Microscopic humming birds, giant lobsters, semipermanent wedgies, and hateful pigs. A month of funnies with Wyatt, age 8; Duncan, age 5; and Milo, almost 3.
“When I grow up, I’m never going to be in a movie where I have to kiss a stranger… or wait, do they use stunt doubles for those kind of parts? You know, so people only have to kiss their husband or wife?”
-Wyatt, age 8
Milo: “Oh, no, my milk falled down.”
Me: “Milo, you need to be careful!”
Milo: “It not my fault!”
Me: “Well then, what happened?”
Milo: “My jus’ sittin’ here— happily—and den… milk falled down.”
It’s the special emphasis on “happily” that does it. I start cracking up. I love that he can use this three-syllable adverb correctly, but he still often leaves out articles and verbs and substitutes “my” for “I”. So, I unzip the bench cushion cover and throw it in the wash happily.
Listening to the radio in the car:
Duncan: “This song makes me feel like I’m smelling something yucky.”
Me: “You mean it stinks?”
Full Court Press
“Mommy, I’m thirsty, I could use the vitamins, I’m feeling a little low blood sugar, it’ll taste good, it has a cap in case I don’t finish it all at once, it’s not too expensive, and the bottle is recyclable.”
-Wyatt asking for orange juice
Me: “Guys, it’s been a long time since I’ve been to this beach. I think it might be one of the ones where people go naked.”
Duncan: “Did you just say ‘naked’?”
Me: “Yeah. So, listen, you might see a naked person and that might feel surprising at first, but remember: it’s no big deal. It’s just the body.”
Wyatt: “So… you mean there might be grown-ups walking around without their pants on?”
Duncan: “And their penises showing?”
Wyatt: “Well, are you even allowed to wear pants?”
Playing with two toy robots, making them talk to each other, Milo bashes the head of one into the other and then narrates their exchange:
“Watch out, Rainbow Robot, my buttheading you! Butt, butt, butt—my butthead you so many times… No, no, Blue Robot, no buttheading allowed ‘round here! Rainbow Robot, my is buttheading robot, my butt everybody heads all times… Bad boy, Blue Robot, you go to butthead timeout now… My sorry, Rainbow Robot, my not butthead you anymore times ever ever!”
Moment of Glory
Milo, recounting a recent accomplishment with wide-eyed wonder: “My sittin’ on potty, jus’ sittin’ and sittin’, and my think poop not comin’ out, and DEN POOP COME OUT! Poop in potty! Dat pretty awesome.”
“May my have chockit chips in my oatmeal?” Milo asks.
“No,” I say.
“But my want chockit chips in my oatmeal!”
The last statement is uttered with such vehemence that Aaron and I can’t help laughing. “Sorry, buddy, we don’t have any chocolate chips,” I say. Milo responds by wailing and walking out of the kitchen.
“I think he might be just a little disappointed,” Aaron says.
“Duncan, when are you just going to accept the fact that I know more than you do and I am usually right?”
“Wyatt, you aren’t usually right because usually I’m even righter than you are!”
Duncan: “It was an accident!”
Me: “What was an accident?”
Duncan: “Milo put his back into my mouth and my teeth accidentally made a mark on it.”
Me: “His back?”
Me: “You mean, you bit him?”
Duncan: “No, no! I mean, he put his back into my teeth and they just closed automatically!”
At the beach, Wyatt comes running out of the waves, shrieking, “Help! I think I saw a lobster!”
“There are no lobsters around here,” I say.
“How do you know?”
“I’m sure of it. They wouldn’t like these big waves.”
“Well, if you’re wrong and I lose a limb, you’re going to feel really bad about that.”
“Lose a limb?”
“I mean, if a lobster pinches my leg off or something.”
“Honey, lobsters cannot take a person’s leg off!”
“Well, then, what do you think those enormous claws are for?”
Wyatt: “When I invent time travel, I’m only going to travel to the future because going back in time is really dangerous.”
Me: “How so?”
Wyatt: “Well, if you change something—like if you just accidentally kill a mouse—you might wipe out thousands of people in the future.”
Duncan: “But, Wyatt, Wyatt, you could be famous! Because if you go back in time, then you can find out what color the dinosaurs really were and you know, everybody always wants to know that!”
The Etiquette of Butt-Cracks
Duncan: “Mommy, help!”
Me: “What is it? Are you okay?”
Duncan [gasping]: “My shorts… they… are… so… so… SO… uncomfortable!”
Me: “Okay, well, honey, I’m driving on the highway at the moment…”
Duncan: “I can’t stand it anymore! Ow! Ow! Ow!”
Me: “Okay, honey, take a deep breath. It would be really hard for me to pull over right now. Can you try to describe to me what is happening?”
Duncan: “Hot… uncomfortable…. sweaty… and uncomfortable.”
Me: “Anything else?”
Me: “I got that.”
Duncan: “I mean, uncomfortable all in one spot. There’s too much shorts and underpants in some parts… and not enough in other parts.”
Wyatt: “I know! I know what he’s talking about! It happens to me sometimes… It’s like, uh, where a bunch of your shorts and your underpants get sort of like, enlodged in your butt crack—I mean not actually into the hole where the poop comes out, but it feels like it’s almost going to— and it’s kind of sweaty and bad and-”
Me: “Wait, hold on a sec, do you mean a wedgie?”
Me: “Why didn’t you just say ‘wedgie’?”
Wyatt: “I couldn’t remember if it was a bad word or not.”
Me (laughing): “You said ‘butt-crack’ to avoid saying ‘wedgie’.”
Wyatt: “Is ‘butt-crack’ a bad word?”
Me: “It’s not great.”
Wyatt: “Well, what’s that part called then?”
Me: “Um… you know? I have no idea.”
Duncan: “HELLLLLLLPPPPPP!! Ow! Ow! Ow!”
Wyatt (all business): Mommy, basically you need to tell Duncan: Do you give him permission to stick his hand in his pants and pick his butt, yes or no? Because if the answer is ‘yes’, then he might be able to fix it. If the answer is ‘no’, then, Duncan, I’m sorry, you’re just going to have to suffer.”
Duncan: “Don’t make me suffer, Mommy!”
Me: “Duncan, I hereby grant you permission to do whatever you need to do to fix your wedgie.”
Duncan (grunting): “Car seat… seat belt… uh… ow… no! Uh… can’t… get it. Whew! That’s better. I almost thought it was a permanent wedgie! Do I have to wash my hand now?”
Me: “I hope not.”
“Are humming birds microscopic, Mommy?”
“Duncan, you know they aren’t microscopic! You’ve seen plenty of humming birds before.”
“Well… I haven’t seen the microscopic ones, so I can’t know if they exist or not.”
“They do not exist.”
“How do you know?”
“Honey, I am positive that microscopic humming birds do not exist. Birds don’t come that small.”
“Not the ones that you’ve seen, you mean.”
“Cuz you can’t see microscopic things.”
“Well, not without a microscope.”
“Well, you haven’t microscoped all the air in the world.”
“That is true.”
“So, that’s why you can’t know for sure about microscopic humming birds. You say: don’t exist. I say: exist.”
Wyatt’s new favorite expression is “news flash”. He uses it in the most banal circumstances, such as, “Mommy, news flash: my zipper is stuck.” Or, “News flash: I’m sweating.” Recently, on leaving the beach, he said, “Mommy, I’ve got a news flash for you: I even have sand on my penis. Do you have any idea what to do about a sandy penis?”
Milo now likes to say, “Wait a minute!” He uses it the way Wyatt uses “news flash”, but often adds the raising of a cautionary hand, signaling that we should all stop and listen to what he needs to say. For example, “Wait a minute! Wait a minute! My not want to go to bed yet!” or “Wait a minute, my want chockit milk!”
At the dinner table, we were having a conversation about advertising, which reminded me of a children’s song about a father recounting his days raising his rambunctious children. I quoted a lyric from the song which goes, “And they took their message from a TV that always said ‘Buy new! Buy more!’ I never saw so many rich children who thought that they were poor.”
“Pork,” Duncan said.
“What?” I said.
“Pork. They thought they were pork.”
“No, Duncan, ‘poor’.”
And just as I finished saying the word “poor”, Duncan added the k-sound to the end, so it came out as “poork”.
Aaron, Wyatt, and I were in hysterics, but Duncan was sticking to his opinion, “It’s pork,” he said. “And also the end of the song is very beautiful.”
So, I let the poor/pork debate be and instead told the story of the rest of the song for Aaron’s benefit, since he has never heard it: the wild children grow up and have families of their own and it gives the father-narrator great pleasure to see them with their own bands of wild children. The last line of the song goes: “Let a firm hand take the rudder, let a firm hand lead the plow, let a gentle hand teach the children to be grateful anyhow.”
“Hateful,” Duncan corrected.
“No, Dunky, it’s grateful!” I said.
“Hateful,” said Duncan.
Giving up on convincing Duncan otherwise, I just laughed, “Oh, such a lovely song about those porky hateful children…”
Wyatt piped up, “Don’t you mean, hateful pigs?”
“Nicely done, Wyatt!” said Aaron, impressed with his quickness. “Very good.”
And then Wyatt, who for glimpses can seem so witty and mature, showed his youth by starting to try to explain exactly why his comment was so funny.
This Just In
Wyatt runs into the kitchen and says, “Mommy, Mommy, guess what? We haven’t broken anything and nobody’s gotten hurt!”
“Um, that sounds good?” I say.
“Yep!” he says and runs off again.
A Giant in His Field
Duncan, stepping off the bathroom scale: “Just what I thought: I’m weightier than Milo.”