Doodling with Jackson

Someone told me that Jackson likes to doodle so the other day I brought a pen and some scrap paper over to where he, Maggie and Herbie were sitting. I showed them to him and then kneeled down on the ground and let him watch me write each of their names. Then I handed him the pen and paper. He took it from me at once and got down on his stomach, propped himself up on his elbows and began to draw. I watched excitedly as he very purposefully dragged the pen across the paper and inspected the lines he had made, but less than a minute later Maggie decided she wanted to draw too, and she stole the pen and paper from him. Jackson whined at her but backed away because Maggie is higher ranking than he is and he knew perfectly well how she’d react if he tried to take them back from her. She lay down just as Jackson had (except she grabbed some blankets and tucked them around herself so she was all snuggled up and comfortable) and put the pen to the page. She didn’t seem to grasp the concept as Jackson had, however, and tried stabbing at the paper instead of dragging it gently across. She saw the dots she was making but got frustrated quickly when she couldn’t figure out how to make the smooth lines Jackson had, and decided to scrap doodling and eat the pen instead. I politely asked her to give it back to me but she ignored me. Herbie, who was sitting a few feet away, immediately pulled himself to his feet and retrieved the pen from Maggie, and then walked over to me and pushed it through the mesh with his lips. I thanked him profusely and gave him a few peanuts, and he grunted and went back to his pile of blankets. Now I know who to turn to if Maggie ever steals something from me again!

Rachel Bronstein, Caregiver