Luke: [age 7] "You know when we're working together, I mean really working together like a family or a team on something? It makes me feel good. I get this big THUMP in my chest and a big smile on my face like a clown. It feels like we can do anything! We could fight off whole groups of bad guys! Take that! And that!" [makes fighting noises]
What if it was a robot?
Luke: [age 7] "Do you know anyone who does sci-fi?"
Me: "Uh... what do you mean by 'does'? Reads it? Writes in? Makes movies?"
Luke: "Makes movies. Or writes."
Me: "I used to know a couple of people who wrote science fiction. I mean, anyone can write. I used to write sci-fi short stories, though it was mostly for myself. Why do you ask?"
Luke: "I've got this idea for a story, and I want someone to write it down."
Me: "I bet /you/ could write it down. What's your story?"
Luke: "Well... I was looking at this plate, and I was thinking, what if it was a robot? There could be this bad guy, someone who just likes shooting plates and things and breaking them, so some good scientest guy creates robots that look like plates. Then he sneaks them into the bad guy's kitchen and hides the plates in with his regular plates. And then when the bad guy goes to shoot at his plates, the thing that he thinks is a plate would turn into its robot form" -- [makes mechanical/electronic 'transformation' noises] -- "and arms and legs and lasers would pop out of the plate. And then the robot would shoot the bad guy. Bam! He would be so surprised. It would be a spy plate robot."
Me: "That sounds cool. You should write it down!"
Luke: "Maybe after I'm done playing."
Article: Now We Are Six -- The Hormone Surge of... →
This is an interesting article from the New York Times. Middle childhood is when the parts of the brain most closely associated with being human finally come online: our ability to control our impulses, to reason, to focus, to plan for the future. Young children may know something about death and see monsters lurking under every bed, but only in middle childhood is the brain capable of ...
Luke: [age 7] "You know what would be funny? A toy baby doll that you had to fill with microwave popcorn, and then it would bend over with its butt in the air" -- [demonstrates position] -- "and then the popcorn would shoot out its butt, all over the room, and you had to catch it and eat it. Pop, pop, pop!" [wiggles butt]
Me: "That sounds pretty strange. How in the world did you think of that idea?"
Luke: "Somebody has to."
Kamuka and the Golden Light
Beth: [age 3, holding an empty small container] "Look at this golden light."
Me: "Hmm. I see the jar, but what is in it?"
Beth: "It's for kamuka!"
Me: "It is?"
Me: "What is kamuka?"
Beth: "The golden light is the source of the kamuka. The kamuka helps the light come to real life. Then it helps people. It floats over them, over their whole body, then everyone will know what kind of kamuka they have."
Me: "That's interesting. What kind of kamuka do you have?"
Beth: "I have a plain kamuka."
Me: "What do you do with a kamuka?"
Beth: "A kamuka is for being happy! Because of the golden light. The golden light is floating upstairs and downstairs to help everyone. It just came here in a little jar" -- (holds up container) -- "inside a bigger jar. Then it turns into magic golden light that has sparkles, instead of regular light. Kamuka turns regular light into magic light and helps everyone say something happy!"
Me: "Wow, kid. That's pretty deep."
Beth: "That's kamuka!"
[note: older kamuka references of hers are at http://andimthedad.com/tagged/kamuka ]
Parents and Santa
Luke: [age 7] "Dad, do other parents believe in Santa Claus?"
Me: "No. There are no adults who believe in Santa."
Luke: "They all believe he's just a nice story, like we do?"
Luke: "Then why do other parents tell their kids that Santa is real? It sounds like they really believe it. Or are they lying?"
Me: "Well... it's a fun story, and some people like to tell stories as if they're real. So they do. But eventually the kids find out the truth. We decided just to tell you truth from the beginning."
Luke: "Huh. So they *are* lying. I knew it."
Merry Christmas, everyone!
And if you don’t celebrate Christmas in the traditional Christian way with Christ firmly in the the middle of it, then I’ll simply say: go to hell! No, wait. That’s what some “Christians” seem to be saying nowadays. Sorry about all that. Instead: regardless of your religious affectation, I wish you a very happy holiday, and I’ll add this old Irish blessing: may...
A shout stuck in the back of my throat
Me: "You seem really excited about Christmas."
Luke: [age 7] "I am! It's like there is always a shout stuck in the back of my throat waiting to burst out of my mouth!"
Me: "I remember that feeling. What are you most excited about? The Christmas story of Jesus? The decorations? Presents?"
Luke: "Presents. Well, Jesus too: he was a present too."
Me: "That's a good way to put it."
[Scene: Beth, age 3, has run into my home office with something in her hand]
Beth: "Here, eat this."
Me: "What? What is it?"
Beth: "Just suck on it."
Me: "This looks like candy. Is it candy?"
Beth: "It's chrysalis ginger. No, no, not chrysalis. I mean CRYS-TAL-IZED. It's good."
Me: [takes a bite] "Mmm, that is good. Did Mom give it to you?"
Beth: "Yes! Mom is baking. The ginger is really spicy but I LIKE IT A LOT!!!"
Does Santa know
Luke: [last year, at age 6] “Does Santa know I don’t believe in him?”
[I found this among some old saved messages from last year, when Luke was 6]
Me: “You have homework, right?”
Luke: “Yeah, I have to decorate this snowman.” (holds up construction paper)
Me: “Okay. How should we do it?”
Luke: “I think he should be a ninja. Or Darth Snowman.”
[Scene: as we're walking down the sidewalk, we pass a man shouting into his cell phone]
Man: "You're a bitch! Yeah, I said it! That's all you are, a heartless bitch!"
[we continue walking for a minute]
Luke: [age 7] "Did that man say the B-word?"
Mom: "Um, yeah. Don't you ever use that word."
Me: "How did you know what the B-word was? Have you heard it before?"
Luke: "The kids at school use all kinds of words. The A-word, the B-word, the F-word --"
Mom: "What? They talk like this at school?"
Luke: "Well, not at school. On the bus."
Mom: "Who talks like that on the bus?"
Luke: "Oh everybody. [B...] and [E...] and other boys."
Mom: "I thought [B...] and [E...] were your friends."
Luke: "Yeah, they are."
Mom: "Maybe I need to talk to their mothers."
Luke: [turning red] "Uh... no... it doesn't happen a lot. Just, you know, when they want to talk about... bad stuff..."
Me: "Do you know what the B-word means?"
Me: "It's a really bad insult for a woman. Do you ever use language like that?"
Luke: "Umm, no."
Me: "Not even when you're with your friends?"
Luke: "No. I just listen when they're talking."
More on the Girly Legos
I read this from sparkamovement: “Instead of spending 4 years on research that ended up leading to Lego selling the same tired, pink stereotypes as every other company, Lego could have made an effort to start including girls in its advertising for all of its other projects. Lego Star Wars, for example, which my little brother and I love, is not exclusively the province of young boys, and showing...
Beth: [age 3] "I'm going to paint your toenails."
Me: [stretches out feet in appropriate position] "Okay. What color?"
Beth: "Pink! With little pictures of bees."
Me: "Bees? Can I have something else? Like dragons?"
Beth: "Hmm. How about dragon bees?"
Me: "Dragon bees? Are those bees that breath fire?"
Beth: "No, Daddy! They're dragons that breath honey! Honey dragons!"
Me: "Oooh, that sounds cool."
Beth: "Good. Now stop moving your toes!"
Lego is for Girls →
On the heels of my note about the upcoming Lego/Lord of the Rings tie-in, check out this lengthy Businessweek article: Over the years, Lego has had five strategic initiatives aimed at girls. Some failed because they misapprehended gender differences in how kids play. Others, while modestly profitable, didn’t integrate properly with Lego’s core products. Now, after four years of research,...
Songs of the Boy, Part 1
Both of my kids sing a lot. They may sing quietly or loudly; they are as likely to start singing before they get out bed in the morning as they are to sing while in the bathroom. Usually the songs are entirely improvised. Luke, age 7, is especially fond of this, so I am going to try noting some of his more interesting works. In the past month, his songs have included the following lyrics: ...
LEGO to produce Lord of the Rings sets →
And not just sets, but probably LEGO video games too. We’re big LEGO fans, and I’m a serious LOTR fan. I am so doomed.
Dent in your brain
[Scene: we're at a Chinese restaurant and Luke, age 7, is cracking open a fortune cookie]
Luke: "What's the best fortune you've ever gotten from a cookie?"
Mom: "The best one I got was, 'Don't take advice from a fortune cookie.'"
Luke: "That's pretty strange."
Mom: "Think about it: if you do take that advice, then you're not supposed to take that advice."
Luke: "Wow. Thinking about that puts a dent in your brain."
Pee around forever
Luke: [age 7] "The girl next door has a doll that you can fill up with water from a fake baby bottle, and then it pees. I wonder if it came with its own toilet. Because if it did, then you could run a water tube from the toilet back to the doll, and it could just keep peeing, with the pee going around and around forever. That would be cool. And gross."
I never argue
Luke: [age 7] "You know, I never argue. I'm not the arguing kind of person."
Me: [suspiciously] "Oh? You never argue?"
Luke: "Never. Not me."
Me: "I think you're trying to get me to say 'yes, you do' so that you can say 'no, I don't' and argue with me about it."
Luke: [beaming] "Of course!"
Me: "Ha! I knew it was a trick."
Luke: "That's my special power. I make people's minds do tricks."
Learn it from you
Me: "Hey, don't do [...]."
Luke: [age 7] "You know, when people tell me 'don't do something' I usually ask if they ever did it, and usually they say yes. So, did you ever do [...]?"
Me: "Yes, but --"
Luke: "So why are you telling me not to do it?"
Me: "So you don't have to learn the hard way that you shouldn't do it. You should learn it from me instead."
Luke: "What if I don't want to learn it from you?"
Me: "You'll learn one way or the other."
Me: "Did you have a good nap?"
Beth: [age 3] "I didn't take a nap."
Me: "But your eyes were closed for awhile. I think you were sleeping."
Beth: "I wasn't sleeping. I was just making my 'tired' face for awhile."
Luke: [age 7, after watching an episode of 'The Last Airbender' Nickelodeon cartoon online] "Hmm. I wonder what happens when a Firebender farts? Does fire shoot out of their butt? They never show that in the cartoon, but I bet they go through a lot of chairs."
Beth: [age 3] "Oh Daddy. Move your breath out of my face. I don't like it."
Me: "Good morning. How did you sleep?"
Luke: [age 7] "Okay I guess."
Me: "Just 'okay'?"
Luke: "Well, I had a weird dream."
Luke: "I dreamed I was eating and eating this giant hamburger, but then I woke up and found that I was chewing on the tail of my stuffed chameleon. The whole thing was in my mouth."
Me: "You're right, that is weird."
Luke: "Seriously. I need a drink."
To Everybody in the Whole Wide World
[Scene: Beth, age 3, has brought me a large cardboard box]
Beth: "Daddy, can you please cut out this piece cardboard for me?"
Me: "I can, but what are you going to do with it?"
Beth: "I'm going to make a sign."
Me: "A sign? You mean, to hang on the wall?"
Beth: "No, a sign to put it on my door."
Me: "What is the sign going to say?"
Beth: "It's going to say, TO EVERYBODY IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD: BE GOOD!"
[Scene: Luke, age 7, has snuck up behind me while I'm folding laundry, and pulled up the back of my shirt]
Me: "Hey! What are you doing?" [yanks down shirt]
Luke: "I was just checking your energy gauge. Looks like you're on empty."
Me: "Hmm. I think you're right. Can I have some of your energy?"
Luke: "No. My energy only works in my body. And my gauge is always FULL!"
Too many letters in the alphabet.
Luke: [age 7] "There are too many letters in the alphabet. I don't understand why we need S when we can use a C to make the same sound. And C can also make the same sound as a K. I think we could save some time if we just stopped using S and K and changed those words to use a C instead."
Counting in Spanish
Luke: [age 7] "I know how to count to ten in Spanish."
Me: "Really? Let's hear it."
Luke: [concentrating] "Uno... dos... tres... cuatro... cinco... seis... siete... umm, nacho... nueve... diez."
Luke: "Yeah, I forgot that one."
Lollipops for breakfast
Me: "What do you want for breakfast? Cereal? Or I could make oatmeal."
Beth: [age 3] "I want lollipops."
Me: "No candy for breakfast."
Beth: "Okay, then I want dessert for breakfast."
Me: "Dessert? What kind of dessert?"
Beth: "How about we eat cereal first, then lollipops?"
Me: "Nice try, but no. No candy or dessert for breakfast."
Beth: "Oh, Daddy, you're making me sad."
Big, big, little, little
Luke: [age 7] "Let's play Animal-Mineral-Vegetable. I'm thinking of something that's orange."
Me: "Hmm. Is it big?"
Luke: "It's big, big, little, little, giant, more big, little, littler, even smaller, bigger, big."
Me: "Umm... so it's medium?"
The Big Apple
Luke: [age 7] "What's the Big Apple?"
Mom: "It's another name for New York City."
Luke: "Why is that? Is it because it has the most Apple stores?"