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Saturday, July 6, 2013

He Misses His Sister

My daughter left on a ten day trip with her best friend and her best friend's family on the fifth of July. They left very early, so we said our goodbyes on the fourth, and she spent the night at her friend's house. Throughout all the preparations on the fourth, Bow was a little anxious.

"Let me go to Florida," he spelled once.         תני לי ללכת לפלורידה

"No. You can't go," I said. "I'm not going, either."

After a while, he spelled: "Let me talk to Sword." תני לי לדבר עם חרב

I called her and left them to talk privately, so I don't know what was said.

After that, he watched as they picked her up at the front door and she set off with her purse and her back pack for the trip.

The next day, Bow was fine with Sword's absence until close to dinner time. He looked anxiously toward the front door, and then he took my hand and spelled: "Why has Sword not come back?" ? למה חרב לא חזרה

"She left on a trip for ten days," I said.

"Yes." he agreed. But he still stared at the front door.

"She won't be back for ten days, Bow," I said. "Do you understand?"

"Yes." כן

I wasn't sure he understood. "How many days till she comes back, Bow?" I asked, testing.

He spelled a "1" followed by a "0."

He knows the decimal system. He knows the word "ten" and how to spell it in numbers.

"Good," I said.

But then he asked again: "But why hasn't she come back?"

I didn't know how to answer that, except to repeat the thing about the ten days. But he kept gazing at the door. Today, he seems more reconciled to Sword's absence. He likes to spend time with the dogs outside. I don't think he's really keeping track of the days. I think that's my job.


  1. This is sad but interesting at the same time. It's wonderful to get a glimpse into the mind of a chimpanzee!

    1. Thanks for your comment, Linda. I don't feel so much that it's sad, just a little wistful. She will be back soon, and Bow will be fine. But it did surprise me that Bow understands "ten" in some ways and yet doesn't quite use it as we do.