Where Sponges Come From

So, Tigue is kind of a Tay replica, if I haven’t mentioned that before, and she is known to take on a pretty maternal tone when she is instructing her twin brother Rook in weightier matters of the world.  The other day I was fortunate to be a silent witness to one of those moments.

We have a natural scrubbing sponge we use in the shower; one of those that actually did come from the ocean floor.  On this sponge is attached a string with a little suction cup that allows us to hang it on the wall of our shower.
Well, Rook was letting Tigue know that Mom had purchased a new sponge, to which Tigue corrected him that this sponge did not come from a store but rather from the ocean, this mistake on Rook’s part giving her a window of opportunity to enlighten him on yet another subject about which she clearly knew much more than he.  Remember, we’re talking pre-kindergarteners here.
“Rook”, she began, “Sponges are alive and they live on the bottom of the ocean.  In some places people swim down there and cut pieces off and bring them to the top”.  “Are they alive?” Rook asked.  “Yes, they are,” Tigue responds, “but when they bring them to the top of the water they put them out to dry and that kills them”.  “Oh,” Rook responds, perfectly willing to either accept what she states as truth, or in some instances I can absolutely see that he is simply accommodating her need to be in ‘instructing’ mode.  He’s learned that arguing is futile, and honestly he’s the type of kid that really doesn’t care; as I recall he was actually building an airplane out of Legos at the time and was carrying on the conversation almost half-consciously, though wisely indulging her need to have a teaching moment.
Recognizing that he may be losing interest, Tigue thought she’d better get on with the additional facts before she completely lost him.  “Rook, did you even know that they stuck to the bottom of the ocean?”  Rook, showing great aptitude at feigning interest, skillfully responded without even looking up from his Legos, “No, I don’t even know how they could stick down there.”
Now, as a quick aside, notice the skill with which Rook feeds Tigue’s hunger to be up on a soap box. I’m not saying all men do this, and for all the wives reading, I’m sure your husband is the exception – along with me, of course, but I have seen at times that SOME husbands aren’t always actually listening but are nonetheless surprisingly adept at SEEMING to listen by inserting socially appropriate comments at appropriate times almost without any consciousness of the subject matter at all.  I’m just sayin’, if this is a skill Rook will need at some point (without a doubt he’ll need it in high school), he’s got a huge leg up on the rest of the suitors out there.  He can build a robot, draw a picture, and paint a rock, all while managing to keep her convinced that she has an attentive pupil. Back to our story.
So, with Rook’s comment astutely offering her the chance to continue her lesson, she began again to orate, but in that moment i could see on her face that she too did not really understand how the sponge might stick down there.  Heaven forbid, however, that the teacher admit ignorance in front of her pupil.  In a diving catch of a response she looked at the sponge, and pointed to the string and the suction cup, “Rook, that’s what this piece is for – that’s how it sticks to the bottom”.  “Oh, that’s pretty cool”.
Rook did his part, Tigue was completely satisfied with herself, and the delicate balance of the unspoken but critical peace treaty between these two remained perfectly intact.
You know, some days I wouldn’t wish twins on my enemies – certainly not two sets back-to-back, but what a riot it is to be around to watch the dynamics.  This is one conversation of hundreds they have each day, each as interesting as the last, all of them hovering somewhere between facts, rational assumptions, and complete conjecture.  It’s easy to forget how hysterical their chatting is because it literally never stops, but what a blast it is being a part of it.


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