SDG

Things kids say

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Elizabeth, yesterday morning, shortly before we leave for church: "Did Jesus make it so Thomas can't talk?"

Just over a week ago, the twins' kindergarten teacher asked us whether she should discuss Thomas's autism with the class -- and, if so, how. She suggested something that began with a line about how God has made us all different, and we agreed to that. (She told us later that one of the kids had come up to her a day or two later to say, "Thomas said a word to me!" I'm kind of used to adults expressing surprise and delight when Thomas says a word or a phrase that they understand, but hearing that sort of thing from a kid, even indirectly, is still kind of new to me.)

So we figure that Elizabeth, on hearing her kindergarten teacher say that God made everyone different, put two and two together and wondered if Jesus was preventing her twin brother from being able to speak properly.

My wife said something about God sometimes planning things, but things sometimes happening randomly. I added something to the effect that Thomas was learning how to talk (and indeed, he's made significant progress since we started his ABA therapy nearly two years ago), and that Jesus was helping Thomas learn how to talk. (Much, much later in the day, as I was telling my sister about this conversation, it occurred to me that I could have said something along the lines of "Jesus is still making Thomas, just as he is still making all of us...")

Anyway. This was only the latest of the interesting theological questions I've had to discuss with my 5-year-old daughter.

A few weeks ago, we were looking at pictures from my Oma's funeral (which happened two and a half years ago, when the twins were only 3 years old), and Elizabeth asked why we buried my Oma in the ground, and, rather than give her the first answer that came to my mind ("Where ELSE should we have buried her?"), I said something about blood and air and how they need to move around in your body, but when they stop moving around, the body begins to fall apart, so we put my Oma in the ground so that she could wait there for Jesus to bring her back from the dead.

Later that day, I walked into the room as Elizabeth was finishing a prayer. I asked what she was saying, and she declined to answer, saying her prayer was "private" -- but then she told me anyway, a few minutes later. She said she had told Jesus she wanted him to come back now -- and I worried, a bit, because my daughter can be rather impatient, and I didn't want her to set herself up for disappointment. But, on the other hand, the desire to see Christ's return is an established part of the Church, going back to our earliest days, and I told my daughter all about the Hebrew or Aramaic expression "Marana tha", which means something like "Lord, come".

And while I was talking to my daughter about this, her twin brother -- the autistic one -- suddenly held a book up, pointed at a picture of two chickens (one of which was actually a cross-section of a hen, showing where eggs come from), and shouted enthusiastically, "Daddy chicken! Mommy chicken! Egg! Hole!"

So here I was having this wonderfully complicated biological-theological-linguistic-eschatological chitchat with one of my 5-year-olds, and my other 5-year-old was yelling about a chicken's egg-hole. The contrast made me laugh.

Side note: I took the twins to see Dolphin Tale on Saturday, and on the drive home, Elizabeth asked me why the people in the movie had to cut off the dolphin's real tail, and I began by harking back to our conversation about my Oma's death, saying, "Do you remember when we were talking about blood and how it moves around your body...?" And so we talked about circulation and gangrene and whatnot. Fun stuff. And I especially like the way current conversations are building on those older ones.

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

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Wow. Peter, that's some great stuff. I'd love to meet your kids, although I don't foresee it happening anytime soon.

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Simon: "In a few weeks I'll be good."

Not ideal, but at least we have a timeline.

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"Duck!"

Sorry, that's all I've got at this point. Still, I think it's pretty cool that Rory says this and smiles whenever she sees a duck.

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Darren: Nice!

Catie (2 1/2), asking for a Hershey's Kiss: "I want that chocolate that looks like a little mountain."

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I was talking with a friend of mine last night, and he had a doozy.

His oldest son, who is in second grade, decided one day that they were going to build an airplane. At first, my friend thought he meant a toy plane, or something that looked like a plane, but his son meant a real plane that they could actually fly. So they went out to the garage and started getting the necessary materials. As they were "building" the plane, my friend pointed out that they didn't have anything for the wings, and his son began to realize that his plans might've been a bit too ambitious. My friend, not wanting his son to feel bad, tried to explain how people who want to build airplanes have to go to college for a long time first, that they need to work with lots of other people who went to college to learn how to build airplanes, and that they also needs lots of money.

His son's response: "Dad, why won't you believe in me?"

Amazing how kids know just the right thing to say to twist a knife in your heart, and the right time to say it.

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Renae: How can you have new ear boogers [Ed. our term for earwax] every day? Do you make them?

Simon: No, my ears make them.

Renae: Do you tell your ears to make them?

Simon: No, Jesus just made my ears that way.

Edited by opus

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Sebastian has never hesitated to participate in Halloween. He's been a cow (at 16 months of age, in Copenhagen), a pterodactyl, a dragon, a fireman, and an astronaut. This year, however, was different. Whenever we asked what he wanted to be for Halloween, he'd reply: "I just want to be a boy."

So we made an executive decision: we procured a Pinocchio costume. He just wanted to be a boy, after all. Sebastian enjoyed wearing the costume and the makeup, but even while I was dressing him for Halloween he kept saying, "Don't change my name." He didn't mind looking like Pinocchio but didn't want to be called anything other than Sebastian. Not certain what all of this means, but it's ... interesting. Today he went off to school dressed like Steve Jobs.

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Renae, talking to Simon about his baby sister (who we have decided to name Clara).

Simon: I will marry Clara when she grows up.

Renae: No honey, you can't marry your sister.

Simon: Why not? Will she marry someone else?

Renae: Yep, she will marry a handsome boy who loves Jesus.

Simon: I AM a handsome boy who loves Jesus.

Edited by opus

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Bella: "You know, dad. I think [Howl's] Moving Castle and The Secret of Kells are the best movies I have ever seen. I mean, I like other movies like Tangled, but these are the two movies I want to watch over and over again."

Me: *sniff

Edited by M. Leary

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Well done, sir.

Simon to Renae, who had just got a haircut: "Your head looks nice, Mommy. Not as bad as yesterday."

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Simon, after holding Clara for 45 minutes one afternoon: “Mommy, can you take her now? The ankle of my arm hurts, and I’m hot because she’s such a snugglebug.”

And I have sneaking suspicion that, given how much he tries to make deals and find loopholes in situations, Simon will either be a politician or a salesman. For example, he had to get shots a few weeks back, and he tried talking his way out of them by saying "Let's make a different plan. I don't need those shots because I don't get that kind of sick. I only get the phlegm."

He's also developing a bit of a sense of humor. Renae made a comment that Clara needed a bath because she was getting crusty. His response: "She’s crustier than a pizza!"

Edited by opus

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Addison (age 3 tomorrow) on a walk this morning:

"I like lady bugs, but I don't like real bugs"

"Mommy says I can do (insert a long list of things she wants to do) when I'm a big girl. I'll be a big girl when I'm 6"

"I have rocks in my nose" (they were boogers)

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We have finally figured out with the help of a good pathologist that our little two year old guy has an oral motor problem that has affected his speech and ability to eat. Basically, he is not able to use his tongue yet for some reason - but we are going to be able to help him gain that physical control relatively quickly.

The problem is he is an extremely expressive and communicative person, which has made his inability to form words well very frustrating for him. As a result, he has discovered a mechanism for communication that serves as a workaround.

He uses facial expression and body language to tell us how he is feeling and what he is thinking.

Instead of speaking, he has learned to contort his face into many different expressions that make you understand exactly what he is trying to tell you. Nothing is better than his wow face. He has different sets of exaggerated body language that mimic his current emotional state. For example, when I ask him to do a small chore that he doesn't like, he drops his head and shoulders like Charlie Brown and begins lumbering around like an old man. When frightened by something, his entire body shuffles into a request for a hug while he pointedly turns his back to the direction of his anxiety. When trying to make you laugh, he rolls into a slapstick routine with whatever is on hand. He has a little repertoire of these stock movements.

So we essentially have a little Charlie Chaplin in our house. I can't wait for him to beging talking with us, but I will always treasure this comedy he has brought into our lives.

Edited by M. Leary

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Dominic (6) and Eric (4) recently received two beta fish. Dom's is named "Mars", and, as you might suspect, is a crimson red. Eric's, tellingly, is named "Blue Mars". The other day, Mars died while Dom was at school.

In kindergarten, Dom journals--it's a delight to see his little one or two sentence stories, accompanied by six year old artistry. On his return home from school the day Mars died, he'd brought one of his journals home. Before my wife could break the news about Mars, Dom began to read the journal to Eric and his mom. He reached a page with the following story, accompanied by a little sketch of a blue blob and a red blob.

"I hav a red Betta fish. His name is Marz. Eric has a blu Betta fish. It is named Blu Marz."

Eric interrupted matter of factly, as if he was commenting on the day's local news. "Oh, your fish? It died."

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Double-header:

1. The next-to-last chapter/story in A Visit from the Goon Squad is a PowerPoint presentation on pauses in rock songs prepared by a twelve year-old girl. The intricate structure struck me as a bit too precocious, and the whole exercise seemed a bit tedious. This, I suppose, was meant to give me a foretaste of what awaited Ali and I a few weeks later from our twelve year-old:

http://prezi.com/ykl-rvn6xulk/reasons-why-i-should-get-a-cell-phone/

2. We just returned from vacation on Wednesday, and my 8 year-old daughter Virginia came with me to retrieve my car from the office. I went inside the building to see the volume of mail I'd received over the past week, and when it was time to leave, she exited with me, then doubled back to my office for reasons unclear to me. When I got into the office yesterday morning, I had a yellow post-it note on the edge of my desk-- usually a sign to see somebody or call somebody. It read: "I love you and can't wait to see you--Virginia." At 7:45 a.m., I was tearing up.

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Double-header:

1. The next-to-last chapter/story in A Visit from the Goon Squad is a PowerPoint presentation on pauses in rock songs prepared by a twelve year-old girl. The intricate structure struck me as a bit too precocious, and the whole exercise seemed a bit tedious. This, I suppose, was meant to give me a foretaste of what awaited Ali and I a few weeks later from our twelve year-old:

http://prezi.com/ykl-rvn6xulk/reasons-why-i-should-get-a-cell-phone/

I am convinced that purchasing the phone for her would be a good idea. (I loved the downsell at the end where she identifies more expensive phones she does not want. Brilliant move.)

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Russ, you gotta buy her a phone, if for no other reason than because, at the age of 12, she's already mastered the use of the apostrophe. Virginia's note almost made me tear up, and I've never even met her.

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My objections at this point are non-economic-- they're just timing and propriety. She and a neighbor have a dog-watching/walking business that generates enough money for her to buy the thing herself. She just needs Ali and I to stop telling her to wait.

And I said the same thing to Ali, Darren-- I saw a typo and a misspelling in there, but getting the apostrophe right compensated in full.

Edited by Russ

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On April 17, 2012, Simon told me, and I quote, "I can do what I want." I feel like we've passed a parenting milestone.

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I caught a preview of Chimpanzee with my daughter the other day, and, during the end credits, the film gives you a bit of a glimpse of the scientists and filmmakers at work actually making the film.

My daughter suddenly had a surprised look on her face, and she said, "Are those real cameras? Is this REAL?" Yes, I said. "Can we go home and tell Mommy that they made this with real cameras?" Yes, I said. And so we did.

I just get a kick out of the fact that she thought the chimps and monkeys and whatnot might NOT have been real. (What, did she think it was all CGI?)

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Simon has a dance class every Thursday, and though he loves it -- it's taught by a very close friend of ours who is one of his honorary aunts -- it's always a struggle to get him to go.

This last week, after a particularly nasty meltdown, Simon offered an explanation for his actions once he (finally) got to class…

"Well, sometimes my big brain just gets it wrong. And then when I get there, my brain turns into the right thing."

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About an hour ago -- Toby (8) "There's cradles on the Moon" -- instantly 'corrected' by Kian (7) -- "No, they're critters!"

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My daughter, 6, upon coming home from school a few days ago and seeing that I had vacuumed the place: "It's so clean! Oo la la!" (And oh, how I wish there was a way to type the particular inflection with which she said "Oo la la!".)

My daughter, when I asked her about a week ago if she would be interested in a summer day camp where the kids do arts and crafts: "Arts and crafts are the SAME THING! Art is when you make something, and crafts are when you make something!" She did seem a little put out by the fact that I was using seemingly redundant terminology.

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Simon recently got a baseball bat from his grandparents, so I've been teaching him how to hit a ball -- and more importantly at this stage, how to make sure that he's not swinging the bat when others, i.e., his younger brother, are nearby. We were recently practicing, and I reminded him yet again to make sure that his brother wasn't nearby because otherwise, he could hit him in the head and really hurt him.

To which Ian, who was outside (but not near Simon, for what it's worth), responded, as sweetly and guilelessly as you could imagine, "And then I would die."

Cue exchange of horrified looks between my wife and I while Ian just sat there, sweet as could be...

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