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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Can versus Will

Yesterday afternoon, while Lawrence was watching Bow, I baked a cake. No, I didn't bake it from scratch. It was from a lemon-poppy seed muffin mix, but I baked it like a cake, and I used three eggs instead of two, because of the surplus of eggs that we have. I haven't baked anything in ages, because the oven is in the kitchen, and I need a sitter just to be able to get there.

Well, that's not completely accurate. I bake chicken and sweet potatoes practically every day, but I have that down as a routine, and I don't spend one extra minute in the kitchen. I just stick them in the oven as fast as I can. Cakes, though, even when they come in a mix, require a little more time.

Bow can see the kitchen from the pens. That's one of the nice things about the house layout. The pens open up into the living room, so Bow can see anything that goes on in the living room with no extra effort. In order to see the kitchen, he has to stand in a certain spot and peer at an angle.

I could see Bow and Lawrence standing there, watching me as I prepared the mix. Then, when the cake was in the oven, I called Sword to the kitchen so she could lick the bowl. I glanced in the direction of the pens. Bow was standing on his tippy-toes watching all this intently.

Sword is not a very efficient bowl licker, so there was plenty left when she was done. I brought the bowl into the entry way of the pens. "Would you like to lick the bowl, Bow?" I asked. "Tell Lawrence on the computer."

We are still trying to coax Bow to use the touchscreen computer rather than the letters on the glass. We do not use food as a reward. But licking the bowl isn't really about food. It's almost like a recreational activity.

Bow didn't answer me, so I left the bowl there and went to check my email. When I was gone, Bow took Lawrence to the glass and spelled: "I want to lick the bowl."

"Can you say that on the computer?" Lawrence asked.

"Yes," Bow spelled. Then he went over to the computer, but didn't spell anything. After that, he took Lawrence back to the letters on the glass.

"Okay, Bow, I know you can spell it on the computer," Lawrence said. "But will you spell it on the computer?"

Bow spelled: "No."

"Why not?"

"It's hard."

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