Merry Christmas

It’s ridiculously easy to find gifts for a five-year-old boy.

A box of dirt with a pail of water would do.

Just sayin’.

Announcements from Aaron

Aaron had this way of just rattling off whatever’s on his mind. He might pose a rhetorical question and continue right into the answer. Or he might start with a postulate and go right into the proof. Here are a couple of old gems…

Around November of last year, Aaron was really proud that he was learning how to spell. He made the following announcement to us:

I know how to spell “fire.”
H. O. T.

And then he explained about the Thanksgiving play that his preschool was going to put on. He and his best friend Joshua had roles in the play.

You know who’s Quanto?
I’m the hardtack guy.
You know what that means?
It means we’re acting!

A Boy in Every Man

My wife called me at work today to ask, “which LEGO set is yours and which one is for the six-year-old’s birthday? The bulldozer or the Mars Mission one?”

She needed to know which one to wrap up.

The bulldozer is mine.

Scene at the Airport

Aaron and I approach an available sink in the crowded airport bathroom, where the gentleman next to it is brushing his teeth. Aaron asks loudly, to nobody in particular, “Why is he brushing his teeth?”

It makes me smile, but nobody answers him. Everybody ignores everybody else, as is custom in the men’s room.

So he asks again. And he still doesn’t get an answer. He’s more direct with his third attempt. He makes eye contact with the man and asks, “Why are you brushing your teeth?”

The gentleman merely gives the child a foamy smile.

After a short pause, as if to warm up to the gentleman, Aaron says, “I brush my teeth at home.”

There’s another pause, as more wheels turn in Aaron’s head. Then, from a place of pure innocence and logic, “Do you live here?”

Game Face

This is a video of Maddie playing Taiko Drum Master.

Aaron would yell “takoyaki” whenever these little takoyaki would hop across the screen with the notes.  You can’t see what he’s yelling at, so I added some takoyaki to this video, too.

I love watching my kids’ faces as they get deeply involved in whatever they’re doing. That’s what this video is about.

Grand Tradition

In grand tradition, we had the following dialogue the day before Father’s Day:

“Hope you’re not expecting anything this year.”

“Oh, I am.” And I was. I purposefully did not pick up the latest Blade of the Immortal book at the comic book store for myself. I had hopes that my wife saw fit to surprise me with it.

“I have bad news for you. A certain something has been delayed two months.”

“It couldn’t have been Blade of the Immortal, because Lee’s had lots of copies.”

A pained expression appeared on Lillian’s face. “Yes. It’s Blade of the Immortal. Amazon can’t ship it as expected. Is there anything you’d want to exchange with it on the order so that we can keep the Free Shipping discount?”

“Yeah. Replace it with the book iWoz.”

Another pained expression from the wife. “Uh, no. That won’t work!” And she flees up the stairs without another word.

And that’s how I found out what books I’m getting for Father’s Day one day early!

Effective Motivation

Oh, the difference phrasing can make in a word problem!

Maddie rocks at some word problems. Things like, “If you had two balloons and I give you three more, now how many do you have?” Or, “If you have four toys, and I take one away, how many do you have left?”

But last week, Maddie was given a picture of three big balloons, and five small balloons, and asked, “How many more small balloons are there than big balloons?”

All I got was a blank stare. Or maybe a puzzled expression. She just seemed to not get “how many more than” questions.

Then I remembered the motivater. I tried another “how many more than” puzzle.

“Maddie, if I give you three scoops of ice cream, and I give Aaron five scoops of ice cream, is that fair?”

“No!” No hesitation. She’s sure of her answer.

“Why not? How many more scoops does Aaron have?”

Just the slightest pause to calculate, then, “Two!”

Ice cream, you broke through another barrier!

This is your brain on cookies.

For snacktime Aaron was sitting at a table enjoying chocolate chip cookies. He asked his mother, “You know what?”


“My brain is singing a happy song.”

Know What I See?

As we’re driving along, Aaron’s in the back seat, looking at a rural scene on a postcard that he got somewhere.

“You know what I see?”
“A lambpire.”

I try to figure out what he means. Did he mispronounce it, or make up a new word? A lamb empire?  A lamb-umpire? A lamb-…

“You mean a lamb vampire?”

He shows me the postcard, and it’s just a scene of a pig and some hills. He points to the ridge of one of the hills and says that it’s really small. There’s nothing there.

But you know what? I see it too. The hills are teeming with them.


Teaching The Kids Religion

Now that my children are old enough, I’ve been gradually teaching them that there’s more to life than meets the eye. I have a master plan for gradually exposing the mysteries of the universe to them.

The first step is an introduction to the foundations of the mysteries. I’d introduce some rudamentary concepts, and have them repeat the ideas back to me, to make sure they get them right.

I’ve started with, “Obi Wan Kenobi is a good guy. He uses the Light side of the Force.” “Darth Vader is the bad buy. He uses the Dark Side of the Force.”

But whenever I ask them to repeat the sacred teachings back to me, I just get squeals of laughter and this:

“Obi Wan Kenobi lives on the light side of the forest.”
“Darth Vader lives in the dark side of the forest.”