Summer brings with it a fierce and lasting deafness to my clarion calls for order. My subjects, I discern, fancy themselves as fellow royals. The concerns of their dominions are too loud to hear me most of the time.
Boy two is responsible for chicks. Food and water are not overly interesting to him. Worms, on the other hand, are. And chicks, he believes, need worms. The girls love to play with the chicks while they’re new. Unbeknownst to me, Boy two forbid them from even seeing the chicks unless they paid admission. Morning admission: one worm. Evening admission: two.
Boy two said instead of explaining himself, we should come to Chicky, Chicky Worm Fest (invitation reminder via a sign on the bathroom door, later moved to the coop before our arrival). The girls agreed. Wearing a wig and a large brimmed hat, Boy two introduced himself as Raul. He held a worm until a chick got hold of it and ran. Mad races then ensued. Chick with worm ran determined to maintain the prize, anyone who saw the dangling worm ran to steal it, the rest of the chicks ran to see what all the running was about. Two chicks with worms meant even more chaos and the possibility of crashes. Raul proudly extolled the excellent exercise opportunities of worm racing, a clear but unspoken defense of his admission policy.
Boy one’s established kingdom is primarily focused on information. For free, he provides all kinds of facts necessary for our betterment. He also asks a lot of questions. The other day he asked me one I didn’t know the answer to and didn’t particularly feel like talking about it.
“I don’t know,” I said. Closing down his bid for further knowledge, I added, “as a wise man once say, when person not tell truth, it not worth asking the story.”
“Wow,” he said in awe. “That’s amazing. I mean, that’s really true. I never thought about it, but it’s true.”
The bequeathing of a minor earldom in my direction is absolutely one of the highlights of my summer. It may in fact turn out to be the last thing I ever say that impresses him. When I told him I’d made it up, he was speechless (briefly).
“I seriously thought it was Chinese or something. It was that good,” he said.
Girl one fights for the shape of her kingdom more quietly. (Girl two keeps us steadily informed on her behalf.) Girl one hates passing on clothes to her sister. We talk about it. We let the outgrown clothes sit around for awhile. Slowly, a few things at a time, we change them over to Girl two’s drawers. Often Girl one see them there and takes them back once or twice before it sticks. For her part, Girl two makes a point of mentioning how good the favorite previously owned items look on her whenever possible. There is a particular pink kilt beloved by both girls. Girl two wore it a few days ago. That night she told me she was giving it back to Girl one.
This had never happened before. “I thought you liked it,” I said.
“I do,” said Girl two, “but she told me if I ever wore it again she was going to put a witch’s curse on it so something bad would happen to me.”
Kingdoms come, kingdoms go. Summer marches on.