Gorillas Don't Tickle
"Daddyyyyyyyy," comes my daughter's little voice. Rosie has always amazed me – she is the tiniest person I have ever seen, even at four, and yet she has a voice that can cut through steel when she chooses. And even as a baby she never understood that when Daddy's eyes are closed, it's because he's trying to sleep. No. Daddy doesn't need sleep. Daddy exists for Rosie to play with. Rose doesn't understand this because Rose isn't normal. I'm still convinced we brought home the wrong baby from the hospital. Either that or we let George babysit far too much.
"Daddyyyyyyyy!" I peek carefully through one eye, slitting it so that I can see my daughter's petulant face. I'd love to know who taught her to pout – so I can kill them, because Rose knows that this is Daddy's weakness, and all she has to do is break out the pout and Daddy is putty. It's why I let her eat ice cream last week until she threw up seven different shades of vomit (actually, I was quite proud of her for managing that). It's also why Hermione didn't speak to me for a whole day when I didn't tell her off for somehow turning Hugo's hair bright pink.
I give up and turn my head to face her. "What's wrong, Rosie?"
I sit up on the sofa. She doesn't need to tell me she's bored. I always know when she is bored, and not because she doesn't leave me alone for more than five seconds. It's not because of the faces she pulls, either. It's because she loses the ability to say any complete sentence without stretching the last syllable for an extra ten seconds.
"Play with meeeeeeeee."
You see what I mean?
"What d'you want to play?"
"Grillas," says Rose, and I frown.
"What's a grilla, sweetheart?"
Rosie rolls her eyes. "A grilla, Daddy – like in the zoo!"
"Gorillas?" I repeat, and she nods solemnly. "Okay, we'll play gorillas."
"Okay," she smiles, her cheeks fat with happiness. "Go on, then."
"Aren't you being a gorilla too?"
"No. You're the grilla first, silly Daddy," she giggles. Of course. Silly me.
"So what does a gorilla do then, Rosie?"
"You have to eat leaves," she says, and she manages this with a completely straight face. Where is Hermione when you need her? She'd be able to come up with ten reasons why I don't have to eat leaves, and Rosie will accept every single one of them without question. Instead, there's just me, and Rosie will have a response to every argument I can come up with.
"But leaves don't taste very nice," I try.
"But you're a grilla, Daddy," Rosie replies immediately, as if I'm being deliberately obtuse. "Grillas eat leaves."
Damn it. There is clearly only one thing for it.
"I know something else gorillas do," I say, and then she shrieks as I tickle her stomach, her feet, her neck, every inch I can reach, even as she squeals and writhes and kicks me in soft places I'd rather she hadn't.
"Stop it, Daddy!" she cries, breathless with laughter, "Grillas don't tickle!"
"Ah, but I'm not a gorilla anymore," I say and I stop tickling her so that she can breathe. All things considered, if I suffocated our first-born I think Hermione would forget our wedding vows pretty quickly and fast-forward to the 'till death do us part' bit. "I'm a blue whale now."
Rosie sits up and looks me straight in the eye. "No, you're not."
"Of course I am," I say. "Look, I've got a blue shirt on and everything." This is true. My logic is superior to hers – she can't win for once. Ha!
"You're not a blue whale, Daddy. Blue whales don't talk."
"I'm a special blue whale then," I say. "One that can talk."
But Rose is still shaking her head. "You're not playing it right," she says. Oh God. The pout is back. "Mummy always plays it right."
"When is Mummy a blue whale?"
"When I have my bath. And Uncle Harry is a proper grilla too, not like you."
Fantastic. Harry is a better gorilla than me. I'm not sure how much of an achievement this is – or how jealous I should be.
"Why's Uncle Harry a better gorilla than me?"
"He eats the leaves."
Perfect. From now on, I will always insist that Harry does all the babysitting from now on. Even if it does mean looking after James who, quite frankly, gives my Rosie a run for her money in the randomness stakes any day.
"What do you want to play instead, then, Rosie?"
Rosie thinks for a moment, her red curls seeming even brighter against her vanilla skin, her eyes flashing with what I can only assume is mischief.
This is a silly little drabbley oneshot inspired by Ella Bridi, who I beta for, and which I simply had to write once I had the quotes. (I've warped it a bit, but I hope it's satisfactory!)
Please remember to review this, and not just add it to Favourites, if you enjoyed it! Oh, and when Ella Bridi uploads her first two stories, please read them! They are Of Boggarts and What Ifs, and Dragons?! And they are excellent!
If you enjoyed this, PLEASE review it and let me know instead of just adding it to Favourites or Alert (even though it's a oneshot)