The Tiny Professor

Matt found this package of colorful cauliflower in Ethan’s backpack when he came home from school.

“What is this? A snack you are saving?” he asked.

“No, no! I can’t eat that! It’s for my research!”

Ethan is six.

“You mean it’s for homework?” I asked. “What are you supposed to do with it.”

“No, not homework,” he said. “I’m researching them.”

We were stumped. “What are you researching?” Matt asked.

“I want to know how they grew like that, that’s all.”

We put the package in the fridge after that. I’m not sure what experiment he has planned but it’s the best excuse a 1st grader has used to get out of eating vegetables that I’ve ever heard of.

Deck the Howls

This is how I decorate for Halloween:

This is how my neighbors decorate:

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To be honest, they are in a different neighborhood but I couldn’t think of a word for someone else that lives in your city but not on your block.  Citymate? Neighboring-neighbor? I dunno.  But I think of them as the owners of the Halloween House and I have to go by to see what they have come up with every year.  (I’ve blogged about them a time or two before.)  I think this is my favorite so far; they have really outdone themselves.  One of these days I need to stop when someone is in the yard.  I have so many questions!  Mostly to do with budget and storage.

To be a little more honest, I have one more Halloween decoration.  It is five feet tall (just shorter than I am) and it looks like this:

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The dogs’ names are (from left to right) Zero, Maxwell Silver-hammer, and Queequeg.  (I name everything, by the way.  I originally named the parrot and cat skeletons Polly and Pyewacket, but only to myself.  Then, on a whim, I asked Ethan what he thought their names should be and he said, without hesitation, “Pierical,” pointing at the parrot, and “Port Jackson,” pointing at the cat.  So, obviously, those are their names now. He said he didn’t know where he got the ideas for his names but clearly we were both feeling the letter “P.”)  I bought the inflatable dogs last year after the fellas moved in because I wanted to make sure we had a fun yard for Ethan and the neighborhood kids.  And also because, dogs.

Months later, long after Halloween, one of my neighbors stopped me to say hi and she mentioned the big dogs.  She said that her daughter loved them.  “And I mean, she loved them.  One day, we came home and they were deflated and she started to cry.  ‘They’re dead! ‘They’re dead!’ I couldn’t console her!”

“Oh, I’m sorry! I was unplugging it during the day to save power.  But you know, they are ghost dogs.  So, technically, they were dead the whole time.”

My neighbor responded with that blank look that translates as a reminder to socially awkward people to avoid face to face contact in the future.

At any rate, they are back up for the holiday.  And I haven’t unplugged them this year.  Not even once.

Upgrade

The boys didn’t think my arrangement was all that “spooky,” so I added a raven and a severed limb.

It is so fun to decorate now that there is a little one around. But if I’m being honest, it’s really for me. Ethan just wants the candy.

None Shall Pass… Without Cake!

When I asked Ethan what he wanted his 6th birthday party theme to be and he said “knights,” I had to double check that I understood.  After all, it wasn’t that long ago that I asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up and he responded, “Nocturnal.”

“Knights? Like, Knights of the Round Table?” I asked, knowing there was a better way to phrase this to a kindergartner.

“No,” Ethan said.  “Like knights that fight.”

“Okay,” I said.  “I got it.”

I was a little concerned that I wouldn’t be able to find good decorations easily.  At least, not as easily as if he said, “Starwars,” for instance.  But it wasn’t a problem.  I ordered a dragon pinata, foam swords for a melee, and foil crowns and stick on plastic gems for a craft station.  Easy peasy.

There were about 40 people on the guest list, so we had the party at a park in the neighborhood.  This took care of seating and shade.  Also, I thought if no one wanted to sword fight or decorate a crown, there was a playground.

I’ve never thrown a child’s birthday party before, and I admit I stressed over it more than I should have.  I didn’t sleep much the night before and then I went to the park early and claimed some tables (they don’t take reservations).  I did my best to plan for all contingencies, but there are always things beyond one’s control.  For example, a block away, a sewer pipe burst and each time the breeze shifted there was a distinct barn-yard smell.  I could have been upset, but I decided that it gave the medieval theme an air (pun intended) of authenticity.  Hopefully the guests felt the same.  (They did not, but they were very polite about it.)

The final touch were two figurines to decorate the cake – a knight and a dragon.  Once everything was set up and we were waiting for the guests to arrive, there was nothing to do but sit and wait.

“You know,” Matt – my history teacher boyfriend – said, pointing at the cake, “there is a historical problem there.”

“Oh yeah?” I asked.  “What’s that?”

“Yes, I think the knight should have a sword.  I was just reading that knights, who usually came from the aristocracy, actually looked down on archery.  Archers were from the lower classes.”

“That’s interesting,” I said.  “Also, there’s a dragon.”

“True,” Matt said.  “Very true.”

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Weekend in Zion

At The Desert Pearl Hotel in Springdale, Utah

Ethan (age 5): The sink in our room is so short! I had to bend over to use it!!!

Me: What sink? What are you talking about?

Ethan: The one in the bathroom.

Me: Right next to the toilet?

Ethan: Yeah!

Me: That is not a sink. It’s a bidet.

Ethan: What’s that?

(Pause)

Matt: It’s European.

Me: Only it’s for when you’re-a-poopin’.

Ethan: WHAT?

Matt: It’s a sink for your bum.

Ethan: 😐

End scene.

(Photo: Zion National Park –  Mt. Carmel Highway Scenic Drive)

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Take Me Out to the Crowd

Last weekend, we took Ethan (age four) to a Bees game, which is the minor league team here in Salt Lake City.  He and I were bonding over our love of hot dogs.  He asked if he could get one for dinner at the game.

“You have to get a hot dog at a baseball game,” I said.  “Anything else would be un-American.”

My boyfriend, Matt (Ethan’s dad), didn’t agree.  “You two enjoy that,” he said, wrinkling his nose at the thought of overpriced and nitrate-loaded junk food.  “I’m getting something else.”

“Is it because you want the terrorists to win?” I asked sarcastically.

Before I could add “Why do you hate America?” Ethan responded.

“Nooooo!” he said.  “You HAVE to root for the BEEEES!”

I bit my cheek to keep from laughing as Matt assured him that we were all pulling for the same team, and then we left to catch our train to the ball park.  Come to think of it, we didn’t really clear the matter up.  Ethan probably spent the entire game thinking that the Salt Lake Bees were playing the Omaha Terrorists.

My Bad.