Teddy was injured in a freak accident yesterday. After an impressive flight across the room, he landed awkwardly in the dog’s water dish, which was empty of course because I’m the only person on the planet who cares about hydrating our dogs.
The Tyrant diagnosed Teddy with a broken leg. A compound fracture, in fact. She used masking tape, paper towels, a Swiffer pole, and a stool to create an elaborate hospital scene involving a cast, traction, and bedsheets.
Motivated by her own brilliance, she then created a supply of homemade Band-Aids – a square-inch piece of paper towel covered by a rectangular stretch of tape. She started selling them for “fake fifty cents” each. I bought two, but they didn’t work very well. You get what you pay for.
She solves her own problems, this girl. When she’s hungry, she eats – raw cookie dough, hummus, Doritos – whatever she can find. When she’s angry, she rages violently like a rabid dog. Then she throws herself on her bed and weeps before coming to me and saying, “I’m sowwy, Mom, for being bad. I think I’m just weally tired.”
It’s part of what makes her brother so terribly, achingly jealous of her, this ability to adapt. It’s like he walks around in the cloud of her fairy dust, but instead of letting it settle inside him, he coughs and sputters and chokes.
The Pterodactyl has his own set of superpowers. He’s sensitive and intuitive; he loves complex problems and tasks. But his hurts are enormous and visceral, and resistant to healing.
Yesterday, when he passed Teddy’s hospital scene, I watched envy color his demeanor and I prepared for conflict. “Don’t touch her stuff,” I said to him. “Don’t do it.” My words collided with his hands as he reached out to break the traction tape. He stopped himself.
His sister held out the tray of homemade bandages and offered him one for fifty fake cents. I willed him to take one. To take five. It will help you, I silently screamed. Borrow some of her magic! Accept this gift! I knew he wanted one.
“No,” he said, and walked away, devastated that he hadn’t thought of the whole thing first.