Nadia is upset when her father wants to be licensed to head up a turtle patrol because she thinks that now, she will get even less of the attention she craves from her dad. Nadia feels the need to compete for the attention of the men in her life with her grandfather's new wife Margaret, and now it seems as if she is losing. Nadia says about Margaret,
"She must have been quite proud of her loggerheads. They got her my grandpa, and now they got her my dad."
Nadia is having a difficult time adjusting to the changes in her life, which include the death of her grandmother and her grandfather's subsequent remarriage, and her parents' recent divorce. She directs the focus of her discontent particualry on Margaret, whom she views as an interloper who represents all the upheaval she wishes had never happened in her family. When Grandpa Izzy invites Nadia and her dad to help with the turtles, saying that "It'll be like old times," Nadia's inclination is to decline. To Nadia, it will not "be like old times" at all; if it were, Margaret would not be in the picture. Her father, however, accepts the invitation for the two of them, leaving Nadia "seriously annoyed."
In the absence of things being the way they used to be, Nadia is bitter and insecure, and longs for her father's attention. Her father is busy with work, however, even during her visit, and the turtle project is just one more thing that gets in the way of him putting his focus on her. Nadia is disturbed when her dad discusses turtles with Margaret, when he could have discussed them with her; after all, Nadia did do a report on turtles, and knows all about them. She is also miffed when Margaret's grandson Ethan accompanies them to see Phantom of the Opera, even though he sits in a seat by himself. Nadia feels that she must compete for every bit of attention she gets from her father, and when he says he wants to be licensed to head up a turtle patrol, it is just one more way that she will have to share with others, and in particular, with Margaret, what little time he has to give (Chapter 2).