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8 year olds and the circle of life

I pick up Nora in the car with one of her best buddies in the back.baby_robins_5-11a

ME: Nora, Bunny, I know we were rushed this morning but I need to apologize. I was a cow. I was a total cow this morning.”

NODIN: Tell me about it! (agreeing with me)

NORA: You were? It’s my fault I forgot about my homework.

We stop off at Mikey’s to walk the dog and pick up some things. The sun is shining low and golden on Trout Lake park. Merchant and Ivory would approve. My old dog Tartuffe pulls on the leash to sniff a particularly knobby tree. He pees. With glee. And restraint. He has another ten trees to mark at least. The back legs don’t work so well, but damn he still has his bladder control.

Nora and Nodin amble behind me, each carrying a walking stick. They are speaking low and conspiratorially.

NORA: Well sometimes girls are shy, doesn’t mean they don’t have a crush on you.

NODIN: I guess. But she doesn’t understand the circle of life like you do.

NORA: Yeah. I totally understand the circle of life. You go to school, then high school, then college, then university, then you get married maybe but not if you don’t want to and then you have kids if you want to and you have a job.

NODIN: Yeah. (I am guessing he has just realized Nora doesn’t understand the circle of life according to him either)

NORA: Unless you are gay and live in Russia then you get killed instead of getting married or having kids. It’s not fair. It’s awful! Just because you love someone!

NODIN: I know.

NORA: Can you believe Russia?!

They continue to talk quieter with their hoodies bent low over their walking sticks, two monks. And I am straining to hear every word now. Six robins hop along the grass in perfect lines. It’s a worm relay. ¬†Nodin waves his stick and they all flutter up and away.

NORA: What animal are you in the Chinese calendar? I’m a rooster.

NODIN: I’m not sure. But I do know that my name means bald eagle.

NORA: Do the First Nations have their own calendar too?

NODIN: Hm…What does your name mean?

NORA: Eleanora means ray of sun.

NODIN: Yeah. I could have guessed that.

They pass me now to swing on the tire swing our neighbours set up.

NODIN: I grew two inches this month.

NORA: I grew three.

NODIN: Not many girls have a crush on me. They say I’m too serious.

NORA: Well that’s easy to fix. Just be chillaxin’.

NODIN:(yells loudly, his whole body rigid) I TRY! I TRY! I CAN’T SEEM TO DO IT!

And I try my hardest not to burst out laughing.

NORA: I think it’s good if they say you’re serious.

NODIN: No.

NORA: Sure. I think you could take it as a compliment.

NODIN: No. I can tell by her tone. It wasn’t a compliment.

They slide off the tire and head up the street to talk some more. We pass the slender ginger teen up the street who is sneaking a kiss from a handsome skater boy, maybe Vietnamese. And it strikes me…aside from the robins and the walking sticks, so much of the past half an hour would have never happened when I was a kid.

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