As of this writing, Hazel is two, Henry is four, Rose and Mabel are about to turn seven and eleven, and Isaac is thirteen. And Dean and I are . . . old (and worldly-wise).
Finding it on the dresser, I ask Hazel, “Do you want your birthday pin from Disneyland?” “My birtday party, Disneyland!” she agrees.
Tickling Hazel, Dean makes a discovery. “Who drew on Hazel’s belly?” Nobody answers, but we all look at Mabel. She looks down and grins. I tell her, “Hey, that’s very naughty. We do not draw on our brothers and sisters.” Hazel repeats, “Hey!” “Hey, hey, hey,” says Dean, and Hazel answers, “B!” “C,” says Dean, “ABC, one two three.” “One, two, fwee, four” answers Hazel.
As I’m making lunch, Henry asks, “Can I have a gorilla sandwich?”
“Did you say ‘a gorilla sandwich?'”
“Yeah. Can I have a gorilla sandwich?”
“Do you mean a grilled cheese sandwich?”
“Yeah. I want one of those.”
A couple of weeks ago, seeing the the flowers Dean brought me for Valentine’s Day, Rose asked, “Are roses your favorite flowers?” “I do love roses,” I said. “I love rose flowers, and I love Rose girls. Daddy gave me both kinds of roses.” “Yeah! I’m a Rose! I need to get in some dirt!”
Mabel tells me that she thinks her crush might know that she exists–in fact, she thinks he looked her direction and said her name. “Did you say ‘hi,’ back to him?” “No, I didn’t look at him. I don’t want him to think I like him!”
Isaac reports to me: “I’ve been spending a lot of time on my house in Minecraft. I’ve got the secret entrance, and now when you come in there’s a whole wall of glass with water running down it.” “That’s a very time-consuming home beautification project.” He nods. “Yeah. It’s a lot of work.”
A Yale alumna and recruiter (and friend of mine) talked to Isaac’s 8th-grade class about what it takes to get into Ivy League schools. A few days later Ike brought home an application for an after-school program in which, among other things, he’ll participate in a mock United Nations. Ike told me, “It’s important to have extra-curriculars.” Dean said, “You do realize what this is? It’s public speaking.” Isaac shrugged. I added, “You HATE public speaking.” Isaac tipped his head and shrugged again. “I’ll do it.”
Dean calls me from work. “I’m leaving now, but I’m going to be late.”
“I can tell you’re late, partly because you’re not here, but also because of that note of shame in your voice.”
Dean laughs. “I did read your blog today. Does that help?”
“You did? I don’t know. Did you enjoy it?”
“Next time you should leave a comment.”
After dinner, I tell Dean, “It’s good we took the kids to Disneyland, because they had book smarts, but now they’ll have street smarts.”
Isaac says, “What did you say?”
“Street smarts. You guys had book smarts, but Disneyland will toughen you up.”
Dean adds, “Jostling people’s elbows in line, haggling with the pin traders–”
“Right. Disneyland prepares kids for the big, bad world.”