b Papa Dog's Blog: Down Came the Handle and Flushed the Spider Out

Papa Dog's Blog

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Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Down Came the Handle and Flushed the Spider Out

Unsurprisingly, Baby Dog made out like a little bandita in Edmonton, though of course she’s still (at least) one Christmas away from really appreciating the phenomenon of Getting Stuff. She’s gained a whole new menagerie of hand puppet rodentia – a beaver, a squirrel, a porcupine, and a chipmunk. She got all sorts of books and puzzles and toys and clothing items. Perhaps predictably, one of the more modest items has become her cherished favourite. Auntie Big Sister gave her (in addition to the rodents and other stuff) a little board book of “Itsy Bitsy Spider.” Baby Dog had very limited familiarity with this old standard, and when Auntie Big Sister showed her the traditional hand gestures that accompany the song, she was hooked. We’ve since had to add a Raffi version (unhappily titled “Eensy Weensy Spider”) to Baby Dog’s Greatest Hits on the Napster. It now rivals “I Know an Old Lady” for the number one with a bullet spot.

The little board book did sturdy duty on the long trek home from Edmonton and has become one of Baby Dog’s most requested books. I try not to prejudice Baby Dog with my own tastes in literature, but really. It’s got about twenty seconds worth of text* that really doesn’t amount to much if you don’t sing and make the creepy-crawly motions with your hands. It lacks the pathos of “Are You My Mother?,” the magical realism of “Good Night Moon,” the subversive wit of “Green Eggs and Ham,” or the koan-like repetition of “Does a Kangaroo Have a Mother, Too?,” but what’s a chap to do? The baby wants what the baby wants. She wants to hear “Itsy Bitsy Spider” twenty times a day, that’s what she gets.

It’s with great sadness, then, that I must report on the fate of the “Itsy Bitsy Spider” board book (and I hope this won’t chagrin Auntie Big Sister unduly). Last night we made the strategic error of letting Baby Dog read “Itsy Bitsy Spider” while she ate her supper. Ordinarily the only books we let her look at on the high chair are her bath books (“Otter Be Clean” and “Whale Tale,” “What a Pig” being reserved for actual bath use), since they’re made to be immersible and are easily cleaned. Well, this turned out to be a rather sloppy meal with food consumed not via spoon but via meaty little fists. By the time it was over, “Itsy Bitsy Spider” was an unseemly mess, smeared with avocado, greased with cheese residue, and stuccoed with tofu chunks. Baby Dog was even filthier than the book. When we were done cleaning her up and ready to release her to the living room, she inquired “Itsy bitsy spider?” “I don’t think so,” I said, distracting her with another book. After bath time, I hid itsy bitsy spider away in the bathroom so she wouldn’t see it and ask for it before it could be properly cleaned. That was error #2; out of sight was out of mind, and we forgot about the book for the rest of the night.

This morning as we were getting ready for the day, I heard Mama Dog in the bathroom exclaiming in dismay. She had been attempting to scrape tofu off the book when it slipped out of her hand. Not necessarily a dire turn of events, but she’d been scraping the tofu into the toilet, and that’s where the book landed. “So much for that one,” I observed.

I know better than to think the absence of “Itsy Bitsy Spider” will go unnoticed and unremarked upon. I’ve already ordered a replacement from Amazon. I only hope it arrives before Baby Dog starts to pine openly.
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*For those who don’t know the story: the spider (who is not only itsy but also bitsy) climbs up the water spout (in this version, the garden spout) and is washed out by the rain. Subsequently, the sun emerges and causes the rain to evaporate, whereupon the spider resumes its clearly futile ascent.

1 Comments:

Anonymous big sister said...

How ironic! The itsy bitsy spider finally suffers a tragic end in a very LARGE water spout.

4:22 AM  

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