Tomorrow is T-TAC (Third Time’s a Charmer)’s first birthday. I didn’t forget the birthday, but somehow (maybe because because I’ve given both TWCN and Smiley-Guy my most favourite kid-things for Christmases and birthdays for the last five years already) I forgot that it might behoove us to get him a present–until my Paul said, “What are we getting him?” and I realised that I had no idea, but I knew we hadn’t given him any books yet–which is quite unlike me.
This question instigated a flurry of emails between us and TheBro and Sister-in-Lu, and at one point Dr Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham came up in the discussion. (Paul brought it up, but it happens to be a particularly a propos book for me.) The BroFam already has that book, but my Paul decided to make an MP3 recording of himself reading it, so that maybe sometimes the kids could listen to him reading it to them even though we’re geographically so far away from each other. (There is a history of this kind of activity in my family, which I will describe some Memory Monday or other.) He emailed the MP3 to TheBro, and to Sister-in-Lu, and to me.
I was eating my lunch in my office at work, with Oscar staring longingly at me while I did so, when the MP3 arrived, and because it was lunchtime, I played it.
About at the point where Sam-I-Am is asking the unnamed irritated protagonist if he would like green eggs and ham in a box or with a fox, Shemp, at home in the background of the recording, shook himself and his collar jingled. Oscar sat right up.
I don’t know how one dog can tell another dog’s collar jingle, but I guess it’s possible, because Oscar, shy guy that he is, was definitely more engaged than, say, when RevCD brings her dog into the office. It seemed like identifying Shemp helped him realise the voice he was hearing was my Paul’s, as well. So Oscar continued head up, ears cocked, for the rest of the story until just before the denouement, when Shemp shook himself again. At that, Oscar leapt off the office couch and began trotting back and forth, back and forth between the door and the desk, whimpering and whining. Then he lay by the armchairs and stared wistfully into the middle distance, as if he could make Shemp materialise by so doing.
My Paul and I had a two-minute emergency Skype session so Oscar could see him and Shemp on the computer, but all that did was make both dogs run to their respective doors in hopes that the other one would run through it. It took about another hour for Oscar to jump back up on the couch and curl up as he normally does.
They say most dogs have the equivalent IQ of a human toddler. T-TAC’s not even a toddler yet, and he doesn’t really know Uncle Paul or Auntie Jenn that well yet, but I’m pretty sure he has a better chance of figuring the recorded story out than Oscar ever would.