April 29, 2011

R.I.P. Bob Molly

Thanks to all of you who have asked about how we have fared in all the southern storms.  We are mostly fine with exception of not having water for three days and a nearby town being destroyed.  I'll update you later when things calm down.

We have had one casualty, "Bob Molly", but he was not a casualty of the storm.  His misfortune was joining our family which is bad luck for most any fish.

Stay tuned

April 20, 2011

The Wrong Kind of Carnival

It was past 9PM, past the children's bedtime, but we were about 40 miles from home after an out-of-town celebration of Julius getting his yellow belt for martial arts.

We drove through a shopping mall parking lot, passing a big red lighted sign that read "Shoe Carnival."

Julius asked, "What's Shoe Carnival?"

Tristan asked, "Do they have bouncy houses there?"

"No," I said. "It's a store that sells shoes."

Both boys sat in silence for a moment and finally Tristan said, "That's not a very good kind of carnival."

(As someone who isn't a big fan of shoes and shoe-buying, I would have to agree.)

April 1, 2011

My Job Description -- The Director's Cut

There's a lot of things people don't tell you about having kids.  They say lame generic things like, "Your life will change" or "Do everything you want now, because you won't be able to do them once you have kids."  They also tell you really nice things like how your life will seem more complete or how they can't imagine life without children. (Those are the people with a startling lack of imagination, because when I try to imagine my life without kids it looks a lot like me sitting on the couch with the remote control getting to watch whatever I want to and not moving for about three days except to get up to pee and fetch more HoHo's from the kitchen.)

Nobody tells you that for the first few months of your child's life you'll smell like vomit all the time, even when you're freshly showered.  Nobody tells you that one day you'll be diapering your child and not have the answer to the question, "Is his penis supposed to look like that?"  Nobody tells you that everything you have planned for your child and your family will probably not come to pass because before you are a parent you are an idealistic boob who doesn't know anything about being a parent.

Don't get me wrong.  None of this should make you feel bad (although it will) because it's just one of those phase transitions from "boob" to "experienced" to "veteran" (when you're a grandparent, I guess).

Last night while I was doing the dishes I ran across another one of those things that falls under the job description of the parent that nobody tells you you're supposed to know. From the living room, barely over the roar of running water, I hear Tristan bellowing to me about how snakes lay eggs.  I leaned back enough to see through the doorway that he was sitting on the couch with an open book on his lap. His "blanky" was wrapped around him and he looked like he was reading (except he can't read yet).

I told him he was right about that and then he yelled back, "Where do the eggs come out?"

"Um... They... Well, uh... somewhere at the back end of the snake."  Honestly, not being well-versed on my snake anatomy I had no idea where the eggs come out.

"Out of their bottom????"

I shut the water off so I could hear him better. "No, not out of their bottoms exactly. Some other part."

I searched my brain for answers. The answer must lie in how snakes reproduce.  Oh hell, how do snakes even make babies?  How can I live in the country and not know how snakes reproduce?  Do they have male and female parts? Do snakes have sex? I stood at the dishdrainer completely perplexed and feeling like I'd hit a bump in the road and, like an old jalopy, part of my brain had fallen out and got left behind by the side of the road.

He continued shouting from the next room, "But I want to say the eggs come out of their bottom!"

"Okay, but I'm telling you that's not right."

"Yes, I am right!"

The good news is that no matter what gets added to your job description as a parent (and amateur herpetologist is part of it) you can easily be rescued by the Internet and work it in to make it look like you're enriching your child's educational experience. It's a great excuse to sit down with your child and look up vital and interesting science things.

Just be aware when you do a Google search the nice and normal scientific search terms you use can lead to some interesting semi-pornographic images coming up on your computer screen while you sit there with your four year old.  And, of course, that can then lead to a lot of other questions that you probably don't have the answer to.