Presidents of us.

We were talking about what it means to be the President, what they do, what qualities they should have and what the kids would do if they were the President of the hands-down best, but still beautifully and tragically flawed like a legendary warrior or any of the lead characters in Twilight, country on the planet.

Here are my notes. These kids have some good ideas.
P (almost 7), S (5) and R (almost 3).

P: Presidents should be old, because you have to live a long time to know the right thing to do sometimes.  When you’re little, you might know but it’s better to be old. Mama, I can’t wait to be old, but I don’t want you to die. I’m going to be a mother of one [holding up one finger for emphasis] baby when I’m old.  But I want you still to be here.  You’ll be here, right? [This kid dips my heart in gooey sweet caramel every day and takes a giant bite, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.]

S: America is the best country on Earth, but there might be another good country on Pluto which is now a planet again because it [holding up one finger and demonstrating that she listens to her teachers far better than she listens to her parents] is round, [now, two fingers] orbits the sun and [three fingers and a bent pinky at 90 degrees] moves in its own circle [balled up hands circling her face as if she is the sun, which she kind of is to me…when she’s not whining].  They thought Pluto was NOT a planet, but they took a closer look [closing her left eye and looking through a pretend magnifying glass with her right] and, whaddya know, it is a planet.  Um.  Um.  What was the question again?

R: Um. Scooze me. I need food. I soo hungry. [What he lacks in diction and verbs, he makes up for in adorable politeness.]

P: Presidents make rules, right? They should be smart so they make the right rules. If I were the President I would not let people use dangerous machines. [This is a reference to my day job, and a story for another time.] I would also say you cannot cut down anymore trees because if you cut down all the trees, the dangerous animals [I think she meant endangered, but who am I to say?] will have no place to live and it will be a really crazy bad idea because we need trees to breathe. [Man, how I love this kid.]

S: Yes, there are no trees on the moon which is why we can’t breathe on the moon.  Also, wait.  Um.  I remember what I was going to say.  The President should be big like Daddy.

R: I’m big.

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Flags, Ketchup and Dinosaurs.

“All great change in America begins at the dinner table.”  -Ronald Reagan.

We were at the table talking about food and how delicious the zucchini sitting on our plates smelled, when my 4 year old announced with all the force of an Executive Order that she would, from this day forward, only eat foods that were white (sugar, bread, ice cream, the inside of chicken nuggets after the brown is scraped off and mozzarella cheese) and sometimes red (strawberries, watermelon, ketchup and pizza sauce).

The 6 year old told her she should have one more color, to make it look more like the flag.  Blue! Blue would be good, so she should add blueberries to her diet.  The 4 year old agreed with her big sister, “Yes, so my plate looks just like the French flag.”  Here’s how the rest of that convo went:

6: “I meant the American flag.”

4: “Oh, okay.  [Good-natured, chuckle.] Good thing they are both red, white and blue.”

6: “Hmm. That’s strange.  [Picks up fork, then puts it down.] Wait a minute!  The England flag is red, white and blue too.”

4: [Hasn’t touched her fork in 15 minutes.] “I know why they all use the same colors.  It’s because they only had those colors back then.”

6: “I think you’re right.  In olden times they only had primary colors and didn’t know how to mix them yet.”

4: “Yup. [Finally chewing…something white.] Wait.  Then how come the dinosaurs were so many different colors?”

6: “That’s easy.  Because they were extinct before there were people and when they were dead their bones were just white, so the people didn’t get to learn from the dinosaurs that there were so many different colors.”

4: [Pushes forkful of zucchini I’m holding away from her face.] “That’s too bad.  People could have learned a lot from dinosaurs.”

Me: “Yes, they could have learned to eat green things.”

4: “Don’t be silly, mama.  And, I don’t need green to eat vegetables.  I like ketchup.”

Me: “Reagan isn’t the President anymore to the great sorrow of many, including, apparently, you Miss Sassy. [Confused stares looking back at me, so I change direction.] Well look at that. While we were busy discussing flag colors and extinction, your little brother ate all his zucchini.”

4: “That’s because he’s too little to know what tastes good.”

6: “Hey! I like zucchini too!” [Fork dropped. Hands on hips.]

4: “Well, you’re too BIG to know what tastes good!”

6: [Hands still on hips, chest now puffed out.] “I’m big enough to know that you can’t just eat primary colors and survive.  You need to eat all the colors…ALL of them!”

4: [Rolls eyes and sighs audibly.] “You sound like a dinosaur.”

***

We have lots of great change to anticipate in America, if for no other reason than dinner takes roughly 3 hours in our house every night.

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Spirit Animals

We had a chat about spirit animals, and the internet is not my friend.

I have no idea what it was like to answer kids’ questions before the internet.  I’m sure my parents just made things up, just as I do sometimes.  Mostly I answer the best I can and when I don’t know the answer, and there’s wifi available, we all huddle together around a screen and look together.  Of course, I find the right website first, before the screen is turned to the wider audience.  [This is a lesson I learned with Peanut when she was 4 and we were debating whether dinosaurs breathed fire. She agreed that, yes, dragons had fire breath, but refused to concede that dinosaurs did not.  For 10 minutes we talked about the difference between mythical and extinct creatures, until she told me, “I got that, Mom.  But dinosaurs breathed fire too!”  So, I went to the videotape…or rather internet.  I googled dinosaurs and fire, clicked the first result and, lo and behold, there was a creationist educational site that showed a dinosaur and dragon in a fire fight, both shooting flames from their snouts with some exceptional 90s-style CGI. The website explained that all those plants the dinos ate created methane gas that was ignited by electric eel-like sparks in mouths…or something like that. Peanut 1, Mom 0.  Now, I find the site first then share.]

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The Mysteries of Ancient Egypt and Other Bedtime Procrastinations

A 6 year old at bedtime.

8:14 pm
Wait. I have one more question.  I don’t understand what happened to the Ancient Egyptians.  They had everything so together.  They had gold and pyramids.  They had food and lots of beaches to play on. [Mom interjection (“MI”): Well, sand.  They had lots of sand.]  They were beautiful and now they are gone. [MI: Goodnight, sweet pea.]

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