Chart Number 153 (Spurts)

January 9,2015

By Ekta R. Garg

Enjoy these Spurts from the last two weeks, readers!

The other day I picked Six up from school and we drove to Eight’s school to pick her up. On the way we chatted about Six’s day and what had happened in school.

“I didn’t like Where the Wild Things Are,” she said out of the blue.

My daughter likes to start her conversations mid-thought. I don’t know if other kids her age do this, but I’ve learned to roll with it. I just start asking questions really fast.

At the time, however, I wanted to know more about why she didn’t like the book. After all Maurice Sendak managed to include all the things that I thought Six liked: a mischievous protagonist, mysterious monsters, and a good meal at the end. I also love the illustrations, and I thought they might appeal to the imp in my younger child.

When I considered it, I realized those illustrations might have been the very thing that bothered her. She surprised me, though.

“Why?” I asked.

“Not to be mean, but the author didn’t make it exciting,” she said in a semi-apologetic tone. “Nothing really happens.”

Well then.  Poor Mr. Sendak is no longer around for Six to register her complaint with him. I just hope one day she can appreciate his whimsy. And then she’ll realize just why it’s important to remember where those Wild Things are.

***

Due to the extremely cold conditions here in Illinois, Eight only went to school one day this week. Six’s private school doesn’t offer a bus service, so it has stayed open because all of the students get driven by their parents. In Eight’s public school enough students either walk or ride the bus to school that the district felt compelled to cancel so everyone could wait out the cold temperatures.

This means Eight has had a few extra days at home, and she’s enjoyed a more relaxed schedule. Of course, a more relaxed schedule also means more time to do the homework packets she brought home on Tuesday, the only day she attended school. For some unknown reason her teacher assigned a couple of extra packets for this week; we spent a portion of Wednesday working through them.

Around 1 p.m., after spending most of the morning either knee-deep in homework or practicing her instruments, I told Eight she could break for lunch and she declared she would go make herself a PBJ.

“Are you sure?” I asked. “Do you need any help?”

“Nope,” she said with confidence. “Do you want me to make you one?”

I chuckled. “No, thanks. I think I’ll go for grilled cheese today.”

I let Eight fight with the peanut butter for a few minutes as she tried to get it to spread across the bread. Normally the peanut butter doesn’t really give me fits, but I think it must be a weather thing. The peanut butter seemed a little tight. We had the same problem with the honey the previous day. All in all it made spreading anything across bread more of a challenge.

“Do you need help?” I asked again.

“Yes,” she said.

“You need to be careful with the peanut butter,” I said, “otherwise it might get goopy on the sandwich.”

“Goopy?” Eight said, breaking into a laugh.

“What?” I asked, and I heard myself asking her the question not as her mother but as someone in a conversation between two people. It felt funny all of a sudden, because her laughter at the word just looked and sounded so grown up.

“Nothing,” she said, her eyes filling with tears behind the lenses of her glasses as she fought to control her laughter. “It’s just that word.”

“You’ve never heard goopy before?” I asked.

“I’ve heard it,” she said, “but it just sounded funny.”

We spent the rest of the afternoon entertaining one another with the word “goopy,” and we kept giggling about it. Eight’s grownup way of reacting to my usage of the word still makes me shake my head, both at her precociousness and her enjoyment of it.

I don’t know if I’m ready for precociousness yet. Worse…I think we’re almost past it.

***

It’s cold here. Really cold. Bone-crackingly, blood-chillingly cold.

You know there’s something a little weird when the weatherman says the temperature is going up to minus-2 and you get excited because that means it’s warming up outside.

I think Eight captured it perfectly on Wednesday when we went to her guitar lesson. After the lesson we got in the car and I could almost hear her teeth chatter.

“It’s so cold,” she said. “I feel like I’m breathing ice.”

Yes. That’s exactly how it feels. Like we’re breathing ice.

Did I mention it’s cold here?

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