Do your kids ever leave you messages? Mine do, all the time. Like this morning, after I’d waved them off to school, and tromped back upstairs to make my bed. On the spot where I usually sleep was a disembodied plastic horse’s leg, from an old toy horse belonging to Miss 11 which she loves and plays with all the time. It was snapped off at the knee, and hanging out in my bed.
I did a comical double-take, thinking, “Did she accidentally leave this behind after some kind of weird ritual plastic horse leg amputation ceremony?” But no, the placement seemed too deliberate. Clearly it was a message of some kind. But what was Miss 11 trying to tell me?
She was at school, so I couldn’t ask her. Master Five was also at school, but I doubted he’d have any info anyway, as he’s only interested in playing with Miss 11’s intact toys, preferably when she is playing with them at the same time so he can pester her and pester her until she shrieks at him (his favourite activity at present). Miss Seven Months just looked at me, grinning, when I held up the horse’s leg with a questioning look. Clearly she’d been paid off.
All day long I pondered The Mystery of the Missing Horse’s Leg. Was it a veiled threat? Like, “Buy junk food for my lunch box or I’ll bash in your knees?” My knees *are* my weak point, which Miss 11 knows, as I use the vague excuse of “bad knees” to get out of carrying the laundry basket upstairs all the time.
After several hours of puzzlement, I had a troubling thought: Where was the rest of the horse? Was I going to find dismembered bits of plastic horse all over the house, in strategic places? I immediately went to the freezer to ensure that the ice cream hadn’t been tainted, because if there’s anything that will put me off ice cream, it would be a severed plastic horse body part. Fortunately it was safe. I also checked my hidden chocolate stash, which seemed untouched, so I had to taste-test several items to be certain. All fine.
By the time Miss 11 came home from school, I was bursting to know just what the heck she was trying to tell me. But I had to be casual because, you know, potentially she was upset with me and I didn’t want to risk finding the horse’s plastic head in my shower later.
“So, I found your horse’s leg on my side of the bed this morning,” I began.
She looked at me calmly. “Yeah, I left it there for you.”
“Ah, uh, okay. And, um… Why…?”
Her gaze turned to that peculiar brand of “Duh, Captain Obvious” that tweenagers are so good at. “Because it broke and I need you to glue it back on!”
Well, that sure made me feel like a real horse’s… Never mind.