The One Hundred-and-Twentieth Chart (Spurts)

March 7, 2014

By Ekta R. Garg

Enjoy these Spurts from the last two weeks, readers!

One day as I approached the stairs getting ready to go down, I overheard the following conversation between Seven and Five.  I have no idea what they were doing, but I had to stifle a giggle by the end:

Seven: “Can you scoot forward, please?”

Five: “No.”

Seven: “Please?!”

Five: “No.”

Seven: “If you don’t know, I’ll never show you this.  Never ever.  For the rest of my life.”

Five: “Then I’ll hit you with a crayon.  In your eye.”

(At this point I wondered whether I needed to intervene, but I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt for a few minutes before jumping in.)

Seven: “You can’t do that.  You know who I’ll go tell.”

Five (with resignation): “I know.”

Seven: “The big bad dog.  You know who the big bad dog is, right?”

Five: “Yes, I know the big bad dog.”

Seven: “The only boy in the house right now.  Daddy.  But I call him the big bad dog.”

After a few moments, both of them started giggling.  And I went downstairs with a smile.


During their swimming lesson on Wednesday evening, Five scraped her leg on the wall of the pool.  It wasn’t a deep scrape, but it did cause her a little discomfort.  So yesterday morning as I helped her take a shower, she asked me to be careful as I ran soap down her legs.  Suddenly she got an impish grin on her face.

“My scrape is going to explode in five seconds!  One, two—no, wait!  Five, four, three, two, one…one and a quarter.”

She paused, clearly not sure where to go next.  After a moment she got some traction again.

“One and a half.  One and a dime.  One and a penny.”

She stopped again to consider her words.

“Mrs. C. really needs to start teaching us about dollars now and not just pennies and dimes and quarters,” she said.

Dollars, and fractions too.


Because March 2 would have been Dr. Seuss’ 110th birthday, schools and libraries across the country celebrated his life and his work in some way this week.  Five’s class decided to do a “Wacky Wednesday” this week where the kids had to dress up as wacky as they could imagine.

Five decided to wear her top backwards, and then I tied (clean) shoelaces in her hair as hair ribbons.  I took another pair of shoelaces and tied one around each leg.  Our final touch came when she wore a tennis shoe on one foot and a boot on the other.

After the kids finished breakfast we began our race to get ready for school.  I trotted from the kitchen to the foyer to help Five with her shoes—she still doesn’t know how to tie her laces—but before I got there, I saw Five sitting on the stairs and Seven tying the lace of the lone shoe Five would wear that day.

“And I want to hear all about Wacky Wednesday when you get home, okay?” Seven said to Five, obviously continuing a conversation she and her sister were having.  She finished tying the shoe and gave it a little pat.

I smiled as I jogged up the stairs to change my clothes to leave the house.  I love watching Seven channel her older sister/maternal instincts.


Seven and Five have taken music lessons for several weeks now.  They really enjoy the lessons but, like most kids (and the parents of those kids—including us,) the girls don’t really relish the idea of practicing.  They do it because they know it’s beneficial; when they go to their lessons each week, their teachers praise their progress.  The kids like that kind of payback, but it’s a challenge sometimes to endure it.

For weeks Seven in particular has moaned and complained about practicing.  Her fingers hurt, she would say, or she couldn’t remember what her teacher had taught her in class.  Another day she would argue that he only instructed her to practice one thing over the other.  She didn’t have to practice the other things she learned because he didn’t say so.

Through it all her father and I have encouraged, scolded, lectured, chided, and just forced her to practice.  Earlier this week she got some feedback that gave her lessons purchase: she learned her first song.  Granted it was a halting version of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”—we’re nowhere near “Flight of the Bumblebee” yet—but Seven relished the opportunity to perform the song for us when she came home.  She beamed as she brought the violin to her chin and gently pulled her bow across the strings.

While she reveled in her success that evening, she didn’t hesitate to share some of the positive vibes with her sister.  I complimented Seven on how she played, and Five (ever a mite insecure about her own abilities) asked why no one had complimented her.

“You do an awesome job on the guitar,” Seven said automatically.  “I don’t think I could figure out all those frets and strings.”

Once again Seven’s big-sister disposition helped ease the situation, and when I looked in the rearview mirror I saw Five grinning.  Hopefully Seven’s small measure of success will continue to bolster both of them when it comes time to practice again.

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