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Squidge Ler

Squidge Ler

Ratings: (0)|Views: 9|Likes:
Published by Karen Maurer
Andrew's entry into middle school is marred by the sudden girl-ification of his former best friend, the accidental making of a dangerous enemy, and his youngest brother's lack of language. His large family may be growing larger and his parents are, if not fighting, at least growling at each other more lately.
This is a first draft and desperately in need of feedback. Ignore misspellings and poor grammar. I promise to fix them later. I need to decide which of Andrew's problems should take precedence and whether or not his youngest brother should display unusual talents. Also, is Andrew too nice for an 11 year old boy?
Andrew's entry into middle school is marred by the sudden girl-ification of his former best friend, the accidental making of a dangerous enemy, and his youngest brother's lack of language. His large family may be growing larger and his parents are, if not fighting, at least growling at each other more lately.
This is a first draft and desperately in need of feedback. Ignore misspellings and poor grammar. I promise to fix them later. I need to decide which of Andrew's problems should take precedence and whether or not his youngest brother should display unusual talents. Also, is Andrew too nice for an 11 year old boy?

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Published by: Karen Maurer on May 19, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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09/28/2013

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“OO sidgels!” My brother points his short, chubby, dirty finger at me. “I
etter 
sidgels.”“Mom,” I say, “I don
ʼ
t understand him. Honestly, I don
ʼ
t. What did he just say?”My mother pulls David
ʼ
s t-shirt over his head and then grabs a baby wipe and rubs itover his face.“Mmfftt,” David says. She grabs his hands to wipe them and he looks at me under herarmpit.“Sidgeler. OO a sidgeler.” He shouts.I shake my head. “Is that English?” I ask. It
ʼ
s a rhetorical question because I don
ʼ
texpect an answer. “Because I am sure if I look it up, that word is not in any Englishdictionary.”“He said,” my mother sighs and she struggles to keep David still enough to pull hispants up over his training underwear. Yeah, he
ʼ
s three but he still wears trainingunderwear.“He said,” she repeats, “that you are a squidgeler.”I give her a look of disbelief. “Right! and what is a squidgeler?”I have a problem. It started when David began to put his baby words together insentences. I. Don
ʼ
t. Understand. Him. And apparently, I am the ONLY person in theentire universe - or in my family which is large enough - who doesn
ʼ
t.Emma who is 13, carries on long, delightful conversations with David when she giveshim his bath.Dana, who is 9 knows exactly what David means.Ralph who is 7, has been my translator for the past year. But today Ralph is on his firstever sleep-over at the house of someone who does not know the bliss of sibling-hood.Dad might not understand David but he
ʼ
s out of town on business and he thinks David isso cute, it doesn
ʼ
t matter.“Oh Andrew, “my mother sighs. Here is the thing with my mother
ʼ
s sighs. I
understand 
her sighs. This one means: 
Dear Andrew, I love all my children equally and it upsets me that you insist onpretending that you don
ʼ
t understand David.
 
I find out that I am right about what the sigh means because she says so in the nextsecond.“Mom”, I protest, “my not understanding him has nothing to do with whether or not I
love 
 the little snapnose. I don
ʼ
t know what he
ʼ
s saying half the time - MOST of the time,” Iadd.“You used to understand.” My mother mutters.I did? This is me thinking inside my head. Then I remember this book Mom and Dadread to me once or twice-ish. It was a book by that Mary Poppins lady - not her - thelady who wrote about her. Anyway, these babies can understand what the birds sayand then the birds come back in the Spring and the babies are talking English and don
ʼ
tunderstand the birds anymore.I thought it was sad but sort of cool, as if
everyone 
understood the birds when they werebabies and that somewhere in our brains hidden in a cupboard behind English there is abox that could help us understand the birds and animals again - if we could just find it.“So”, I ask my mother who has managed to get Snapnose Super
ʼ
s socks and little boysandals on. “Is it like in the story by whats-her-name where the babies grow up anddon
ʼ
t understand the animals anymore? Did I grow out of understanding David”?Mom looks around the room. Wrestling David into his clothes usually causes upheavalsthat rival small to moderate earthquakes - 5 on the Richter scale, approximately.It is much easier to get him OUT of his clothes, since he is not only a Snapnose but aNature Boy. And they call him the Streak...I am waiting for an answer and Mom turns and seems startled to see me.“Well”, I ask again, “is that what it
ʼ
s like?”“What what
ʼ
s like?” Mom starts picking up David
ʼ
s blanket and pillow.“Like I grew up and don
ʼ
t understand David anymore. Is that what happened?”“Andrew, what are you talking about?” Mom looks at me and she is irritated. Not at me,I hope, just at having five kids and one of them is David. “Honestly, Andrew, I don
ʼ
tunderstand you at all.”So I retreat. I go into my bedroom and twitch my sheets and blanket over my pjs andflashlight so that the bed approaches “made” Then I call to Mom.“I made my bed. Can I go to the park?” Which was why I was in David and Ralph
ʼ
s romin the first place. The bed making” is just because Mom seems out of sorts.
 
“Did you really make your bed?” Mom calls back and her voice indicates that she verymuch wants to believe that I made my bed but she is so very very afraid that she will bedisappointed.Now, it is my turn to sigh so I go back and put my book on the table and the flashlight inthe drawer and I pull the top sheet flat - sort of. The wrinkles are pretty small and I pullthe blanket over the top sheet and I smooth my hand over everything and twitch thisand pull that and plump up my pillow and stick my pjs under it.“Yep”, I call out the door. “I really made my bed. Can I go to the park?”“May I go to the park, please?” My mother corrects me, because I
can 
go to the park. Iam
able 
to go to the park. What I am asking for is
permission 
to go to the park.“Right.” I agree and then because honestly sometimes a guy
has 
to, you know, saythings, I say, “Well, CAN I? PLEASE?” You know, as if I misunderstood her correction.Mom is downstairs by now in the kitchen hoping very much that David will eat hisbreakfast without wearing any of it. Still, I hear her sigh, All The Way Up Here.“Come back when the Church chimes.” She tells me. I have come down the stairs andI am waiting with my hand on the back door.“OK”, I sing and I race out the door.“Don
ʼ
t slam....”Too late, the door slams behind me with a satisfying Thwack and I am gone from thehouse where my incomprehensible little brother rides herd over my family.My best friend in the whole world is Gabby, Gabrielle, Malantonio. And I KNOW, she
ʼ
s agirl. Get OVER it. So what? Really? Right now and for as long as I can remember, weare/were still best friends.Her Dad runs the cemetery right next to the park. When I “go to the park”, everyoneunderstands that I am going “to the cemetery”. At least they should. And Gabrielle andI usually end up in the cemetery in our secret hideout under the enormous forsythia.It is stupendous under there. We can still stand up once we get all the way in. Well, Ican stand up. Gabby gets branches in her hair. When I catch up tall-wise, and even if Idon
ʼ
t, we will soon have to find a more “appropriate” place to meet. Or so, Emma tellsme. Something about boys and girls. I don
ʼ
t want to know.

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