Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Mommiest Moments: July, 2008

Hello again! I have been collecting cute anecdotes all month. It has been a rich harvest, in part because Eric has been tracked out. In fact, I have been irrationally eager for the month to end so I could post some of these gems--so much so that I'm posting a day early.

I am so thoroughly enjoying this process that I begin to think of compiling a "classic quotes" anthology or "greatest hits" list. (Not to be confused with hit lists.)

I would only add that if you actually read this blog (as I know only a select few do), please, please post a comment! Even if it's only "lol." I beg...entreat...implore! The artist in me wants the selfish gratification of knowing that I have made someone--anyone--laugh.

We now return you to the regularly-scheduled broadcast:

"Why is there a sandwich in your shoe?"

--Daddy, interrogating a certain picky eater who has already begun imitate his mother's behavior as a child. (I recall ininventing some very clever strategies to avoid eating certain foods. No doubt this is karmic repayment for what I inflicted upon my own parents.)

Eric: [wailing] Mommy! Danny destroyed my creation before you admired it. When I ask you to admire a creation, you need to come right away! That's why I was trying to get your attention so desperately!
[trying to calm Eric down] Danny, you need to apologize to Eric.

Sorry, Eric. [goes to hug him]

And, Danny, your consequence is that you are not allowed in the play room for one hour. [checks her watch] That means you may not enter the play room until after scriptures and prayers.

[pedantically] Mommy, you mean scriptures and
prayer. Not scriptures and prayers. --I don't know where he gets the penchant for pedantic corrections from, of course.

It's a good thing I know sign language, or else I'd never be able to communicate when I turn into a dog.

Does this happen frequently?

Oh, yes. Also a cat, a bear, a lion, a tiger, and all manner of monsters...

"I am pretending to be Grandma. See? I crashed, and soon I will reboot!"

--Danny. A few weeks earlier, I had used the computer "crashing and rebooting" metaphor to explain an abstract medical issue.

"Oh, thank you. But if you help me, then it would be cheating. [Pause] I'll still let you have tastes and scraps."
--Mommy, explaining, variously, to boys, ghosts, amorphous blobs, and stuffed animals why she had to do her patriotic cake all by herself.

"Last night I turned the fan on and then after a while I turned the fan off. That's called giving the fan a break. And that's a metaphor I really did make up myself! And that's why I sleeped and woke up at a different time."


"Mommy, neither do I want a plano lesson or a swordfight because it is Sunday."
--Danny. "Plano" here is not misspelled, but rather, mispronounced.

Danny: This is my creation. Here is the State of North Carolina where all the good people live. And this is the state of Coloroodo where bad people who won't repent live. It is a prison.
Mommy: Danny, did you happen to have a lesson about what happens after we die in Primary yesterday?
[looking at his mom like she's crazy] No...

[While pushing Danny on the swing]
Danny: And I want a story about Bear and me and Daddy and Eric and Pi all going camping, and it's to the same campground we went before and there are toilets and we pack up our sleeping bags and the tent and food and the campstove and our flashlights...[prattles for a while] 
Mommy: Danny, it sounds like you already told the story, so I don't need to.
No, Mommy! I want YOU to tell the story. And I want it to be about me and Bear and Daddy and Eric and Pi and we all go camping and we pack up all the things we need, like a sleeping bag, and...[reiterates everything]

Well, Danny, I'll do my best. But it will be my story and I don't promise to do everything you suggested.

[cheerfully] Ok.

Once upon a time, Daddy announced, "We are all going to go camping"--

[interupts] Mommy, no! I said boys only!

Mommy: Daniel, I am the one telling this story! So Daddy said, "We are all going to go camping," but Mommy said, "Why don't you take the boys and I'll just stay here?"
Mommy, yes. That's right.

Mommy: [rolls her eyes] So Daddy and Eric and Danny and Bear and Pi packed up everything they'd need, and loaded it in the car--
Mommy! You forgot to say that they packed up their sleeping bags and the tent and...[enumerates, again, the entire list]. [I note that, at no time, did the kid mention water or Gatorade or other drinks. --ed.]

Danny! If you don't stop interrupting, I will not tell the story!

[contritely] Sorry.

Mommy: [finishes story with minimal editing from the peanut gallery]
[We'll just say it was not my best effort and leave it there.]

"Mommy, I never collected my bribe!"
-- Eric. I confess freely that I bribed the children to be good on the trip to Indiana. Twelve-hour or more drive. One adult (me), two boys. You would resort to bribery, too. Admit it. During the drives, Eric considered, "For my bribe, I would like..." with an assortment different direct objects pasted in.

[In a toy store, paying off the mafia lordling.]
Eric: I like this little tiger. It looks like Pi's baby. [pause] Is Pi married? Can he have a baby?

Mommy: Pi isn't married that I know of. Maybe his wife is being held captive in a zoo. Maybe he adopted this baby tiger from a nature preserve in Africa. Maybe he was married, and his wife was killed by hunters and now he's raising their kid as a single father. Maybe he's married and we just haven't found his wife yet, but when we do, I will purchase her freedom and reunite the family. [pause] Wait a minute, you have appropriated Pi as your own. So you decide his backstory!
Eric: I think his wife died and now he's looking for a new wife to help him raise his baby.
Mommy: [muttering suspiciously] I think this is just an excuse to try to buy two tigers instead of one, under the guise of family values.
--We ultimately purchased one Beany Babies tiger. Very cute.

Eric: What can I name the baby tiger?

Mommy: That's up to you.
Eric: I want suggestions.

Mommy: Well, Pi's name stands for Pythagorus and for the irrational number 3.14159. So it would make sense to name his baby something mathematical as well.
Eric: Yes.

Mommy: [laughing with inspiration] How about "Protractor"? That would be awesome!

Eric: Why?
Mommy: Because in my family when we were growing up, Uncle Larry began the tradition of measuring angles with a protractor so we could cut pumpkin pie into exactly equal pieces. That way everyone got a fair ration.

Eric: I want other options.

Mommy: [sighs] Fine. Well, if you want another Greek mathematician who was good with geometry, there was always Euclid. Or, if you want a pun on "pie," like apple pie, there's always "tart".
Eric: I like Euclid.

[Mommy pouts that her brilliant idea of protractor has been turned down, but accepts Eric's right to name his own stuffed animals.] [Murmer murmer Ingratitude mumble murmer]

--Note: We really did that. Geek power! But, in a family of rules lawyers, with an uneven number of children, it was a prudent way of avoiding protracted litigation.

[Inventing a story for Eric's pronunciation practice. The structure works because he's eager to find out what happens next. I despair of getting actual, permanent indents, so I am using this symbol (¶¶¶¶) to indicate a new paragraph.]

¶¶¶¶ ..."The tournament began.
¶¶¶¶ "The young fire-breathing dragon (who was red) couldn't reach the target at 10 yards. He was too young and just couldn't manage the distance. The organizers realized that next year, they should divide the competition into age categories.
¶¶¶¶ "The white ice-breather missed the target, but since he hit the water barrels, everyone was grateful. (It was a scorching hot day.)
¶¶¶¶ "The purple dragon's breath was invisible, but the volunteer standing in front of the designated target began screaming about alien purple penguins, so she passed. The judges awarded extra points for how vividly the poor human was hallucinating about the penguins flying through jello pudding.
¶¶¶¶ "The bright green acid-breather hit the target at 10 yards, but they couldn't tell how close he was to the bulls-eye because the entire thing disintegrated...
¶¶¶¶ "At 20 yards, The acid-breather missed the target.
¶¶¶¶ "The lightning-breathing dragon was the only one left. [building suspense] He took his stance, aimed, and...fired! (Actually, he "discharged across the electric field's charge differential" more than he "fired," but still.)
¶¶¶¶ "He hit the bull's-eye! (That's 60 feet! Very impressive!)
¶¶¶¶ "But then the judges realized that the lightning-breathing dragon had cheated! He had hidden a grounding rod behind the target which was "pulling" the lightning toward it! He was disqualified for using performance-enhancing technology.
¶¶¶¶ "The adolescent, electric-blue, lightning-breathing dragon blushed with embarrassment, which meant red mixed with his blue scales and made him look purple. He was so mortified, he blushed even more and got so hot that he turned almost white. Then he broke out in a nasty heat rash that ruined his complexion, after which his girlfriend dumped him. He was absolutely miserable.
¶¶¶¶ "(Thus we see that cheaters never prosper.)
¶¶¶¶ "So the green acid-breathing dragon won!..."

Danny: [Picks up Bear and plays with him briefly] Mommy, the baby bear is crying! He is hungry.

Mommy: I see. Well, feed him a bottle.

Danny: [Foisting the toy on his mother] No, I want you to do it.

Mommy: You're the one who woke the baby up. He's your responsibility.

Danny: But, Mommy, I am busy. I have Things To Do in my workshop.

"Mommy, maybe you should try camping one time so you get used to it. It really is not scary."
--Danny, giving me the type of encouraging lecture I normally give him.

Jon: [enters, glances at my desk, and raises an eyebrow] More unicorns. They're breeding! They are such hypocrites! And...wait. All these unicorns are girls.

"I am sorting out all the fantasy stuffed animals. Mommy, will you take a picture? And will you post it on your blog?"
--I try to be discreet about the blog. I don't want the kids "performing" to an unseen audience. But once they can read...

From left to right: New Eastern (yet unnamed) dragon; Season the Sea Serpent (obscured, sorry); Luthien (unicorn); unnamed plastic toy unicorn; The Frog Prince; unnamed plastic toy dragon; Pegasus; Reginald ("Reggie"), a flightless dragon; Gandalf the Wizard; Chantelle Chateau (unicorn); metal decorative eastern dragon; Eustace, a flighted dragon; Polgara, also a flighted dragon; and Eric.

"We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates. Indeed we may say we follow the adimission of Paul..."

--Danny, trying to pass of the thirteenth article of faith.

"We believe in being honest to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates..."

--Danny, take II.

Eric, no! Mommy, I only want you to play exclusively with me. Please?


"Last night I had a dream that someone tried to kidnap Bear! I was visiting a synagogue and put Bear down for just a moment and some guy stole Bear, stuffed him in a padded envelope, and addressed it to his little sister. Apparently he wanted to send her a present. Anyway, as soon as I realized I was missing your Bear, I made the poor Rabbi tear the place apart. After two different passes--including digging through a closet full of old, smelly shoes--we finally noticed the envelope, opened it (probably illegally), and rescued Bear."

--Gail, to Danny. I have absolutely no idea why it was a synagogue. I have several Jewish friends -- one of whom is also an agnostic communist (I attended his Bar Mitzvah!) (Don't ask) -- and I swear I am not prejudiced! It might just as easily have been a cathedral. Or a MegaChurch. But, hopefully, not an LDS temple.

Mommy: Did you have any bad dreams last night?
Danny: No, but Bear did.

Mommy: Oh dear! I hope it wasn't about being kidnapped!

Danny: No, he was just walking down the sidewalk and then there was a big wolf who wanted to eat him and chased him but Bear ran away
really fast and so it wasn't actually a BAD dream just a SCARY one.
--(You had to see his hand gestures and hear his inflections to grasp how amazingly cute his rendition was. He's been doing this adorable formal hand-gesturing lately. E.g.: Open palm to the palm symmetrically to the right...clasping them together like an opera singer. It's awesome.)

Mommy: Eric, are you still upset about that incident?

Eric: No, it happened just long enough ago that I have forgotten it.
--It had been about an hour.

Mommy: [Gritting her teeth while playing the Sacrament hymn] Eric, go sit down.

Eric: [standing in full view of the congregation while placing his hymn book down on the top organ manual (keyboard), thus creating dissonance] But I am having trouble following along.
Mommy: [Still playing] Eric. Go. Sit. Down.
Eric: [Wailing] But I am lost! Show me where we are in this song!

--I wish to note that during Eric's distraction, I didn't make any mistakes. (That I recall.) But after he had finally gone back to sit down, it all caught up with me and I lost my concentration briefly. I should also note that I am a much, much better parent when I have my hands free!

Eric: But when you talk about further consequences, it makes me nervous.

Mommy: Good. It ought to. Because there will certainly be further consequences!

[Later that afternoon]
Eric: But what did I do to make me have to spend time in my room?

Mommy: [Gaping, awed by his audacity. And then glaring] You interrupted the Sacrament Hymn!...[Ennumerates the charges against him. At length.]

"Mommy, I was reverent during Sacrament Meeting, only my stomach was not."

"Mommy, do trees drop pollen on cars if they think they are trees that can't grow?"

--Danny. After many tries, I finally ascertained that he was asking if trees deliberately spread their pollen to specific places. And if the trees might possibly be confused into thinking that cars were dwarfed trees. And would they try to pollinate a tree (real or imagined) even if they knew the effort would never, ah, bear fruit. (Couldn't help myself.) At least, I think that's what he was asking.

[In Barnes and Noble]

Mommy: [Gasp of horror] 'They rideth'? ' "I sayeth" '? ' "Taketh them away" '? [Crescendoing shriek] ' "Thou will never passeth" '? Only third person present singular, you fool! I have seen many atrocities committed against Early Modern English grammar, but " 'Thou will never passeth!'" is the worst! [Muttering] I knew there was a reason I distrusted Sponge Bob. This only confirms my suspicions.
Danny: Mommy, will you please keep reading?

Mommy: This is insulting! Terrible research! Complete waste of time! I mean, for a lay person I would overlook it, but the editor ought to be hanged, and the author ought to be drawn and quartered...

Danny: Mommy, will you
please finish the story?
Mommy: Fine. But only so you have the resolution of knowing the ending. [Continues reading, punctuated with comments like "Idiotic conjugation," "Tyndale's translation crucified afresh," and "Modern Mommy as a medieval martyr..."]
[They finish the book.]

Mommy: [Restrains herself, with difficulty, from another lengthy rant.] [Briskly] The end! Hey, look at this book! An interactive chronology of Narnia! Charming!

Danny: [Holding the offensive Sponge Bob Square Pants 'book.'] Can we buy this and take it home?

Mommy: NO. It's devoid of literary merit, stupid characters, no plot, insipid dialogue...[She succumbs to the lengthy rant she had previously surpressed.]

Danny: [Interrupting] Will you read me this Berenstein Bears book?
Mommy: [Taking a deep breath] Fine.
[They compromise by reading several more books, subject to Mommy's veto.]

[Once upon a time, this post also included a quotation from one of Eric's first public school homework assignments. His first grade teacher said to write down something interesting about his home life. Eric wrote something like "In my house we pretend to have one hundred talking stuffed animals." Then he added a footnote. At the bottom of the page, he added, "We actually do have a hundred stuffed animals." There was another line where he ran out of space and added a footnote for the rest of the truncated sentence.

It took several hours to complete the thing, with me sitting on the couch saying "Focus. Focus. Eric, concentrate. What's next?" I did not do it for him, though, and although his handwriting was horrible and his ADD was worse, his spelling, grammar, and punctuation were flawless. Naturally.

Sadly, blogger's formatting is problematic, and at some point, I must have gone back into the text to edit something and accidentally erased Eric's quote. I'm not sure what else is missing and unrecoverable. This makes me leery of messing with old posts where I don't have adequate backup files. It also makes me consider, once again, trying wordpress.] --GHB


Anonymous said...

As the Grandma with the medical condition that causes me to crash and reboot, I love the analogy. I'll probably tell that story to my endocrinologist.


kristine said...

Oh my goodness...

I am chortling so much that Kristi (on the phone with Richard) keeps giving me concerned glances, like I might be dying.

First off, the crash/reboot analogy is hysterical.

Second, why is Colorado a bad state?? I was born in Colorado!! Does that mean Aunt Tyen is a bad person?

Third, when children start demanding their bribes...doesn't that properly qualify as blackmail?

Fourth, I'm glad Danny comprehends that perjury is bad, and instead believes in being honest to magistrates :)

Fifth, Thank you for giving me a new reason to hate Sponge Bob!! What was he trying to do? A Medieval themed episode or something?

Sixth, my stomach often isn't reverent in Sacrament, either.

Seventh, I really love that you freely quote great works of literature to your boys. The vocabulary that gives them is impressive.


Carolyn said...

ack! Sorry! I just posted on Kristi's computer. Please forgive me!