Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Mouse Cake

You've had it happen, I'm sure, You are standing there at the greeting card rack, and it jumps out at you--that perfect card that seems tailor-made for someone you know.

It happened to me while I was nonchalantly perusing Valentine cards. I hadn't even planned on getting one for my daughter Cookie when something screamed, "GOOGIE--HERE I AM! YOU KNOW YOU HAVE TO BUY ME!"

And indeed I did. It didn't matter what was written on the inside; this time I felt entirely comfortable judging the card by its cover. No card in the world could have been more perfect for Cookie, a young mother of four children ranging from two to seven years old, than this one:

Looking at the kittens clamoring around this table, I don't need to try very hard to imagine the uproar that has just preceded Mama Cat's wise, calm advice to her litter to "calm down." With four children all in the egocentric stage of development (what Piaget calls "pre-operational), Cookie, I'm sure, didn't need to either.

With three older siblings, little Zoomie, the two-year-old, learned very early how to compete and make his voice heard. If "ME!" wasn't the first word he learned, it was darn close.

I will never forget the time, before Zoomie was talking much at all, when all the kids were having a snack at my kitchen counter with Zoomie close behind in his high chair. We were speculating about what it might be like if all the kids had their own cell phones and could play, to their hearts' content, the various games they have learned to love on mine.

"I'd  play 'Flow' on mine," said Bootsie.

"I'd play 'Guy.'" Pooh said, referring to the game "Temple Run" (in which a "guy" runs from wild winged monkeys).

"I'd text my aunt," said Sooby.

Then all of a sudden, our collective attention was called to the source of these emphatic words issuing forth from the high chair: "MEEEE  PHOOOONE!"

Not even two yet, Zoomie was making it clear to all of us that he, too, would be sharing in our technological dream scenario. Even today, when I ask the kids a question that begins "Who wants--," I can expect four little voices to simultaneously chorus "ME!"

Who wants to go outside?  Who wants peaches? Who wants to watch a movie? ME! ME! ME! ME! So you can see why Cookie's Valentine, as soon as it came off the press, was fated for this certain person in this particular place and time.

Mama Cat appears to have eight mice on her cake. Assuming the little Zoomie kitten is too short to be seen in the picture, that shakes out to two mice apiece. Good thing. Every little kitten should be happy with that.


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