Sunday, August 29, 2010

Thanks for the vote of confidence

Jackson, 6, Palm Coast, Florida
"Are we going to stay living here until Dad loses his job?"

Saturday, August 28, 2010

A shortcut to pure handsomeness

Max, 3, Santa Monica, California
"Mommy, my hair is bigger. I need a shortcut."

Thursday, August 26, 2010

First-day-of-school salute

It fell on me to wake the two cherubs for the first day of school Monday, Aug. 23. Jackson, 6, and Grant, 4, were snug in their beds and not interested. I tried the gentle tap first. Then, the blanket removal. Finally, the ultimate trick that fools every kid: “Jackson, Grant, wake up! It’s Christmas!”

With his eyes still closed, Jackson said, “No, it isn’t.”

“It’s better than Christmas,” I said. “It’s —”

“It’s worse,” Jackson said.

“I think it’s better,” said Grant, who was trying to be brave on his first day of voluntary pre-kindergarten.

After breakfast, my wife, Hailey, spritzed the boys’ heads with a spray bottle to corral the cowlicks before the boys swung their enormous Lightning McQueen packs on their backs.

On the ride to Grant’s VPK class at Indian Trails Middle School, I thought back to my first day of kindergarten. I was so nervous that while I was riding the bus to school, I made a plan to bawl in my mother’s arms as soon as I got home and convince her not to ever send me again.

To prevent that kind of crisis for Grant, I role-played with him the day before, walking him into the kitchen and pretending to drop him off at school, reassuring him that his mom would be back later to pick him up.

When we entered his Indian Trails classroom, he hung up his backpack and said hello to his new teachers. I stepped back into the hallway and waved goodbye. His face went pale, his bottom lip starting to tremble. I hesitated and waved again, then walked down the hallway. Again, I turned back, watching the shaft of light from his classroom, half expecting him to come running out for one last hug. Part of me wished he would.

I worried about Grant all day. I was planning to go home for lunch, but a meeting went long. I was planning to come home just before dinner, but another meeting kept me away. When I finally saw him just before 8 p.m., I asked how it went.

He grinned and saluted me, his hand on his forehead. “You know what that means?” he asked. “It means, ‘Good.’”

The first day of school wasn’t so traumatic after all. But I doubt I would have made it without those rehearsals in the kitchen.

This column first appeared in The Palm Coast Observer.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Getting the most out of your education

Jackson, 6, Palm Coast, Florida
Dad: How was your first day of school?
Jackson: I went to P.E. I just sat there, doing nothing.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Of brevity and hunger

Matthew, 4, Idaho Falls, Idaho
Matthew, thinking ahead after the evening family prayer: "If we need to say a prayer at breakfast and we're late, I'll say the prayer. ... I say SHORT prayers."

Well, how would YOU describe it?

Grant, 4, Palm Coast, Florida
While getting dressed in the morning, Grant said, "It's an underweary day."

Friday, August 20, 2010

The more, the merrier

Grant, 4, Palm Coast, Florida
"If I had four feet, I would need four shoes. If I had five hands, I could eat five foods."

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

If it walks like a chicken nugget ...

Grant, 4, Palm Coast, Florida
As we were driving through town, Grant said from his car seat, "I just saw a tree that looked like a chicken. Not a food chicken, a real one."

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Funny talk, Part 2

Jackson, 6, Palm Coast, Florida
Speaking of his 9-month-old sister, Jackson said, "I wonder what language Ellie will speak when she's 3 years old."

Listen: He's talking funny talk

Grant, 4, Palm Coast, Florida
After his dad read him a children's book in Spanish, Grant said, "I thought this was made out of real words."

Monday, August 16, 2010

A word for the church-clothes-making gnomes

Jackson, 6, Palm Coast, Florida
"I wish the people that made church clothes would start making church shorts."

Notes from the African safari, part 3

Grant, 4, Palm Coast, Florida
Mom: Does anyone want some cantaloupe?
Grant: No! That's an animal!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

I'm a lumberjack, and I'm OK

Jackson, 6, Palm Coast, Florida
"Dad, if they ever chop down trees to make paper, maybe we could join in. And I could get a kid axe."

On second thought...

Jackson, 6, Palm Coast, Florida
When his mom told him she'd miss him around the house when he went back to school, Jackson said, "Yeah, then you'll have to do all the work."

Let's just practice, instead

Grant, 4, Palm Coast, Florida
"I wish I was 73 years old so I could catch the ball better."

Friday, August 13, 2010

That's one fast baby

Jackson, 6, Palm Coast, Florida
Watching his 9-month-old sister scoot across the living room, Jackson said, "She can crawl like a bullet!"

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Anatomy lesson, part 2

Nathan, 6, Idaho Falls, Idaho
After his younger brother accused him of punching him in the stomach, Nathan defended himself by saying, "Whatever. You punched me in my axe!"

Dad followed the storming Nathan downstairs to learn more. Nathan pointed to his hip and stated, “I have an axe. It’s actually my axel.” When Dad still didn’t get it, Nathan said, “You know, for cars.”

Hiccups 101, part 1

Jackson, 6, Palm Coast, Florida
"Whenever you hiccup, a little bit of protein comes out of your mouth. I guess."

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

So, you like them?

Matthew, 4, Idaho Falls, Idaho
When a single, hard boiled egg was placed in his bowl rather than the usual cereal for breakfast, Matthew exclaimed, "Dad, this is like egg FEAST!"

You can never be too sure

Jackson, 6, Palm Coast, Florida
Jackson asked for the van keys, and then walked through the kitchen and back to the garage. When he came back, he said, "I locked the van doors so that if anyone cuts a hole in our garage door, no one can steal our van."

I get that all the time

Grant, 4, Palm Coast, Florida
First thing in the morning, Grant came out of his bedroom and said, "I heard some typing, and I thought it was a raccoon robot. But it was you."

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Friday, August 6, 2010

Jackson the Jeweler

Jackson, 6, Palm Coast, Florida
Dad: You know what? My wedding ring broke in half.
Jackson: I can make you a new one out of cardboard, if you like.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Yes. And it's also still 90 degrees.

Jackson, 6, Palm Coast, Florida
As we crossed the Florida line heading north, Jackson asked, "Is it 2010 in Georgia, too?"

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Driven to succeed

Grant, 4, Palm Coast, Florida
Screwing a lid on a peanut butter jar, Grant said, "See? I can steer it on."

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Zoom zoom

Grant, 4, Palm Coast, Florida
Instead of saying he wanted to zip up a suitcase, Grant said he wanted to "zoom it up." And what kind of nuts did he eat for lunch? "Mustachios."

Sunday, August 1, 2010

It's all downhill from here

Dylan, 3, Vernon, Connecticut
When asked by his mother what he wants to do when he grows up, Dylan said, "I'm gonna go to work and work hard all day, come home and be tired. I think that's it."

And so we could have tails

Grant, 4, Palm Coast, Florida
"I wish we were tigers, so we could hunt at night."