Gussie: Mom, I can’t even pronounce the scientific names for walrus or elephant seal. Can you say them for me?
Me: (hesitates. reads slowly.) Odobenus rosmarus? Mirounga angustirostris?
Me: Are you remembering to eat while looking at your book? Your plate is far away from you.
chair shifts. plate scoots. pages rustle.
chewing. smacking. swallowing.
Gussie: Ahem! Come here, I want to show you something.
chair squeaks. traipsing footsteps
Gussie: (fingers tracing.) Look, Europe touches Africa!
traipsing footsteps. chair sighs.
sniffling, slurping, gulping.
pen scratches. murmurs.
Gussie: The walrus’ scientific name means tooth-walking seahorse.
more pen scratches and murmurs.
Gussie: Mom, are you writing a story about me?
Me: Sort of. I’m jotting down all the sounds I’m hearing.
Gussie: Like “crash!”
Gussie: Mom, what about laughing?
Gussie: And uh-huhing?
Gussie: And chewing?
Me: What’s the sound for chewing?
Gussie: Nom! nom! nom!