“HOW MANY TOES DOES A FISH HAVE? AND HOW MANY WINGS ON A COW?”
- Helen Lester
We had a bit of drama on election day. My small neighbour, C., accidentally locked herself and her little sister, S., in the house while their mother was readying the stroller for their walk to the school to vote. C. is big enough to push the door closed, but not big enough to unlock it, so there they were, two wee girlies on one side of the glass door and their mummy on the other.
At first it was rather jolly – Little S. is of the smiling, waving, pattycake variety of child, all chub and giggles, so while Daddy was breaking the sound barrier racing home from work with his house key, we were able to keep S. entertained for a few minutes. But then C. took stock of the situation and began to sob. I rushed home and grabbed a few children’s books off the shelf, and blew the dust off them – it’s been a while since the Resident Teenager has looked at them - before attempting to keep the little girls interested in pictures of Tacky the Penguin and Fluffy the Porcupine. C. was quite keen at first, but meltdown quickly ensued. The tears became howls, and little S. joined in and pressed her chubby cheeks and starfish hands against the door in her efforts to get to her mummy, and soon there were snot bubbles etc. all over the glass. Ew.
Daddy arrived in the nick of time, and everyone cheered up and cleaned up. So we all went over to the school and voted, and then C. offered me some of her snack: “kretzels.” I had to decline as they were not, alas, gluten-free kretzels.
I went home and had a little mopping-up of my own, I was that undone by the drama (must be that writerly putting-oneself-in-others’-shoes thing). But now all is well. I’m going to lend C. our copies of Tacky the Penguin and A Porcupine Named Fluffy, two must-have children’s books I think everyone can learn from and enjoy. You never know when you’ll need them.