Big enough. 

Following a conversation about how she is “big enough to be expected to share my attention” with other people:

Rooby: I have a very good question. 

Me: What is it?

Rooby: If I’m big now, why do I have to do whatever you say?

Me: Well, growing up is a process. So now you’re big enough to do some things but not yet big enough to do others. 

Rooby: Like cross the street by myself, or put out fires…

Me: Uh, right.

Rooby: Or go surfing. 

Two Original Bedtime Songs by Rooby

The Squirrel Named “Nutcracker”

Once there was a squirrel named “Nutcracker”
He loved to dance, and he was famous
He was
A very


The Squirrel Named “I Love Nuts”

Once there was a squirrel named “I Love Nuts”
He loved to collect nuts
He collected them all up in his tree
And kept them in the fridge for company


[Rooby, who has been allowed to have chicken noodle soup from a can for dinner, and to eat it in front of the tv, stops eating and tries to lie down on the couch with a blanket, leaving dinner mostly untouched. The list of foods she is willing to eat shrinks daily, and Campbell’s chicken noodle soup is one of the only reliable standards remaining, so I’m not willing to let this stand.]

Me, turning off the tv and relocating the food to the table: No, no, no. Since you’re not able to pay attention to eating dinner in the living room with the tv on, you can finish eating at the table and finish your show afterward if there’s time.

Rooby: But–

Me: NO. I don’t want to hear it. You asked for soup, I made you soup. You asked to eat in the living room, I let you eat in the living room. Clearly that was a BAD CHOICE. Eat your dinner.

Rooby: But–

Me: NO. EAT.

Rooby, tearing up: But I’m just trying to tell you that I have some pains in my leg and that’s making it hard for me to eat.

Me: Let’s see.

[Rooby pulls up her pants leg, revealing a pretty big bruise.]

Me: Oh, I see it. That’s a big bruise.

Rooby: It’s hard to eat because it hurts so much.

Me: I understand now. I’m sorry, Roobs, I wasn’t listening.

Rooby: It’s not your fault, it’s the pains’ fault.

Me: I love you.

Rooby: There’s just one problem.

Me: What’s that?

Rooby, still teary: Pains can’t say they’re sorry.


Rooby, binge-watching Octonauts while I copyedit nearby: [plies me with constant stream of information about the ocean, including but not limited to the habits of angler fish and Christmas tree worms, the physiology of lemon sharks and anemones, the rarity of golden coral, the risks of rockslides off “sea mounts,” and the difference between various oceanic ecosystems in terms of sunlight levels]

Me: Wow, you’re really learning a lot about the ocean from this show.

Rooby: Yup.

Me: I’m glad. You seem very interested in it.

Rooby: Yes. Too bad for you they don’t say much about books.


Rooby: If the car breaks when you are driving it, who should you call?

Me: You should probably call a tow truck. 

Rooby: And what would they do?

Me: They would tow the car to a mechanic, and hopefully the mechanic would fix it. 

Rooby: And then what?

Me: Then you would drive it home. 

Rooby: Or to a store. 

Me: Right. Or maybe to a restaurant, if you were hungry. 

Rooby: And if all of your teeth fell out, then who should you call?

Me: I guess in that case you should call the dentist. 

Rooby: No. You should call the Tooth Fairy. 

All grown up. 

Rooby: When will I be 8?

Me: Well, soon you’ll be 5, and then a year later 6, then 7, and then…

Rooby: 8!

Me: Right.

Rooby: And then 9, and then 10, and then 11, and then 12, and then 13, and then 14, and then 15! And then I’ll be all grown up. 

Me: And then what will you do?

Rooby: Well, you will die, and I will go to the animal shelter, and then I’ll get a kitty!


Cashier at campus market: Do you like these noodles?

Me: They’re my favorite. They are by far the best instant noodles I’ve ever had.

Cashier: Are they filling?

Me: Yes. And tasty.

Cashier: Let me ask you this: If you could have everything you love about these noodles, but in a shake, would you have that instead?

Me: … No. I would still prefer the noodles.

Cashier, with conciliatory gesture: Okay! It’s your world!