Wednesday 21 October 2009

Call for the Animal Jooper!

Saturday morning. I am lying on the sofa, where I have told my wife I will be reading the International section of the Guardian in order to keep abreast of important current events (you know, just in case the UN call to get my perspective on GM crops or something), but where I am in fact furtively playing 'Retro Defence' on my new phone, behind the paper that so she can't see me, should she happen to wander past the open doorway.
This deception is necessary because she has outright accused me of being 'more in love' with my new phone than I am with her, which I would like to state for the record is complete nonsense (though I would also like it to be noted that it is both responsive to the touch and can be turned on with minimal effort on my part, so I wonder if there are a few things that she, on mature reflection we won't go there...)
Anyway, I am just approaching Level 26 on the tricky 'Spider' level when a soft toy bear flies into the room at head height, travelling at great velocity. It lands in the centre of the room. My Eldest appears shortly afterwards, whereupon she runs over to the bear, stamps on it's head a few times, and then kicks it into the side of the sofa. Only then does she notice me.
"Hello, Daddy" she says brightly.
"What on Earth are you doing?" I ask.
"Animal Jooper" she says, as if this explains everything.
It does not, to my mind, explain anything.
"What?" I ask.
"We are playing 'Animal Jooper'," she says patiently, and then, in a much louder voice "Animal Jooper! Animal Jooper! There is an animal in danger!"
My youngest then enters the room. I can't help but notice she has taken her trousers off, and is wearing them on her head like an outsized pair of bunny ears. I look at her in mild shock.
"I am the Animal Jooper!" she announces.
"Thank goodness you are here, Animal Jooper!" says her sister. She points at the forlorn and violated teddy on the floor. "This bear is in danger. It has been kicked and stamped on!"
"I will rescue it!" says the little one, nodding frantically so that her trouser ears flap up and down. She stoops and picks it up, then cuddles it.
"All better now!" she says after a moment.
"Good work, Animal Jooper!" says her sister.
In my hands, my forgotten phone makes a sad little noise as my suddenly unattended bases are overrun by red aliens. I finally remember how to speak.
"What are you doing?" I demand, my complete incomprehension giving my voice extra volume.
My Eldest sighs, as if the whole situation should be self-evident.
"She is the Animal Jooper..." she says, pointing at her sister, who nods solemnly, "and she rescues animals in trouble."
"I save them..." adds Youngest. (I notice at this point that the Animal Jooper appears to have coloured a large part of her face in with felt-tipped pen, which I presume has been deemed an essential requirement for animal rescue).
"I see..." I say, not really seeing.
I turn back to Eldest. "And what do you do?"
"I put animals in danger" she says, cheerfully.
"You...put...what?" I ask.
"I put animals in danger" she repeats. "So that the Animal Jooper can rescue them."
"She hits teddy bears " clarifies her sister, pushing the waistband of her trousers out of her eyes.
There is a pause, while I try and think what to say. Nothing obvious comes to mind, even after the longest time.
"Oh..." I manage to finally say.
"Today I have also put a mouse in a box up a mountain," continues Eldest, "and pushed a camel into a river."
"Oh..." I say, again.
They continue to look at me expectantly.
"Carry on, then ..." I finally say. They scamper off.
I look down at the paper. It it clear from the headlines that the world is slowly going to Hell in a hand basket. I reflect on the comforting words of that great sage of our times, Whitney Houston: I believe the children are our future, lead them well and let them show the way.
Frankly, Whitney, I am now not so sure about that. On the evidence from my house, results will be mixed, to say the least.
There is soft thump from the hall, as a toy hippo is dropped from the landing and suffers a bruising fall. The Animal Jooper clearly has a long day ahead of her...


Carol said...

Kids come up with the most bizarre games don't they!! I love the fact that your youngest had her trousers on her head...the image really made me giggle!!

C x

Unknown said...

ha! Very funny!