Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mommiest Moments: March, 2009

“If necessary, I will draft an official letter to the tooth fairy, explaining the circumstances and showing a picture of the gap in your mouth. Perhaps she would accept your appeal.”

--Mommy, to Eric. I am so impressed that Eric managed to lose his first tooth twice! (Fortunately, we found it before bedtime.)

----Okay, in fairness, the tooth came out and he immediately handed it to me. I put it in a ziploc bag and then my purse ate it. The first version sounds better, though.

Eric: George Washington had slaves?

Mommy: Yes.

Eric: Then how did he get elected President?

Mommy: Back then most voters didn't think it was a big deal. That doesn't make it right, of course, since slavery interferes with another person's agency and Heavenly Father--

Eric: [interrupting] So I think that if George Washington had run in the election we just had, he would not have been elected because he owned slaves.

Mommy: That's true. And if Mr. Obama had run back in the first presidential election, he wouldn't have been elected, either.

Eric: Why not?

--I love the innocence of youth. :)

Aunt Cheryl: We are moving the train table downstairs so your Mommy can build some train tracks for the party.

Danny: But the table will not be big enough!

--I appreciated his faith in me. I did, indeed, jump the confines of the table and take up half the living room.

The train set for P.'s birthday party. Danny and his cousin helped and added on to it.

“I was too busy interpreting to listen.”

--Gail. I visited my sister in South Bend and was drafted as an emergency interpreter. I didn't do all that well, but I did better than I expected! Two major hang-ups, though. First, the lesson was about pride. In ASL, “pride,” “courage,” and “strength” are the same sign. Arrrgh. Second, a standard hymn isn't bad, but “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing” would be hard in any language. (How the heck do you sign “Teach me some melodious sonnet/Sung by flaming tongues above”? Maybe make a picture of “Heaven—angels—glory—song—teach me?”) That's my new ASL goal.

Eric: Does .999 equal 1?

Mommy: No.

Eric: But does .33 repeating equal 1/3

Mommy: [Absently] Yes.

Eric: So then .99 repeating should equal 1! I think that is a paradox.

Mommy: Clever. Very clever. And yes, that's a paradox. :)

“Shoo! Shoe! Sock! Boot! Oooh, I bet I could even say, “flat” or “heel.” But imagine saying “shoe” and then, “heel”

--I was hypocritically trying to hurry the children along whilst allowing myself to get distracted.

“I have determined that 5^10 times 2 = 19531250. Is that right?

--Eric. Of course, I had to use pencil and paper to replicate what he did in his head.

“And here are the pieces disassembled...”


Mommy: Patience and...? [suggestive silence]

Danny: [sighing] long-suffering...

[Droning monotone]

“Stay on target...stay on target...”

--Danny to Eric, who was distracted. It sounded exactly like that line from Star Wars.

“I love spring! It makes my allergies start!”

--Danny, cheerfully, while running around the park. He sounded exactly like Carolyn.

“I ambushed you!”


[Playing “black box analysis” game with Eric]

Eric: Oh no! I programmed my black box to add 1 to any input, but instead it's giving an output of zero no matter what! There is a bug in my program! And I hear strange noises! Quick, run away!

--He then clarified that his black box wasn't making the strange noises, it was the scary monsters attacking.

[A few minutes later]

Mommy: I grab the black box and hit the monsters over the head with it.

Eric: And suddenly it starts to work again! Except it is giving very random answers.

--Apparently, the “bang on the machine” principle works even for imaginary devices.

“And this mouth of the cup is the stargate and my tongue is the wormhole and my mouth is the other planet...”


Mommy: Tomorrow is pi day!

Eric: Why?

Mommy: Because it is March 14th! 3/14!

Eric: Oh! It is also Pi's birthday!

Mommy: We should celebrate! We should eat a pie at the birthday party.

Eric: And Euclid's birthday is the same--[pause as Eric reconsiders] is three-point-one-four days later!

Gail: ...I couldn't think of a way to depict “2585” in candles.

Jon: That's simple! Just code it in binary, with lit and unlit candles.

Gail: ...That's...brilliant.

--Unfortunately, it was already too late. 2,585 is as approximation of Pythagorus' age, anyway.

The Pi family, consisting of tiger cub Euclid [right], his father Pythagorus ("Pi") [middle], and step-mother Nannerl (a tabby cat) [left]. They celebrate both Pi day and Pi's birthday. March 14, 2009.

Mommy: I've always wondered what the allegory was for The Horse and His Boy. Moses leading the children of Israel out of Egypt? The personal search for Christ?

Eric: What is it?

Mommy: I don't know. It's open to interpretation.

Eric: But why didn't the writer just say?

Mommy: Because, my own, if writers explained everything, there would be thousands of unemployed literature professors the world over.

E. P.: Your kids are so smart! So gifted! And so patient! And well-behaved! And sweet and cute...

--I flatter myself she was sincere. They really were good that evening. And she was amazing and helpful! Thanks!

[Ronald and Eric were playing “black box.”]

Eric: I input 5

Ronald: 25

Eric: 4

Ronald: 16

Eric: squares!

Ronald: Uh, right!

[Next round]

Eric: 3

Ronald: 27

Eric: 4

Ronald: 64

Eric: cubes!

Ronald: [looks surprised]

[Next round]

Eric: 3,164!

Ronald: [pause]

Gail: Would you like paper and a pencil?

Ronald: Yes.

Eric: Why is it taking so long?

Ronald: Because I have to do a lot of steps. Look, can you give me a smaller number?

Eric: 2,005

Ronald: [takes awhile] Still too large.

Eric: 1024

Ronald: [pause] 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2.

Eric: ...Oh! I think it is the prime factors!

Ronald: [gapes]

“I have discovered there are multiple bridges!”


“Torture the kitty-cat...torture the kitty-cat...”

--Danny, singing. He was taking Nannerl (stuffed cat) and tying her to doorknobs by her tail. This is perfectly normal behavior for little boys, right? Please? I started to intervene, but Danny assured me that she liked it. I think Nannerl suffered enough in her prior incarnation as the daughter of Leopold Mozart, but I figured she would scratch or bite if she really objected.

“For my bedtime story, I want it to be about Pinky and the Brain trying to take over the world by driving everyone over with Bertie the Bus. And Bob the Builder and Handy Manny try to stop them, but they get run over, too...”

--It got even more creative, and violent, but I forget the details. I'm, um, happy that my boys are so masculine. Just in case anyone thought that because they were sweet they were somehow less interested in high-velocity impacts, explosions, violence, and gore.

"Ask an Engineer..." I asked Grandpa Homer for help with some tent poles. I had envisioned some kind of wooden dowel and a base. Grandpa whisked out this
solution, with materials on hand, in less than an hour [left]. The kids enjoyed the final product [right].

[Daniel screams. And screams. And SCREAMS. Piercingly. Gail whips out her phone and dials. After about ten seconds, she assumes Jon has picked up and heard the shrill shrieks.]

Gail: I know how much you miss us and want us to be together again. I just wanted to help you not miss us quite so much. Still in a hurry to to reunite?

Jon: You know, I could wait another week. Or two...

Gail: And once we do arrive, I will be happy to let you re-bond with the kids, without interference, while I take some Gail Time.

[Playing chess with Ronald whilst on sentry duty]

Ronald: Ahem. [Points to Danny lurking suspiciously]

Mommy: Daniel. Leave the lights off and the door open.

Danny: But I want the lights on and the door closed.

Mommy: No.

Danny: But I WANT the lights on and the door closed!

Mommy: I understand what you want, but my answer is still 'no.'

Danny: [crescendoing] No, I NEED the lights on and the door closed!

Mommy: 'And yet, I am unmoved.'

Danny: Mommy! If you don't let me, I will...I will take your book away!

--Fortunately, I had already finished the one he tackled.

Gail: ...And you'll never guess what amazing exhibit is at the childrens' museum right now!

Jon: Um...well, you like castles. And this is for kids, so it probably involves toys...legos? Castles made of legos?

Gail: I..but..How did you know?

Jon: I guessed.

Gail: Am I that predictable?

At the Childrens' Museum: Danny fires a catapult as part of a computer simulation. He designed a lego wall (on a computer) that was thick, curved, and inter-locked. He then pulled back on the catapult, aimed, and fired. His wall held successfully in the simulation. I congratulated his superior engineering skills!

“There is no Bishop in this version of Church.”

--Danny the Apostate, playing “church” by re-enacting Sacrament Meeting.

“This is like the miracle of the loaves and fishes, only reversed. The Lord has miraculously supplied extra mouths.”

--I complained about preparing too much food, and then the missionaries appeared on our doorstep.

I wasn't trying to hurt you; I was only trying to eat you.”

--Mommy, to Danny.

“And it is against the law for missionaries to be impolite!”

--Danny, interrupting a lecture about how he shouldn't complain about dinner, because once he's in the field...

“I don't like working with irrational numbers.”

--Eric, complaining about a math problem. Here he liked numbers because they, unlike people, are so orderly and predictable. I hope he survives this disillusionment.

Danny: [asks a question]

Mommy: Well, one example is...

Danny: Yes, Mommy, but what is the classic example?

Jon: I'm glad we're a family again.

Gail: We were always a family. But I'm glad we're in geographic proximity.

[They hug.]

--My thanks to Grandpa and Grandma Homer for housing us and then helping us reunite with Jon.

“My favorite part was the first few minutes exploring!”

--Eric, answering my question, “What's your favorite part of the new house?”

Above: Carrie's minaret, made at the Lego Castles exhibit.


[Left] Danny stares at a Lego castle with labels. I helped to point out salient features like the trap door and dungeon.

[Right] Eric and Danny pose next to the dragon. Yes, it is made entirely of legos. As I was holding the camera, there is no documentary evidence of my drool.


Carolyn said...

How exactly does "I love spring! It makes my allergies start!” sound exactly like me? I don't like my allergies....

Gail said...

It was his tone of voice. His cheerful, sunny, slightly-sarcastic inflection in the face of adversity.