Ah, Cosette. Three years old now. Named for the orphan girl in Les Miserables, which her parents attended in their courting days and following which Gina told Bret if they ever got married and ever had a daughter, they were going to name that daughter Cosette. Which must have been something of a surprise to him since he hadn’t thought much about proposing; but being the kind of man who knows when to get with the program, he did eventually propose and marry Gina and they did have a daughter who they named Cosette.
Cosette never stops thinking. Cosette never stops talking. Cosette never stops thinking and talking. “I think, therefore I talk,” that’s her motto. Cosette never stops moving, except when her mother lets her watch TV, which isn’t very often. She never stops trying to get Baby Bret to play with her. He tries. He does his best. But he’s only 10 months old and things still bounce right off him. Quite often she takes things away from him, which he has decided he does not like. She doesn’t care. Cosette likes to call me on the phone and give me reports on what’s going on in her household, including regular updates on how old Baby Bret is NOW. She loves Buzz Lightyear. Sometimes you have to call her “Buzz” or she won’t answer.
Gina and the kids came over last Saturday, so that Man Bret could stain the siding Cosetteless. I have a playroom upstairs. Sometimes the grandkids play there; more often they haul out the toys and deposit them in various inconvenient spots around the house. Cosette came out of the playroom with a 16-inch Frankenstein monster robot. “He’s a big man,” she told me. “He’s a REALLY big man.”
“His name is Frankenstein,” her mother said. “Frank-en-stein.”
“Frankenstein,” said Cosette. But he was “the big man” all day long.
And all day long we were tasked with keeping a watchful eye on him. We went outside to work in the yard and, of course, the big man came along. When Cosette went to look for a shovel, I was in charge of security. “Grandma, you watch the big man,” she said solemnly. I swore my undying devotion to his care and well-being. Once I forgot myself and walked around to the front of the house without him. “Where’s the big man?” Cosette wanted to know. “He’s in the backyard guarding the flower pots,” I said. That was okay then, so long as we knew his whereabouts at all times.
Cosette took the big man’s picture with her mother’s camera. She took pictures of him sitting down and standing up. Then she scrolled through the pictures to show them to me. She knows how to work the camera better than I do.
I thought she would want to take the big man home with her at the end of the day, but she didn’t mention it. So I took him back up to the playroom. The thing is, now I know he’s there. All the time. He’s a big man and he is always there.