Sunday, April 26, 2009

Mommiest Moments: February, 2009

Eric [left] and Danny [right] scale Uncle Ronald's Family Home Evening Staircase Challenge. Almost every pillow, sheet, and blanket in the house were sacrificed to the cause.

Danny: Will you play with me?

Mommy: No. Remember how you got out of bed five times last night and exceeded your “Mommy...” quota? I thought you wanted excessive attention, and the best cure for that is less attention. So I said I would not play with you today.

Danny: I do not need any “Mommies” at bedtime, only I actually want to speak freely.

--Can you believe he just barely turned five?

“Mommy, what is one divided by infinity?”


“When I was seventeen, I decided to take calculus primarily so I could help my children with their math homework. I hadn't expected to need it for another decade, though...and now I don't remember any of it!”

--I ended up just teaching Eric about asymptotic functions and avoiding limits. (Whew!) If I don't remember calculus now, what will I do after another ten years?

How old are they???”

--The staff at the Homer family's dental office. They overheard my math homeschool lesson in the waiting room. I sat and graphed the function y=1/x to answer Eric's question about dividing by infinity.

“I blame their Daddy. His idea of a bedtime story involves circuit diagrams.”

--Grandma Homer, to the aforementioned amazed dental staff. That's not entirely fair. Jon's bedtime stories also include humorous chronicles of a mad-scientist, excited electrons, and, as of April, checking off cub scout requirements. Who says my Aspie-esque engineer lacks imagination?

Worksheet: Put an x over the picture that doesn't belong. [It displays three hats and one boot.]

Danny: And I think these three are all winter things and this one [a baseball hat] is summer so I am crossing it out.

--Not the answer the author was intending, but well-defended. I took it.

Left: Bear prepares for homeschool hopscotch. We color-coded his feet to match the Ls and Rs on the floor.

“...and a circle is a ball! And a square is a box! And a triangle is a pyramid! And a trapezoid is half a pyramid!

--Danny. Wow. Brilliant boy. Awesome spatial sense!

Grandma Homer: Perhaps Heavenly Father gave Danny amazing spatial sense to help compensate for his sensory integration issues.

Gail: ...[gapes]...That's...maybe...I hadn't thought of it like that!

[I told an amusing three-part bedtime story about a language acquisition spell gone awry.]

“Maybe the spell works better for different languages because the interpreter speaks some better than others...Maybe the interpreter could program the spell to have a delayed start...”

--Eric. Aww! He was debugging a spell instead of a program! His imagination is coming right along...(It turned out the spell worked, but only after three days of immersion in the target language.)

“...Thank you, thank you, Sam-I-am.”

--Danny reading Green Eggs and Ham, out loud, in its entirety, with Jon listening on the phone. That was a spectacular parenting moment. He earned his milkshake!

“And this is a bacteria and these are white blood cells and the trampoline is the body and it is sick...”

--Danny, playing with different colored marbles, after a lesson on germs.

“There is a high likelihood that I will go to bed on time if you do not buy me a cookie.”

--Eric, to Grandpa

Danny: Why did Grandpa buy us cookies?

Mommy: Because he's a grandpa. He likes to spoil his grandkids.

Danny: You mean he wants me to be naughty?

--Spoil, not spoil rotten.

“At least I'm allowed to read on Sentry Duty. And I won't hang for sleeping on watch.”

--Gail. I've spent much of the last two weeks parked outside the boys' room to enforce Bedtime Curfew.

“Toilet? Yes. Follow...”

--Danny, the signing star, to A-, a cute Deaf boy, during a play date. In ASL, his grammar was fine.

“Some things are so universal...”

--Gail, watching end-of-visit negotiations between mother and child in ASL. I didn't catch every sign, but I got the gist.

“What's really messed up is having a kid who can read before he's potty trained.”

--Gail, sharing maternal reminiscences with another woman.

“Today is our nonaxdodecatrothalunaversary!”

--Which, being interpreted, meaneth, “the ninth anniversary of the day we got engaged.” Jon sent me a dozen roses to celebrate. What a sweet man.

Jon's roses. February 12, 2009.

[Watching The Pirates of Penzance]

Mommy: [snorts and chokes with laughter]

Eric: Why is that funny?

Mommy: Because he doesn't know how to talk to girls. It is not a good idea to propose by saying, “Are any of you girls so ugly that you're desperate enough to marry me?”

Eric: Why?

Mommy: It is never a good idea to say, hint, imply, or even ask if a girl is ugly.

Eric: Why not?

Mommy: ...Just trust me on this one.

--I neglected to point out the other flaws with Frederick's proposals, like offering to sisters en masse.

[At the statistical psychology lab at Notre Dame]

Eric: Why can't you just use the actual number? [Note: What he meant was the absolute value, or distance from a line, whether that distance is positive or negative]

Steve: Well, we could, but the math would be much more complicated that way.

Eric: Why would the math be more complicated??

Steve: Because it would make a V instead of a line

Eric: But why would that make the math more complicated?

Steve: [Pauses, groping for an answer] Does he know any calculus...?

--I'm flattered he even considered it a possibility! But I expect it will be another year or two.

Mommy: Why are all the lights off in the basement?

Danny: Because there are blind scary monsters down there!

Mommy: But if they're blind, why does it matter if it's dark?

[Watching Seven brides for seven brothers:]

Mommy: Milly yelled at her husband for acting stupid--

Eric: Actually, he wasn't being stupid, just uncivilized

Mommy: [pause] Okay, she yelled at him for leading his brothers into acting like animals

Eric: How...?

Danny: Oh! I know! One brother pretended to be a cat to trick the girl and then he kidnapped her and I think that's how he acted like an animal!

Mommy: [laughing helplessly] Um, that logic is irrefutable. I think additionally, though, that they acted uncivilized because they didn't respect the girls' agency.

Eric: How does kidnapping a girl not respect her agency?

Mommy: Eric. Think about it.

Eric: [stares owlishly for a minute, then shakes his head in defeat]

Eric: [gets frustrated]

Grandpa: Eric, do you want this instead?

Mommy: Eric. We're trying to understand--

Eric: [crying] But first I need to CALM DOWN!

Mommy: [stunned] Okay.

--We gave him some time and space, and he calmed himself down, and then he explained. I felt like singing Hallelujah!

“It wasn't a Mommy moment, exactly, but A- giving me a spontaneous hug was very rewarding.”

“I have no idea how to sign 'He went as a diplomatic envoy to liase with another clan...''”

--Gail, in an email. We were coordinating the cover story as to why Richard the dog wouldn't be around during a play date.

“He thinks that because I can't see him, I can't hear him.”

--Sister G-, about A-. It was cute.

Below: Two of the more intricate train tracks we designed. Remember, it was winter, and the trains were the only big toy we brought to Grandma's house.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Mommiest Moments: January, 2009

Danny, Bear, and some polar bear cousins play in Uncle Ronald's snow cave.

“That wasn't nearly as boring as I thought it would be.”

--Eric, following the first day of home school, which included reading a book and running an obstacle course, all of which he seemed to enjoy very much.

“Eric, I--[pause]...I seem to have lost my audience. Eric! COME HERE!”


“You mean they defused her?”

--Danny, after watching part of a Stargate episode where a character was in danger. He used the term correctly, of course.

Mommy: Come for scriptures.

Danny: [plunking down cheerfully] This is like the gathering of Israel! Because we are gathering!

“Sadly and alas...”

--Danny, sighing resignedly. You had to be there.

Danny: [pointing at screen] Look, the computer doesn't recognize that word.

Mommy: You're right. “Papizan” must not be in its dictionary.

Grandpa: [amazed] Did he just recognize that on the computer?

Mommy: Yes. You'll note, however, that he didn't say “Mommy, you misspelled that word.”

Grandpa: No doubt the result of training.

Mommy: I do occasionally mutter, “I hate it when the computer thinks its smarter than me,” yes.

“But Mommy, we never did an obstacle course!”

--Danny, protesting that home school was obviously still incomplete for the day.

Left: Danny runs a hop-scotch obstacle course after answering a grammar question correctly. All messes are our own, and do not reflect upon Grandma Homer's high house-keeping standards.

“It was a real challenge to manufacture a story that involved spying, adventure, cats, Bob the Builder, dueling with swords, princesses, wicked witches, and trains. But somehow I managed...”

--Gail, after telling a mass-market bedtime story to all six cousins, where each kid got to pick one major thematic element. They even liked it and asked for an encore the next night.

“But when will the roundhouse be outpounded?”

--Danny. His toy had been impounded as a consequence.

“I want to read Bear's biography!”

--My birthday present was a hit!

Danny's Birthday Cake. He chose a house to show we were moving.


--Eric and Danny both quoted, loudly, from a great picture book, Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus. It was a birthday present from Danny's cousins.

[I was getting ready to drop the kids off at my sister's house for a week while I went house-hunting in Austin.]

“Danny pounced me at 7 a.m. Saying “It's time to go to Aunt Cheryl's house!” I drowsily reminded him that we hadn't even packed yet. He disappeared and returned a bit later announcing that he was all packed. And, indeed, when I inspected, he had gotten his pajamas, books, stuffed animals, church clothes, socks, and some shirts and pants stuffed into his suitcase, which was parked next to the front door. I think he only forgot his underwear...”

--Gail. This reminded me of how, when Eric was two, he'd ask to go for a walk and when I'd say “Okay, go get your shoes and socks,” he'd scream at me. Whereas when Danny was two, he'd ask to go on a walk, and then he'd run and get his shoes and socks, Eric's shoes and socks, my shoes, Bear, jackets for everyone, and then stand by the front door gesturing impatiently....

Mommy: Now, remember, Aunt Cheryl might do things a little differently at her house, but you need to be flexible and obey her promptly.

Eric: But what if she tells me to do something wrong?

--I told him that if she actually issued an order which violated his conscience, he should have her call me and I would intercede, if necessary.

“Aunt Gail, will you tell us another funny story?”

--My niece, R-. I'm glad that some people (i.e., nieces and nephews) appreciate my stories. As opposed to others (i.e., my own children) who take them for granted.

[The following series of quotes were related to me by Cheryl. They happened while I was in Austin.]

Aunt Cheryl: Eric, help with the clean-up.

Eric: What will happen if I don't?

Aunt Cheryl: You will not...[names a consequence, like missing dessert]

Eric: [musingly] That is not an effective consequence. I need a different one.

Aunt Cheryl: [looks taken aback]

D-: Eric, if you don't help with the clean-up, you can't play with Dad's dice.

Eric: [meditatively] Okay. That is a good consequence. I will help now.

“Aunt Cheryl, what are three numbers where their squares equal 200?”

--Eric, randomly. Cheryl figured out that the the sum of the squares of 6, 8, and 10 equals 200.

Eric: [casually] Aunt Cheryl? Is this...breakable? Even if dropped from a very high distance?

Aunt Cheryl: Well, no, Eric, that isn't breakable, but I don't think it would fit down the laundry chute.

Eric: [feigns innocence with a look of “Laundry chute? Who said anything about a laundry chute?”]

“I am starting to think that you and my Mom do not just have similar dinner rules, but that you are exactly the same!”


[Gail, house-hunting in Austin]

“That's a closet? I could fit a baby in there!””

[next house]

“That's a closet? I could fit two babies in there!”

[Next house]

“Dude! I could fit triplets in here!”

--We offered on the “triplets” closet. I probably could fit three bassinets in the deep-but-narrow space, though it would be hard to navigate with clothes hanging.

Our current and prospective house. Please pray we can close without incident!

[Driving back from Cheryl's house to Grandma Homer's]

Gail: Awww...Danny and Bear are both asleep.

Ronald: How can you tell that Bear's asleep?

Gail: I'm the Mama. I know these things.

Ronald: [looks dubious]

Gail: I'm the one who changed Bear's diapers!

Ronald: Did you really ever...?

Gail: Oh, yes. I have pictures! [pause] And besides, Bear isn't wiggling. When he's awake, he's ADHD.

Danny: Mommy, how do you make potion of healing?

Mommy: You sub-contract with a wizard.

“Weigt x time = distance”

--A pun Eric made all by himself! He should have been doing a different math assignment, true, but still! It is especially cute because he still doesn't have the /r/ phoneme down and pronounces “weight” and “rate” the same.

“Also, 'Wait times time equals distance....or, in other words, are we there yet?'”

--Grandma Homer, displaying her wit.

Gail: I'm impressed! I gave Danny the problem “four times two” and he did two bunny hops down the number line to arrive at eight! He learned the concept so quickly!

Grandma Homer: [deadpan] Bunnies do multiply rapidly.

[Drooling over an amazing castle-builder's website.]

Gail: Oh, this plan is perfect! It's amazing! If only I had $10 million dollars...

Grandma Homer: [looking at the floor plan] I don't see a special guest bedroom for your mother.

Gail: Well, the servant's quarter's are right here...

--Mom actually hit me! Ow!