Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The Cow Punchers

The Verbalist and the Muralist received stick horses at Christmastime. Not the stick horses of my youth, these were deluxe horses with a reins, a wheel on the base and genuine horse sounds. The horses spend good part of their lives tethered to the hitching post (read footboard) but then about once a week they are gotten out and are integral in huge, cooperative flights of fancy between the kids. Last week we had knights.

The Muralist, no shrinking violet, was not content to be the maiden languishing for a rescue - that was left to her dollies, of which there is no dearth. They armored up, the Muralist resplendant in a pink, floral helmet (which doubles as a sun hat, economy, her watchword). They tied belts around their waists and stuck in one side their samurai swords, in the other their cardboard and aluminum foil daggers. (These daggers also double as pirate cutlasses, the Verbalist is still trying to figure how he can work his horse into the pirate storyline.)

"There can be only one," say I in my best Connor MacLeod impression as the Verbalsit brandishes his plastic katana.

Two heads swivel towards me, "Huh?" they grunt.

"Nevermind," I wave them off.

"Save the Princesses! Past the dragon! Charge!" they yodel and gallop down the hall to the Muralist's room.

"What dragon?!" I said looking around for the Infant. She gurgles at me happily, nope no dragon here. Which leaves us with - the dog. Never fear, they were not going to actually battle their way past her.

"Here dragon, dragon," pipes the Muralist's less than dulcet tones. "Have a dragon snack." Duly bribed, the dragon ambles out to the living room, peanut butter sandwich on her breath. Her gold eyes are bright. Dragon dealt with, princesses saved, quest much shorter than originally planned, the knights are making post battle celebration plans.

"Tournament!" shouts Verbalist enthusiastically and he and his sister start whacking at each other their swords. It ranged all over; I was waiting for a candelabra to be pushed over a la Errol Flynn. Just as soon as it began it ceased - a draw. They galloped around for a while, giggling madly. Even the eternally vigilent mother has to use the bathroom sometimes; it was the opening they had been waiting for.

"1-2-3!" penetrated the tiled walls. The ominous sounds of whack, whack intensified as I hurried out. So help me, they were jousting. One had the broom, the other the mop and on three they ran and bashed each other. But that was last week.

This week they are cowboys, or as the Muralist says cowboygirls. Cowboys take very good care of their horses so they have been feeding them apples and marshmallows.

"Where," I asked foolishly, "are your cows. NOT your baby sister." I hastened to add, seeing the Verbalist's eyes cut her way. The dog was absent. That left - the cats. So they have been herding cats. Isn't it wonderful?

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