Re-learning to talk

Ollie, like many kids, has historically had a little bit of trouble saying a few letters. For example, he used to say ‘w’ instead of ‘l’, like “ow-iver”, or ‘f’ instead of ‘th’, like “firsty”. With age and a few gentle corrections, these have mostly disappeared. However, there are still a few words that he says that are not quite right.

I don’t remember how it came up exactly, but it turns out that he’s not mispronouncing the words, he actually thinks that’s how they’re said. It was a total revelation to him that some of the words he’s saying are actually different than what he thought they were. When Sara explained that it’s “animal” not “amimol”, he absolutely thought she was putting him on. He kept giving her a look like, “When are you going to say, ‘just teasing!’”

Suddenly this light bulb has gone on. It’s like he’s learning all of his words all over again. I don’t know how he didn’t notice that when we said them we said them differently, but somehow he just didn’t. “Mother”, not “mudder”. “Pitch black” instead of “pinch black”. He knows all of his letters and can even write most of them, but he still says, “…h-i-j-k-em-oh-em-oh-p”.

It’s actually kind of sad; I’m not sure I want him to learn the right way to say things. I never know if I should actually correct him or not. I don’t want my little boy to grow up, I want him to keep saying “hooza-hoop” until he’s 20. So sometimes I correct him when he says something wrong, and sometimes I don’t.  Now that he’s aware of it, he’s paying closer attention to some of the things, so he’s correcting himself whether I like it or not.

As an adult, I would be horrified to learn that I had been saying something so wrong, loudly and often in front of others. That’s actually one of the great things about kids: they have no such self-conscious reflex. He’s actually just really interested in learning the correct way to do it.

Even if he’s got to learn to talk all over again.

“My Heart” in its theatrical debut

Just a friendly reminder: an adaptation of my story “My Heart is a Quadratic Equation” will be featured as part of the Pulp Stage’s upcoming Sci Fi Night show next Thursday, April 24th.

More details are available here, but if you happen to be out Portland way, be sure to stop in at the Jack London Bar and check it out. Tickets are only $5 if you buy them online!


Jesus Christ Muppetstar

What do you get when you combine two of the greatest things ever, Jesus Christ Superstar and the Muppets? Well, I’ll just let you go ahead and answer that question for yourself.

It should be noted that this is an unauthorized adaptation, but they do a pretty good job. Kermit is the obvious choice as Jesus, ditto Miss Piggy as Mary Magdalene, and Gonzo makes an excellent Judas (who else to play the outsider?), but it’s the other little roles that make it.

Pepe the King Prawn as Pilot? Genius. Gonzo’s chickens singing (clucking?) backup? Electric Mayhem as the disciples? And when Beaker came in I about lost my $#it.

Seriously, this is so well done. I love it. There are so many little nods to the source material, like Piggy singing “It’s cool and the oink-ment’s sweet!” that even once you understand the central conceit it’s still enjoyable.

“And now I understand you’re a frog…at least that’s what you said.”

Give it a listen. Highly recommended.

Knitter’s Children

When it’s muddy outside, Ollie likes to get right in. I don’t really mind it; I think it’s good for him, and even if I’m cringing a little bit on the inside, I try to hold my tongue. In any case, he comes home from school with a lot of very dirty outerwear.

The other day I was tossing his snow pants and coat in the washer, and I noticed his nice, knitted mittens were a little worse for the wear. I shrugged and tossed them in with everything else.

“Are you putting my mittens in the washer?” Ollie said doubtfully. “Yeah, I thought I’d wash them. They’re a little dirty.”

Evie was upstairs and heard our conversation through the dryer vent. “Daddy!” she screamed. “Daddy, don’t put them in the washer!” “It’s okay,” I replied, “I’m not going to put them in the dryer, just the washer.” “Noooo! No daddy!” she shouted, starting to sob. “You can’t put them in the washer!” Ollie was tugging on my arm, and he started screaming too. “Evie, they’re already in there! They’re already in the washer!!”

The two of them were screaming like I was putting a kitten in the washer; this was definitely a code red. The only thing we were missing was a revolving red light and blaring klaxons.

Of course I quickly took the mittens out, if only to restore order to the house. Afterwards, Ollie showed me how to wash them in the sink and then put them in a towel and stomp on them to dry them.

I have to admit that I was a little ashamed that, as a knitter, the kids knew more about this than I did. I mean, I knew better than to put them in the dryer, and I guess I knew somewhere in the back of my head that the agitation could felt them as well, but I just didn’t think it was a big deal. Hoo boy did the kids think it was a big deal. So I guess I didn’t know what I was talking about and I had to be schooled by children.

Sara, on the other hand, has never been prouder.

Quote Monday is a tough crowd

Evie: “Nobody come in here for awhile, we are NOT having a surprise!”

Checkout person at the grocery store: “So…do you really like mayonnaise?”
Sara: “No, we’re having a Southern themed birthday party.”

Ollie: “Do you know how I got to the ‘old soccer’ garden?”

Eh, Old Soccer Garden, Osaka Garden, tomato tomahto.

::Me reading a book to Ollie’s class for his birthday::
Kid in the audience: “My dad reads it funnier.”

Tough crowd. I bet your dad didn’t have 20+ kids and 4 adults watching him act like a goofball either…

4 Years Old

You know, usually when I write one of these birthday posts, the first thing I do is go back and review the post from the previous year.

It’s funny how last year I said he had changed so much from the previous year, because this year I think, “Wow, he hasn’t changed much since the last post.” He still talks all the time, has little interest in dressing himself, still adores his baby and his sister, and loves to be goofy. I guess he’s just solidified into a real person now.

(Side note, did I really say he wasn’t cuddly? Because that was *totally* wrong.) (Side side note, has he only been going to the bathroom by himself for a year? Time does fly.)

There are a lot of things that Ollie is planning to do when he’s a 4 year old. I think he’s pretty sure he’s going to transform into an adult overnight. Certainly he is suddenly seeming much older to me. I’m not sure if it’s going to school, growing a little taller, speaking a little clearer, or just being a little more independent, but all of a sudden I can see him growing up.

He rode a pedal bike for the first time the other day. He can buckle 66% of his car seat buckles all by himself. He knows the words to songs. He makes honest to goodness jokes. He’s certainly the only just-turned-4-year-old I know who thinks so much about being a daddy.

So happy birthday, buddy. I hope you get all 5 pianos you wanted so your kids will have pianos when you grow up.


Crushing the Competition

In Evie’s class at school they were doing a competition to list all the words they could think of that started with the letter ‘A’.

After they were finished the teacher said, “Everybody who listed five words, raise your hand.” All of the children raised their hands. “Did anybody get six words?” she continued. Some of the hands went down. “How about seven words?” On and on she went until there were only two remaining, Evie and another girl. “And how many did you get?” asked the teacher. “Fifteen,” replied the first girl. “And you Evelyn?” asked the teacher. “Forty-eight,” replied Evie, smug as a bug in a rug.

“You can tell she’s my daughter,” said Sara, the ultimate Boggle champion, with a predatory gleam in her eye. (Pardon me, PENULTIMATE Boggle champion, am I right Anna?) Did I ever tell you about the time we played Boggle on a camping trip and Sara beat me, a journalism major, and the smartest guy I know with a score higher than the rest of us combined?

“How many did [an English as a second language girl in Evie's class] get?” asked Sara. “She got six,” said Evie. “That’s great! Good for her, she got more than five!” said Sara. Evie said grumpily, “It’s her parents job to be proud of her. You can be proud of me.”

Yup, just like her mama.


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