Friday, October 13, 2017

Jurassic Park & Sex Ed.

It really doesn't take much to tie these two subjects together, I promise. Really.

It all began this way...

I came home from work today exhausted from an overly-long shift, but needing to go pick up Hubby. Special Edition, who's down for the weekend, opted to come along.

Middle also asked if she could come, because she "wanted to talk to Daddy."

I was already feeling the burn of aches in both head and right ankle and could not imagine how this wasn't going to help, but I couldn't find a legit reason to say no. So off the three of us went. It was a fairly quiet car ride until Hubby actually got in the car, at which point Middle was full of news and tidbits and stories she was bursting at the seams to share.

Among them was that there is a young boy in her class who is autistic, who did not seem to grasp during a science-class discussion on Jurassic Park that getting eaten by velociraptors was not a fun thing to have happen. Our nephew Mickey is autistic, so it was a bit of a teachable moment regarding this other student—who Middle admitted is cute-like-a-kitten but not boyfriend-cute—and how he compares to her cousin, who she knows a little better.

Middle found herself perplexed about something, though. "I don't understand why I can't watch Jurassic Park."

I was driving still and trying to keep my eyeballs both inside my head and on the road. I remember my father's perceptions of the movie from twenty-some years ago, and it wasn't age-appropriate for a ten-year-old then.

Hubby explained that it was the violence and the gore and the scare factor.

Middle remained unconvinced. "I think it's just stupid. It can't be all that scary."

There was a pause, and then she asked about tree sap turning into amber. "Isn't that how they got the velociraptors?"

Yes, Hubby confirmed, in the movie, scientists extracted dinosaur DNA from mosquitoes and other biting bugs trapped in amber, and cloned the dinosaurs from that DNA.

Middle: Didn't they do that [cloning] with sheep, too?

Hubby: Yes.

Middle: Well, how'd they do it?

I was so glad I was driving and Hubby was having to answer this one.

Hubby: Well, you've learned about cells, right? And the structures inside them?

Middle recited several cell structures for plant cells.

Hubby: There's this stuff called DNA.

Middle: D-what?

Hubby: DNA. It's in your chromosomes. It's the pattern that tells your body how to make you.

Middle: Right.

Hubby: You need both—chromosomes and DNA—to come together to make a dinosaur.

Middle: But how do they get that to get the dinosaur?

Hubby: Well, you know how babies are made, right?

Middle: No.

Poor Hubby. He was banking on Middle at least knowing that it takes a mommy and a daddy whatever to make a baby.

Hubby: Well, the women...the girls...the females have eggs.

Middle: So we're chickens?

I slapped a hand over my mouth and just kept driving, just kept driving, just kept driving...

Hubby: No. [trying desperately not to chuckle] No. These are tiny, tiny eggs.

Middle: I have eggs inside me?

Hubby: Yes, you do. And inside those eggs are your chromosomes.

Middle: Special Edition, you look uncomfortable.

Special Edition: For many reasons.

Hubby: Males also have DNA and chromosomes inside them...

SE: [sighs]

Hubby: ...and you need the chromosomes from the mom and the chromosomes from the dad...

SE: [sighs]

Hubby: ...and you mix them together in order to get a baby.

Middle: And that's what they did to get the dinosaurs?

Hubby: Yes.

Middle: But how did they mix it together? Does he throw up in her mouth or something?

Hubby hooted with laughter. Special Edition could not contain herself and howled.

I sat in the driver's seat and knew I'd missed something important because they were both laughing so hard.

Me: Okay, what did she say? Because I missed it...

SE: [still howling] She asked if he throws up in her mouth...

Middle: Well, I thought maybe it's when they're kissing...

SE: Why am I always here for these conversations?

Hubby chuckled, clearly enjoying Special Edition's discomfort. Middle jumped right on that bandwagon, too.

Middle: So, how do they mix it?

Hubby: Well, you're 10 now. I suppose you should know. You know that boys and girls are different, right?

Middle: I know they have a this and we have a that

I kid you not; that's actually what she said.

Hubby: Did you know that this and that are designed to fit together?

Absolute silence reigned in the car for the next ten seconds, something that hadn't happened in the 28 minutes since we'd picked Hubby up.


Hubby: Maybe we should continue this conversation in the house.

Middle: Can we continue it in your room? And can Special Edition be there too? And do my sisters have to be there? 

As it turned out, Special Edition needed to get a prescription filled at the pharmacy, so we went to go do that while Hubby got to continue discussing velociraptor love.

While we sat and waited, I heard from him...

Middle: Boys have a penis and girls have a Virginia?

All the parenthood win here tonight, folks.

Sunday, October 8, 2017


Today's adventures in parenting:

  • Middle got a HUMONGOUS stuffed animal as a prize at church, who conveniently has a name similar to our oldest cat, thus resulting in a lot of confusion when said cat selectively chooses to hear through his ancient ears.
  • All three nearly out-ate me at lunch.
  • Oldest swallowed a decorative marble, which caused a state of minor emergency, until I called my mother and confirmed that this, too, shall pass. I advise a hefty application of Rule #2 here, but...
  • Dinner is a lather/rinse/repeat of lunch.
  • I sent the kids up to get ready for bed half an hour late, but that's okay, because there's no school tomorrow. I think.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Dinner Jeopardy!

Tonight we did a backwards dinner. It's Hubby's birthday, you see, and he had worship team rehearsal this evening. And despite my prior planning, I did not have dinner ready on time. Or even close to it. Erego, so that Hubby could blow out his candles, have cake, and open presents before he needed to leave, we did that first, and then feasted on spicy honey-glazed chicken tenders, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, and green beans after he left.

Not to worry. I made sure to save some for him.

I just wish I could have saved the dinner conversation for him, in which Middle admitted to a fourth-grade crush last year.

Middle: Mom, do you know know who Legolas Greenleaf is?

Me: I know who he is.

Middle: Is it Legolas Greenleaf, Prince of the Mirkwood or Prince of the Dirkwood?

Me (regretting my lack of committing full Tolkien titles to memory): I don't think it's that, but I really don't remember.

Middle: I think it's Prince of the Mirkwood. (pause) In fourth grade, I had a really big crush on Legolas Greenleaf.

I schooled my features so that I did not react at this little revelation. I simply kept on eating my chicken, and kept my amusement private that every mention of Legolas included both his first and last name, as if we wouldn't recognize him without his last name.
Still a heartthrob for the fifth-grade set.

Me: Well, you realize, it's not so much the character who is handsome. It's the actor portraying the character.

Middle: Whatever. He's HAWT.

I was really sad their father was missing this.

Middle: I kind of want to know what the actor looks like.

I don't dare say she pretty much already knows.

Me: Well, he doesn't have long blond hair.

Middle (aghast): Crap! That was the attractive part! (pause) I'll bet he doesn't have the pointy ears, either, does he?

Me (not at all sorry): Nope.

Middle: Crap!

For those of you playing along at home, I did confess to a Legolas crush of my own (I found that incarnation of Orlando Bloom to be far more attractive than his Will Turner in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies), but I was far more in the Aragorn camp than anything else as a result of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Middle didn't ask, so I didn't tell. Heh.

How we then shifted conversation to The Dukes of Hazzard TV show from the 80s is still a bit of a mystery to me.

Middle: Hey, Momma. Do you remember Luke Duke? And what was the name of the other one—the blond?

Youngest: Who?!

Disgust your daughter when you can, ladies.
Middle: Luke Duke. From the old TV show, The Dukes of Hazzard. And the other one. The blond. Who was he?

Me: Bo.

Middle: Right.

She turned to Youngest.

Middle: Not Luke from Jessie.

Youngest: Ohhhh.

Middle: So, Momma, did you ever have a crush on Luke or Bo?

Me: I liked Luke.

Middle (disgusted): Really?

I just nodded.

Alex, I'll take Ways to Show You're Old for $500, thanks.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

A Precise Definition

Several weeks ago...

Middle: Mom, what does obstinate mean?

Hubby: Go look in the mirror.

Me: Stubborn and unmoving.

Middle grinned impishly and without apology.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Father's Day Vignettes

Father's Day is difficult for me. It's one of three hard days lumped very closely together—Dad's birthday, Father's Day, and the day of Dad's death. They usually fit into the span of less than a week. This year was no different. Even my mom elected to come join us on Father's Day in an effort to stay busy.

However, we needn't have worried too much. My kids provided all the distraction we needed from the day.

First, they performed their own version of a vaudeville show, singing and dancing to several songs. If you've never heard VeggieTales' Mr. Lunt covering Jars of Clay's "Flood," you haven't lived.

Then we sat down to play a rollicking game of Big Picture Apples to Apples.

In the course of the game, these happened:

Me [picking nail polish remnants off the table surface]: It's nail polish.

Middle: Speaking of nail polish, don't look at Kimo's foot.

I looked at Hubby, who looked at me, and I grabbed my go look at Kimo's foot. (Kimo happened to be conveniently snoozing in the dining room, where we were playing.)

Sure enough...

Blue sparkly nail polish. 

Poor Kimo.

*     *     *

Middle [seeing Koa]: Oh, look, it's a cat. Moo. Oh, wait, I mean, meow.

The rest of us: [Unrestrained laughter]

*     *     *

The cards in play:

Hubby [the judge]: There's all these things...and the armadillo. Somehow, I don't think he's useless.

Mom: When it costs you $700 to remove one, armadillos are useless!

(Mom had armadillo problems down in Florida earlier this year. Not a cheap proposition, as she discovered. I really thought my bendy bench—the card you can't see—should've won. Hubby thought it looked comfortable.)

*     *     *

Hubby [reading card]: Ugly. Not pretty, unpleasant, unattractive.

Middle [with snark]: Like you! [beat] Burn!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Ancient History

"Hey, Mom, look at this really old quarter I found!"

I peered at the thing.


I was twelve then.

"I'm older than the quarter!" I exclaimed.

"Whoa," Middle said.

Hubby asked to look at it, and then pointed out it's not so much that it's old as it is beat up.

At least he didn't laugh.

After all, he was older than twelve in 1987.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Amish Summertime

It's that time of year again.

My minions are out of school.

Thus, Amish Summer has come to reign in our house again, and the minions are likely going to be displeased at the changes to this year's regulations.

I realized after I printed the Amish Summer Rules earlier today that my munchkins had used up nearly all tape of every kind (except for my packing tape, which is MINE and is not to be used, under penalty of ... well ... something severe), including all of the blue painter's tape that we buy to keep the short people from ruining our walls with Scotch, Duct, and Packing.

I went to the store.

And I posted the signs (one in the kitchen and one in the den) as soon as I got back.

When I mentioned to a friend on Facebook who was considering a bonfire for her children's electronics that Amish Summer had come, she wanted pictures. Proof. Something. Anything to show what we were doing to cope with the electronics blackout.

I sent her this.

The principles of Amish Summer are pretty simple. We got it from a couple we knew at our last church, who happened to have two teenaged sons who would undoubtedly shrivel up under the flickering glow of the TV and/or games and/or phones without parental interference. The boys were allowed tech up until noon...and then none until the next morning.

So, what you see above is this summer's incarnation. After last summer and allowing chores to be put off until after lunch, and seeing them not get done, that got bumped to before TV time. We are eeeeeeebil parents who will not give our kids their own tablets or phones (hello, you are not-quite-12 and 10.5-times-two; you don't neeeeeeeeed them), so control the TV and that also controls the Wii. And the Atari Throwback.

Also different this summer is the specific TV shutoff time. I left it as a very vague "lunchtime" last year, which didn't work when the kids decided "lunch" would be at 2 p.m. Or whenever.

Don't say it.
Just get an idea out and go.
The 7-a.m. thing is because Oldest is our poptart child and will wake up whenever her body says, "Oh, look, there's sun; it must be morning," even if that hour is before 6.

It is summer vacation. I am not getting up before 7.

Oh. The Jar. You were wondering about that? It's lovely. It keeps me from hearing the three words which are guaranteed to sent me legging it trippingly to crazy faster than anything else. Filled with about 40-odd ideas to un-bored my kids, they consult The Jar to keep them out of mischief and allow me to keep hold of my milligram of sanity. Best thing I did last summer.

We also had a riveting one-sided conversation tonight about exactly what "getting dressed" entails. There has been some confusion, and I wanted to be sure we all understood what has to be worn daily around here.

Our Amish Summer usually lasts until after supper, since the girls are still young. As they get older, we'll get meaner, and the tech ban will persist past bedtime.

We'll see how well this year's iteration of Amish Summer progresses.

I am hopeful.

Possibly also incredibly naive, but hopeful.