Motherhood, again: the Dolphin

As I said, I can see that I’m getting better at this motherhood thing, 5 ½ years into it, but I still get tripped up. The latest comedy was down in Great Aunt Mary’s pool with her grandson (11) and a bunch of his friends from across the bay.

The deep end was full of big kids, noodles, floaties, yelling. I was in the shallow end supervising my little life-jacketed darlings. I watched their fascinated gaze upon children doing cannonballs, pencil dives, and playing Marco Polo. Visions of future mischief danced across their little faces. Then, one of them found a little plastic dolphin, about the size of a small squirt gun.

“Fish,” said the little one.

“Dolphin,” I supplied.

“Do-fin,” she repeated.

I took it. A fine toy, a realistic dolphin. I squeezed its belly. The valve in its mouth was cleverly made so that the usual squeak was replaced by a realistic dolphin noise. By varying the pressure and duration of the squeeze, you can make it seem to speak. A veritable Flipper.

I showed the girls how to do it. The loved it.

The noise was earsplitting.

They were delighted.

As we left, I asked the little one to give the dolphin back.

“Oh no, I gave it to her. She can have it,” says the mother of the 11-year-old.

“Really? Thank you.” SQUEAK. SQUEAK. SQUEAK. “That noise sure is loud.”


Maybe when I have an 11-year-old, I will be able to fob off the dolphin on the unsuspecting mother of young children with equal aplomb…