It's just so sad
[Scene: Beth, age 3, has just finished reading a children's book with her grandmother, when Beth starts crying]
Grandma: "Beth, what's wrong? Why are you crying?"
Beth: "It's so sad!"
Grandma: "What's so sad?"
Beth: "That story! Why did the little bunny have to lose his blankie? It's just so sad!"
Poor black people
[Scene: Luke, age 6, is looking out the window as he and I are driving]
Luke: "Dad, why does it seem like most black people around here are poor?"
Me: "Well, there's just a lot of poor people in this neighborhood. White and black."
Luke: "Yeah, but... I mean, there are a lot of poor white people too, but what I mean is that... it seems like there are more poor black people in the group of all the black people around here, than there are poor people in the group of white people."
Me: "Hmm. There are a lot of opinions about that."
Luke: "But what do you think?"
Me: "Well, some of these people are poor because they are immigrants. They came here from other countries and they had nothing when they arrived. So they are working to have something. Other people might be kind of stuck. A lot of times, if your parents are poor, you're probably going to be poor too. Or you might become poor if you lose your job, or lose everything to a disaster or something."
Luke: "You mean like a hurricane."
Luke: "Or like the people Grammy serves at the soup kitchen. They lost their jobs."
Me: "Right. But once you're poor, it is really, really hard to get out of it. Lots of work, lots of discipline, and help from other people, and from God. Even with all that, though, it's hard. No matter what color you are."
Luke: [still looking out the window] "So why are there more poor black people?"
Me: "A lot of these immigrants are from African countries. For example, some of them have come here to escape wars back in their countries and try to start over."
Luke: "So they are here to work."
Me: "Right. And they are starting with nothing, and just trying to work to make something for themselves."
Luke: "But aren't some of these people from America?"
Me: "Yeah. If they haven't lost everything for some reason, then maybe it has to do with history. Remember when I said that if your parents are poor, you'll probably be poor too?"
Me: "Well, a few generations ago, most black people in this country were poor because they were slaves or the children of slaves."
Luke: "You mean like Abraham Lincoln and stuff?"
Me: "The Civil War, yeah. So even after the government said that black people couldn't be slaves, they were still really poor. Some of them were able to find ways of making more money, but many just struggled and kept having nothing. And to a lot of people, it didn't matter that whites and blacks were supposed to be equal. White people had the money, the jobs, and the laws, and a lot of time they didn't like black people. So instead of helping the poor, sometimes they tried to push them down. Sometimes they still do."
Luke: "That's stupid. Why would you do that?"
Me: "It's not right. But if all those people started out really poor, and they had kids, those kids were probably going to be poor too."
Luke: "And then their kids."
Luke: "And their kids, and their kids. Until we get to now."
Me: "In some cases. Because it is really, amazingly hard to get out of being poor. Most of them are not lazy, at least not any lazier than anybody else. Don't ever believe it if someone tells you poor people are poor just because they are lazy. They're just fighting something that is incredibly hard to deal with. Life gets pretty complicated when you don't have money. Especially if there is a system in place that pushes poor people down. That's true whether you are white or black or whatever color."
Luke: "Were you ever poor?"
Me: "I've never been really poor. Sometimes we would run out of money, though thank God we have always made it through. Your mom was really poor when she was a kid. I mean, even poorer than most of the people living in this neighborhood. But she and I are working hard to make sure you and your sister won't have to worry about that."
Luke: "Thanks for working hard, Dad."
[silence for the rest of the trip]
[editorial note: man, I was really improvising this as I went, and I'm definitely not convinced I explained it well. How would *you* explain a racial imbalance in poverty to a 6-year-old?]
Toys at the dinner table
[Scene: Luke, age 6, and Beth, age 3, are seated at lunch]
Me: "Beth, please give me that [toy]. We don't play with toys at mealtime."
Luke: "Really? Then why do you play with your iPhone at the table?"
Me: "I'm not playing games. I'm checking messages. It's part of my work."
Luke: "It's still a toy."
Me: [pausing; thinking] "You know what, you're right. No toys for me either." [unclips phone from belt, places it on nearby counter]
Luke: "Can I play games on your phone?"
Butt stinkin' boo hoo
Luke: [age 6] "My new motto is: be good, or be BUTT-STINKIN' BOO HOO!"
Me: "Huh? What does THAT mean?!"
Luke: "I don't know. It just sounds funny."
[Scene: Beth, age 3, is eating a bowl of Rice Krispies for breakfast]
Beth: "Look." [holds up spoon with a bit of cereal]
Beth: "This Rice Krispie has a hole in it."
Me: [looks] "Hmm. Yes it does. Sometimes that happens."
Beth: "Do you think a spider lives in it?"
Me: "No, there's no spiders in the cereal."
Beth: "But there are spiders that tiny. I've seen them. They could live in that hole. They're really tiny." [holds up thumb and forefinger of other hand, pinched together]
Me: "Maybe there are spiders that small, but they don't live in our cereal."
Beth: "Are you sure?"
Beth: "Okay." [eats it]
Goodbye, ilovemazzyandzephyr →
I’m reblogging this important news from thedaddycomplex: Hey, everyone. Shannon of the popular Tumblr parenting blog ilovemazzyandzephyr had to delete her account. She and her husband discovered someone had pilfered scores of photos of her kids and created an entire fake family with a Facebook page, a Tumblr, everything. She’s freaked out, the police are involved… Read more here...
Raising kids costs more than it used to →
One more reason why my wallet is groaning. “Everything is more expensive and each family makes its own set of trade-offs,” said Ellen Galinsky, president of the Families and Work Institute in New York. “Many parents are working longer hours, or another job, and they are giving up time at home. It’s a complete catch-22.” From buying groceries to paying for gas,...
Luke: [age 6, in a public restroom] "Wow. Look at the size of that toilet. Its mother must have been a hippo!"
[Scene: Beth, age 3, and I are playing]
Me: "Hey, don't cover my mouth."
Beth: "Why not?"
Me: "Because then I can't talk."
Beth: "You can talk with your butt. Everyone has a talking butt!"
Me: "Umm, that's not talking."
Beth: "It's just another language you have to learn."
In the fall, I coach soccer for Luke and other 6- and 7-year-old boys. At a recent game, one of our players was hobbling a little bit, so I asked him if he was alright. He stopped and shouted at the top of his lungs, “SOMEBODY KICKED ME IN THE WEENIE!!!” We put him on the bench to rest.
[Scene: with some frustration, I've been trying to tell something to Luke, age 6]
Me: "Hey. Did you hear what I just said?"
Me: "Excuse me. Are you listening?"
Luke: "Yeah, I heard you."
Me: "Then what did I say? Can you repeat it back to me?"
Me: "Oh? I thought you said you were listening."
Luke: "I *was* listening. But while you were talking, all I could hear was 'zipple zapple zeeple zoople' and I'm pretty sure that's not what you meant."
Beth: [age 3] "You sound like an Irish turtle!"
Me: "I've never heard of an Irish turtle. Are there a lot of them around?"
Beth: "No, just you."
This almost seems cliché now. I got up at 2am to respond to a 3-year-old who is screaming/crying. She doesn’t quite know why she is awake or crying, but I’m able to cuddle with her until she goes back to sleep. Then, quietly, I tiptoe out of the room, heading back to my room in the dark, when #@!%$@!%^#! I stub my toe on a piece of furniture and the pain is shooting up my leg and...
Made of Brains
Luke: [age 6] "You know that kid we met the other day? I didn't like him. He acted like he knew everything. Sometimes people are like that. They act like they're all made of brains, just one big brain inside their skin, when really they have the same brain everyone else does."
(reblog) You're Speaking My Language →
I am reblogging this from thedaddycomplex: Now, most toddlers understand complex grammar before they can say it, but my guys speak it, too. They have for quite some time. And I mean complete sentences with correct verb conjugations, gerund forms when necessary, proper pronouns and even the occasional compound preposition. I don’t think this is because they are extremely intelligent ...
Luke: [age 6, while at the beach] "Dad, is it illegal to kill seagulls? I mean, what if you were at the beach, and you were really hungry. Could you kill a seagull and cook it and eat it? Or would the police come and arrest you?"
Me: "Are you hungry?"
Luke: "Yeah, I could eat a seagull right now!"
My old man
Beth: [age 3] "Am I still a baby girl?"
Me: "You'll always be _my_ baby girl."
Me: "Yeah. Even when you're all grown up and I'm an old man."
Beth: "But you _are_ an old man!"
Me: "Hey, I'm not an old man, not yet!"
Beth: "You'll always be _my_ old man."
Article: Really? You sued your own mother? →
If my children grow up to be this greedy and dissatisfied with life, I deserve jail. The kids’ lawyer wrote, “Everyone makes mistakes, but … there must be accountability for actions. Parenting is no different.” You want accountability? The mother should spank her grown children on their bare asses, in court, and then put the video on YouTube.
Funny in the 80s
Luke: [age 6] "I thought you said this movie was funny."
Me: "Well, I thought it was when it came out in the 80s."
Luke: "It's not really that funny. I mean, it's not as funny as movies nowadays. Maybe back in the 80s, you just didn't have funny movies, so that anything that was even a little bit funny felt like it was *really* funny. So maybe this was more funny back then."
Beth: [age 3, pointing to insect the ground] "Look Daddy! A slug!"
Me: "You're right, that's a slug."
Beth: "I like slugs."
Me: "Really? What do you like about them?"
Beth: "I like stepping on them."
Just five minutes
Mom: "Look, you're not doing anything bad, but I'm really tired and have a splitting headache. Could you be quiet for just five minutes?"
Luke: [age 6] "Hey, you're the one who wanted to have kids."
Weird but good
Luke: [age 6] "Weird but good. That's my motto. Weird but good."
Beth: [age 3, while on the toilet] "Look at my poop, Daddy! It's twirling around like a ballerina!"
Beth: [age 3, while playing] "And you be the mommy caterpillar."
Me: "Hmm. Can I be the daddy caterpillar instead?"
Beth: [thinking] "Okay. You can be the mommy caterpillar, *pretending* to be the daddy."
I'm a poet
Luke: [age 6] "You know, I'm a poet who does sinful things. I can make any word rhyme with 'butt'."
Beth: [age 3] "Daddy! I'm really upset!!!"
Me: "Really? What are you upset about?"
Beth: "I don't know! I'm just REALLY UPSET!!!"
Cake for breakfast
Luke: [age 6] "Can I have cake for breakfast?"
Mom: "Hmm. What will you do for us if we give you cake?"
Luke: "Anything you want!"
Mom: "Will you listen to everything we say?"
Mom: "Will you be nice to your little sister?"
Me: "Will you be loud and obnoxious?"
Me: "You were supposed to say 'no' to that."
Luke: "I'm just being honest."