Josephine has a toy we lovingly refer to as Mr. Octopus (see also: That Damn Octopus). He is a stuffed blue octopus that plays different songs when you squeeze his head. Every tentacle you squeeze he says the name of a different color, too. It even has different languages. We have the little jingles memorized and Zach and I both favor the same one – the longest one!
Duncan has a mild obsession with Mr. Octopus. He knows the rule: no touching Josie’s toy. But he wants to so, so badly. When we all sit on the floor to play, Duncan sits as close to it as he possibly can without having it in his actual mouth. Occasionally he’ll bop it with his nose to make the sound come out and then stare at it menacingly for the duration of the jingle. But he knows it is off-limits.
Duncan has always been very good about not touching things that are not his, with the exception of a piece of kitchen chair he snacked on in his first days with us. We no longer crate him, and we can leave any old thing laying around the apartment and he will not touch it while we’re gone. We’ve left the trash can full of old leftovers – delightful, I know – and been gone the whole day, and he does not disturb it. We’ve left the door to Josie’s room open by accident a few times with her stuffed toys on the floor from playing, and come home to them untouched. It’s amazing, really, and I do not understand why he chooses this area of his life to perfectly follow the rules, but I’ll take it.
The other night Zach and I were relaxing on the couch before bed, when from Josie’s dark room we heard:
We looked at each other.
A couple more seconds passed.
“YELLOW! YELLOW! YELL-YE-YELLOW!”
Zach called out to Duncan and he walked to the doorway and peered out at us, looking defensive. He stood there for a second and then went and laid down in his corner and that was the end of it.
The next day we were in our bedroom when we heard one of the Octo jingles start playing. Duncan hurriedly appeared and laid down at our feet, avoiding eye contact. Of course it was the longest jingle and he looked embarrassed until it finished playing. His willpower is wearing thin and I’m not sure how much time Mr. Octo has, but in the meantime I fully expect Duncan to know all his colors in both English and Spanish.
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