Illinois, cornfields are a stone’s throw away from the house. We’ve seen the cornfields many times in the last three years that we’ve lived here, of course, but our old house here was part of a more established community. It was surrounded by other houses and tall trees. The new house lets us see farther around us.

With Independence Day comes several days of fireworks, and the wide expanses of cornfields allow us to see the fireworks from our driveway. One night last week as we watched them, Seven looked up at the sky with a grin.

“The fireworks are mesmerizing!” she declared.

My husband, always one to get a kick out of the expanded vocabulary our children use, turned to her.

“Mesmer-who?” he asked, feigning ignorance of the word.

“Mesmerizing,” she repeated. “It means amazingly awesome.”

“So why can’t you just say ‘amazingly awesome’?” her father asked, tickling her. “Why do you have to use such big words?”

She giggled and darted away from him.

This past Monday we attended a Fourth of July barbecue, and the friends hosting the dinner had bought a lot of fireworks to share. After the dinner the kids got to play with sparklers, and everyone watched as our hosts set off some of the larger fireworks.

In the car on the way home, for Seven’s benefit, my husband said, “I was mesmerized by the fireworks there.”

Although I didn’t turn around to see it, I’m sure the comment got an eye roll.

*****

Speaking of using big words, it seems like this year Seven’s vocabulary has increased at a much faster rate.

On Tuesday she said that at the Fourth of July barbecue, she and several of the other kids saw a crane flying overhead while they played in the yard.

“I know it was a crane because I saw the silhouette,” she said.

“What do you mean by silhouette?” I asked.

She looked at me, a touch surprised, as if she thought I would know what the word meant.

“It was completely black overhead, and I saw the outline of it,” she replied.

Oh. That silhouette.

*****

They say that children are influenced by their parents. That includes the profession of the parents. Translation: The following is an example of the fallout from living with a cardiologist in the house.

During lunch one day this week, Ten began reading the back of a box of Triscuits. She discovered that the box makes the claim that Triscuits can fight heart disease.

“That’s good to know,” Seven replied. “I’m having Triscuits later!”

I was standing at the stove making a grilled cheese sandwich and had my back to the kids.

“Do you worry about heart disease?” I ask Seven, amused.

“Sometimes,” she responds.

“Really? Why?”

“I dunno.”

“Do you know what heart disease is?”

“Heart attacks,” she said succinctly.

There you go. All you need to know about heart disease. And how to prevent it. (Hint: Triscuits.)

*****

We have a dear family friend who is my honorary grandmother and Ten and Seven’s honorary great grandmother. She always sends the kids gifts on Christmas and their birthdays, and she’ll also often send them packages for Easter.

This year, due to some health issues, she was late sending something to Ten for her birthday in June. Instead of a box, this week a birthday card showed up in the mail along with a twenty-dollar bill.

“I was thinking of getting something for [Seven] with the money,” Ten announced one day when her sister was in the bathroom. “I just don’t know how to do it because she’s always with me!”

“I can help,” I said. “When you guys are at camp, I can go get it for you. What do you think you want to get her?”

“Well, she doesn’t have a Beanie Boo,” Ten mused, “and she said she wanted one.”

I gently vetoed the idea and suggested she ask Seven for ideas. Not only does my younger child already have way too many stuffed animals, she also doesn’t need a stuffed animal with eyes bugging out of its face like a cartoon. Maybe it’s more me than the kids, but Beanie Boos are a little unnerving.

“If I ask her what she wants, won’t that ruin the surprise?” Ten asked, slightly miffed with the suggestion.

“But at least you’ll be able to get her something she really likes,” I said.

She conceded the point and asked Seven what she wanted for a birthday present. Seven chirped back with “a big empty pad of paper!” Ten told me about the short wish list before going to bed Wednesday night, so when I went for a quick grocery run yesterday I opted for one better than just a pad of paper. I bought a travel-size sketch pad and two packets of color pencils, one that creates water colors and the other that creates pastels.

Yesterday Seven had a makeup cello lesson since her teacher was out for their regular lesson earlier in the week, and I tasked Ten with wrapping the pencils and the sketch pad while Seven and I were out. Ten took care of getting her sister’s present ready, and then she went to her own birthday card still sitting on a side counter close to the kitchen.

“If you bought that stuff, why is the twenty dollars still in the card?” she asked.

I smiled and gave her a hug. “Because I thought it was really sweet of you that you wanted to use your birthday money for your sister. So why don’t you just hang on to it, and you can get something for yourself sometime?”

She smiled at me.

“You’re a good big sister,” I added.

“I know,” she responded right away and skipped off.

There. Glad we figured that out. And that she has no doubts in her abilities as an elder sibling.

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