“I’m a xenopus.”
Thea stopped, halfway through putting the dishes away and stared at her son. He’d been quietly playing with his tablet and his plastic dinosaurs for about an hour. She’d checked on him more than once because quiet children were concerning, obviously.
James was travelling for work, and when Seb went to bed she was going to spend the next four hours trying to untangle whatever the data move had done to her Cornucopia records. There were reasons she didn’t just want Alice to over-right them. Not the least of which being about two years of notes that existed on her documents but didn’t exist on the quasi-official ones Alice kept.
“You’re a what?”
“A xenopus,” Seb insisted, tugging on the makeshift cape he’d tied around his neck.
She blinked. “What is a xenopus?”
“Frogs are amphibians.”
“No, a special frog. The internet said they study them special. A xenopus.”
No one had prepared Thea for the fact that apparently sometimes life with a four-year-old lacked all forms of context. A certain level of that was normal, and she wasn’t sure they were still in the normal level, but definitely Seb’s life lacked context.
Generally, once she figured out what he was talking about, it made sense. Or as much sense as a four-year-old ever made. The kindergarten teacher had pointed out that Seb was a bright boy and sometimes that meant he made less sense than other children his age, because his brain was hanging on to different things than what an adult would expect. And she could keep asking him, but he got frustrated after a bit.
Thea grabbed her phone and typed in xenopus. A family of African clawed frogs used in the study of disease and genetics.
“Okay. How are you a xenopus?”
“You said you know how fast I grow and how I get sick.” He nodded at her, decisively, and ran off to play with his plastic dinosaurs.
Thea shook her head, and texted James. Apparently we’re raising a xenopus.
James: Sounds fun, my flight should be in at nine on Thursday.
Okay. Is it going well?
James: Fine. Give Seb a kiss for me.
She switched to Kay, who probably couldn’t check her messages right then, but it was worth a try. I’m raising a xenopus.
----------: Why does your child think he’s a clawed frog?
I don’t want to know why you know what that is, do I? Apaprently because I know how he grows and I know how he gets sick, he is a xenopus.
---------: Please thank him for his contribution to science. Also, invest in window cleaner. I suspect having a frog for a child will be messy. Is James back yet?
Not till Thursday.
--------: Are you in dire need of adult conversation? I can probably call tonight.
No stress. I’ve got piles to do, once the small frog-thing goes to sleep. Just thought you’d appreciate our latest foray into Life-Without-Context.
--------: I do. I’ll call tonight anyway. Kiss your frog for me.
You’re holding on to this one, aren’t you?
Almost through! Tomorrow is Y, for Yesterday.