Friday, April 30, 2010

Anatomy lesson

Grant, 3, Palm Coast, Florida
He learned about the body today while I was at work. When I got home, he said, "Hey, Dad, you know what? Muscles are in your bottom."

Tough call

Matthew, 3, Idaho Falls, Idaho
He's wearing nothing but a shirt and socks, sitting in front of his dresser, pondering one of life's great dilemmas. Finally, he says, "I think I will wear underwear today."

Thursday, April 29, 2010

These are the days

Jackson, 6, Palm Coast, Florida
In his nightly prayer, Jackson said, "Thank you for so many wonderful days in kindergarten."

...and sharp, too

Grant, 3, Palm Coast, Florida
"Dinosaurs have long toenails."

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Nice boosh bash

Lyric, 2, St. Petersburg, Florida
Instead of saying "mustache," he pronounces it "boosh-bash."


Grant, 3, Palm Coast, Florida
Outside, playing catch...
Dad: Throw it right to me, OK?
Grant: (throws)
Dad: (chasing the ball) Whoa!
Dad: Where were you aiming?
Grant: I threw it be-toward you.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Right side in

Grant, 3, Palm Coast, Florida
His mother asked him to make sure his underwear was on the right way. He said it was: "The tag was in the back, and not-the-tag was in the front."

Notes from the safari

Grant, 3, Palm Coast, Florida
World-renowned naturalist Grant travels through the wild, making notes about what he sees. Let's take a look at his notebook...
Day 13 on the African safari. Note: "Rhinos have floppy tail sounds."
Day 68. Note: "Giraffes say, 'go-weech.'"

Copy that

Grant, 3, Palm Coast, Florida
It was meant as an insult, but it didn't come out quite right. Grant said, "You are a puppy cat."

Monday, April 26, 2010

Geography 101

Jackson, 6, Palm Coast, Florida
"China is a real place."

That's amore

Hogan, 5, Marquette, Michigan
He was told to stop putting coins in his mouth because they're germy. He said, "That's not germy." Well, what is germy then? "Holding hands with someone forever."

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Staying in the lines

Grant, 3, Palm Coast, Florida
I’m writing early morning, when Grant stumbles past my door, eyes closed. He’s still asleep. His hair is a forest. Still in his wet pull-up, he lies on the floor next to my chair, spreads out a coloring book and scratches with dried-out markers at pictures of cartoon frogs. At bedtime last night, I yelled at this boy. I hissed. I tell him I’m sorry and I lie next to him to color a frog leg hot pink. I will color until he forgives me. The sun rises in the window and sets again, and he caps a gray marker and uncaps a green. He’s getting better at staying in the lines, he says, and he turns another page.

After the punch, let's play cards

Matthew, 4, Idaho Falls, Idaho
Matthew's 6-year-old brother punched him in the face, and so was forced to write all the ways he will be nice to Matthew in the future. Matthew, miraculously no longer crying, wants to make sure that "Play Go Fish with me" is on the list.

Father and son

Grant, 3, Palm Coast, Florida

Speak your mind

Grant, 3, Palm Coast, Florida
INT. Public restroom. Dad is helping his son wash his hands, when another man walks in.
Grant: Why is he big and fat?
Dad: Shh! Don't say that.
Grant: He is big and fat.
Dad: (coughing)
Grant: He is so big and fat.
Dad: Quiet! Wash your hands and let's go.

Zoological discovery

Jackson, 6, Palm Coast, Florida
The other day he put a Post-It note on my desk that said, "Elephants! Thay eat gras!"

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Hip checked

Grant, 3, Palm Coast, Florida
Tattling against his brother, Grant said, "He just booped me with his bottom."

Go, Polly, Go!

Hannah, 4, Marquette, Michigan
When she sits down to play with her Polly Pockets: "Let's get this party started!"

Lover boy

James, 6 (or 7), Marquette, Michigan
He's older now, but when he was 6 or 7, James said, "When I get married I don't want to kiss my wife, I just want that golden ring."

Friday, April 23, 2010


Scott, 7 months, Santa Fe, New Mexico

I have the power

Grant, 3, Palm Coast, Florida
He said he could open the package of fruit snacks all by himself. He pulled, he tugged, he crinkled. Then he handed them back to me and said, "I can't do it. I don't have the strong power."

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Selective hearing

Jackson, 6, Palm Coast, Florida
Dad: Go outside and get in the car, please.
Jackson: (running past the car and out into the front yard) Yeah!
Dad: Get in the car, please.
Jackson: (plucking) I thought you said to go outside and pick leaves off trees.

A few, a couple, a bit

Jackson, 6, Palm Coast, Florida
"'Endangered' means there used to be a lot, but now there's just a bit."

I'll pass on the ice cream

Jackson, 6, Palm Coast, Florida
"I don’t have to have dessert after dinner every day. I’m not very sweet-toothed.”

The best part of waking up

Daniel, 3, Marquette, Michigan
One morning he and his sister were cuddling with mom and dad, when Daniel pushed his sister away and said, "Move, I want to spit on him." Then he blew a slobbery, wet pplllbbbhhhh kiss on his dad's cheek.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Allergy problem

Nathan, 6, Idaho Falls, Idaho
The family had some friends over, and the parents were enjoying some rare, after-dinner conversation. After several minutes, Nathan walked into the discussion and announced, "I'm allergic to tubas."


Jackson, 6, Palm Coast, Florida
He has been writing questions and asking us to write our answers in response. He wrote a list for Grant, 3, and told him, “You can answer in any language you want.”

Anything you can do

Grant, 3, Palm Coast, Florida
After his brother, Jackson, wore two T-shirts, Grant decided to do him one better. He put on two pairs of socks, two pairs of underwear, two pairs of pants, and two shirts. "This way," he said, "if I get hot, I can take one off."

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Small, but powerful

Grant, 3, Palm Coast, Florida
“I have small legs. I’m still cool, though, with these shorts.”

Shock talk

Jackson, 6, Palm Coast, Florida
I plugged my power cord into the wall, then into my laptop. Jackson said, "Dad, shouldn't you plug it into your laptop first, and then the wall? Because electrons might jump out when you're not looking."

John Lennon?

Jackson, 6, Palm Coast, Florida

Stay strong

Matthew, 3, Idaho Falls, Idaho
His sister came in to wake him up. With his eyes purposefully shut, he cried out, "I'm not waking up until Mom comes."

Monday, April 19, 2010

Self portrait

Grant, 3, Palm Coast, Florida

Boys club for girls

Jackson, 6, Palm Coast, Florida
He made a clubhouse in the living room, with a blanket stretched between two chairs. A sign taped on the blanket said, “Girls welcome.” The back flap of the blanket was the "emergency exit."

Sure you are

Matthew, 3, Idaho Falls, Idaho
Dad: I tried to find some good quotes to send to Uncle Brian, but our kids are just too smart for that.
Matthew: I'm not too smart for anything!

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Elizabeth, 5 months, Palm Coast, Florida
You will not remember my wooden arms, these hands that crowned your head. You will twist and stretch a while, arch your back like a question mark and cough and poke at the air with your flannel feet. You will not remember any of this: the blue-gray window, the silhouettes of trees, the promises we made but knew we could not keep.

New watering can?

Jackson, 6, Palm Coast, Florida
After sprinkling a cup of water on the lawn, Jackson came back in for a refill from the bathroom sink. “I didn’t get the whole yard,” he explained.

… !

Jackson, 6, Palm Coast, Florida
“If someone is exclamationally strong, they’re really strong.”

Always prepared

Grant, 3, Palm Coast, Florida
He took a yellow Post-It note, drew a medal on it, and attached it to his shirt. I asked him what it was for, and he replied, “In case I win something.”

Saturday, April 17, 2010

I changed my mind

Grant, 3, Palm Coast, Florida
Ordering at McDonald's...
Brian: Do you want apples?
Grant: No.
Brian: Do you want chicken nuggets?
Grant: No, I don't want anything. Except apples.

Metabolism explained

Grant, 3, Palm Coast, Florida
Jumping in place, he says, "This is how you hexercise. Hexercising makes you eat faster."

Friday, April 16, 2010

Smiler of a simile

Matthew, 3, Idaho Falls, Idaho
While sitting on the toilet, he called his mom in for help.
"Did you poop?" Mom asked.
"It started to come out, but then it went right back in like a yo-yo!"

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Best in show

Jackson, 6, Palm Coast, Florida
He made a fine paper airplane. It sailed through the air, an impressive craft.
"Let's go down the street," he said, "and see if anyone's having a paper airplane contest."

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Like a dagger

Grant, 3, Palm Coast, Florida
Grant made a bookmark for me this morning, with a note:


Here's what he read: "Dear Dad, I hope you can play with me some time. I hope you won't go to work any more. The end."

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Star Wars digest

Max, 3, Santa Monica, California
Max watches the "numbers" go off into space during Star Wars.
And what do these numbers say, Max?
"Destwoi de ba-guys! And pight dawph mader! And shoot 'im! Pshao! Pshao! I get my wight sabih! Ksh Ksh! That's what it says."

Monday, April 12, 2010

Hold the avalanche

Jackson, 6, Palm Coast, Florida
My son was reading a Berenstain Bears book, and it described many large stones tumbling down a mountain.
Jackson misread a character's reaction: "It's an anchovy!"
No, Jackson, that's "avalanche."

Sunday, April 11, 2010

In the beginning

If you're like me, your children say crazy and funny stuff every day. If only I could remember it all...

Here's my attempt to remember, and also to read what your kids, say, too. These one-liners or stories sometimes hurt me with laughter, and sometimes they just plain hurt, especially when I realize how much more I could be doing to make their childhood experiences happy.

Remembering my own kids' one-liners and the tender-mercy moments, as well as yours, will remind us how great it is to be parents. This is what life is all about.

Here's the first entry. It's a variation on "Stick Figures of Me," the first poem in my chapbook, Winter Walking Home:

In my hotel room, my laptop sleeps next to some stick figures of me. My son's picture books are strewn about the carpet. It's late. I shut off the light and crawl in bed next to him, his body stretching only half the length of the hard mattress. He's snoring: the hiss of hydraulics, a rake through gravel, an ordering rhythm. I could listen for hours, I think. I could listen for hours while he sleeps. I cheat the day by getting up--just for a moment--to jot down some notes for a poem, to keep this moment for another day when I'll need it again.

Check back for daily updates. I'll solicit stories from you, and I welcome e-mails of stories and one-liners, too. Send them to StickFiguresOfUs(at)