Thursday, August 25, 2011

Line of Demarcation

Miriam is a rogue colourer. For some reason she never seems to remember that we colour on paper. She coloured all over one of Grandma's benches the other day—I was relieved when I learned that was on Andrew's watch—and a few days before that she took some plates out of the cupboard and coloured on those.

"Why did you colour on these plates?" I asked her. "We only colour on paper!"

She looked at me innocently and explained, "Nephi. Colour. Plates."

Yeah. But he wrote on the golden plates. Not the kitchen plates.

Plates are not the only thing we fight about in the kitchen. Miriam and Rachel often fight at the kitchen table but fortunately this is often avoided, or at least alleviated, by the very nature of the table. It's a sectional table you can add varying numbers of leaves to in order to change the size according to your numbers, so it always has at least one crack in it, usually two. Miriam sits on one side of the crack and Rachel sits on the other—we call the crack the Line of Demarcation.

The girls are very serious about it. We joke that they're going to go to school and the topic of the Treaty of Tordesilla is going to come up in European History and the line of demarcation will be mentioned and our sweet girls will raise their hand and explain what the line of demarcation means to them, which of course is completely historically inaccurate. I suppose it isn't entirely inaccurate since Pope Alexander VI hoped that by drawing his line on the 38th parallel he'd keep Spain and Portugal from fighting over table area new territory.

Now instead of fighting over whatever it is they would have fought about if the Line of Demarcation had not been established, the girls put their foreheads and noses together right at the crack and shout at each other in an effort to get the other one to observe the sacred Line of Demarcation.

"LINE-A-CATION!" Miriam will shout at Rachel.

"LINE OF DEMARCATION!" Rachel will shout back.

"LINE-A-CATION!"

"LINE OF DEMARCATION!"

When a grown up asks what the matter is one of the two will usually express something about how the other one crossed over the Line of Demarcation and into their table territory. I'm pretty sure Spain and Portugal had the same problem because they later ignored the papal line and redrew the Line of Demarcation a couple of degrees to the west in order to placate Portugal, I believe, because they wanted to claim Brazil...or India. I'm not really sure. Does it really even matter? They were both trying to take things that weren't really theirs, anyway.

Half the time I'm not really sure what my children are fighting about, either. Usually it's about taking something that's not theirs.

Thus the Line of Demarcation is an apt phrase.

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