The witch fingers, some fifteen or so of them, are hollowed-out plastic toys that you wear on your own fingers when you want to do your best witch impersonation. Even Beenie, at just shy of eighteen months, knows to cackle when he wears them. Most of our witch fingers are green with red nails, and my most fashion-conscious witches prefer a matched set, as Beenie models here:
Of all the toys at Googie's house, the witch fingers seem to have cast a spell on all five grandkids. They love to wear them, fight over them, and chew on them, to the point where I worry some about the little ones ingesting too much paint. But the older kids have survived, so I am cautiously optimistic that the babies will too.
I wonder why it is that children are fascinated with witches? As a child myself, I was so enthralled with the witch in Hansel and Gretel that I imagined her living in my bedroom closet, and Oz's Wicked Witch of the West has long mesmerized Sooby. Pooh and Bootsie both love for me to read Little Boy Soup, a picture book about a little boy who must outsmart the Witch of the Woods in order to avoid being converted to soup stock. (Refer to my review of this great little story in my April 25, 2012 post with the same title.)
In fact, Pooh had witches on the brain during one of our recent breakfast conversations. He looked particularly thoughtful as he watched me stir the milk into his Fruit Loops.
"Googie?" he asked. "Why are your fingernails so long?" I didn't get the chance to answer before he continued with his musings, which, incidentally, indicate a pretty sophisticated thought process for a four-year-old. See if you agree:
"You know?" he said, narrowing his eyebrows to indicate he was thinking very hard about this. "If I didn't see you for a year . . . , and I forgot you . . . , and then I saw your fingernails again . . . . , then I might think you were a witch."
I was trying to follow this logic, decide if I had been insulted or not, and manufacture some sort of response, when the ever-practical Sooby piped up and saved the day. "They're perfect for scratching backs," she offered.
I smiled. The girl does like to have her back scratched. Earlier that morning, she had padded into my bedroom, crawled into bed beside me, wadded her nightgown up around her neck, and whispered, "My nightgown is ready." This, of course, meant that she was ready for the back-scratching to commence.
For the past couple months, I have been having one of my "good fingernail" episodes. That usually means (1) nothing is making me nervous enough to bite or tear them off right now and (2) they haven't started getting in my way yet. Good fingernail episodes happen more often now than when I was teaching school and living with teenagers. But, seriously, I am not really seeing a likeness between them and our witch fingers. Do you?
Nevertheless, the whole thing leaves me thinking about the hypothetical situations Pooh presented at breakfast. What if he didn't see me for a year? Well, as long as I can help it, that ain't gonna happen. What if he forgets me? Perish the thought! What if he mistakes me for a witch? I will have to hope against hope that any remote similarity starts and ends with the occasional good fingernail episode.
Daughter Cookie may disagree, but I like to think that any evil spells she thought I cast on her as a tween and teen are long broken. I am Googie now, and things have changed. Now I get to scratch little backs and have my fill of Little Boy Soup. Best of all, I get to share random morning musings over bowls of Fruit Loops.
Halloween is coming next month, and we witches will be in season. Let us disguise our ordinary hands with witch fingers, and let the serious cackling begin!