Thursday, August 25, 2005


In one of my ongoing efforts toward advancing international relations and cultural interchange at the infantile level, and to satisfy my own curiosity on the matter, while babysitting the twins at our house yesterday I introduced them to This Little Piggy. I had never done this to twins, so had no idea what I was in for, but then grandfathers of twins are always in for more than they realize.

As the double dreadnoughts toddled madly around the living room in search of sharp and/or heavy objects with which to test vulnerable surroundings, I grabbed one of them (either Mitsuki or Miasa, I still don’t know which, if their mother isn’t there to verify my guess) put her into the big chair, legs sticking forward, and began the Little Piggy mantra, starting - as is conventional - with a big toe.

M or M had never experienced this before and was fascinated, wondering what I was up to. The other M drew near in the sudden absence of noise from her sister. The M in the chair looked questioningly from me to her feet and back again as I went though this strange adult ritual of mumbling in antique English while tweaking her individual toes. Then I got to the last little piggy, which as usual went “Wee! Wee! Wee!” all the way up her leg, over her ribs and home under her arm, to such delight that M at once pointed to her other foot, as the other M climbed into the chair to get her share.

I was now confronted with twenty demanding little piggies, and of course their owners were delighted each time, at the end of each piggy episode pointing to their feet to indicate “Again. Now.” But they know math, and they work as a team, so after a while (10 seconds being an hour in their terms) as soon as I'd start on one M's little piggies the other M would grow impatient, knowing that she had ten entire little piggies to wait through before her turn would come again, so tried to get my attention by waving her own ten little piggies before my eyes. Soon and for the first time in my life I was This Little Piggying with both hands, never knew I could do that, and quite well actually. Not to mention that a chairful of squirmy-squealy baby twins is a sight to behold.

But with twins you get four feet, so before long the M's decided bilaterally not to waste time, and pointedly indicated that I should just forget about the other time-wasting little piggies at the market or home with their roast beef or whatever and get right to the last little piggy where all the fun was, of which they could not get enough, that being of course the point of the whole enterprise.

So there I was, intercultural ambassador to the future of our world, kneeling in front of the big chair conforming traditions by tweaking only the four littlest toes as the last little piggy cried ‘wee wee wee all the way home’ seemed like 500 times until at last their mother returned and rescued me from the endless loop that cultural exchange can become when two-year-old twins are involved.

Last night, I believe I slept as well as they did.

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