# Math, penises, impaired visual memory and existential angst

I.

Somewhere, in the math word problem instructions, was the phrase “be as creative as you like.” Oops. Here comes Flora:

Question: There are five elephants at the zoo. How many big elephant ears are there in the zoo herd?

Answer: There are nine ears, because Bill the male elephant only has one ear. He lost the other one when the zookeepers were rescuing him during the flood. This is a terrible tragedy, especially as all the other elephants make fun of him. You might think elephants are all cute and kind, but some of them are evil bastards.

And, here comes Cinder:

Question: Farmer Jones’ field is 167 m long and 4 m wide. Calculate the perimeter ( P ) and area ( A ).

Answer: P = ENIS A = SS.

II.

Speaking of penises (and when don’t I?), we’re renovating our bathroom. Because we’re insane and the reconstruction in the basement isn’t enough (actually, truly: it was a sanity-saving move: this one small thing, we can do and get done NOW). We’re en route to one of those horrid stores full of home renovation crap* and Sean asks me what kind of faucet I want. I stare at him blankly.

Sean: You know there are different kinds of faucets.

Jane: Um… sure. Yeah.

Sean: Do you want one that’s like the one we have now, or do you want something different?

I spare you the long technical and thoroughly incomprehensible to me description of European versus North American faucet styles and why this matters that follows, and jump to this: I am trying, very hard, to visualize our current sink and faucet, the place where I wash my hands and brush my teeth several times a day and have done so for eight, nine years? What does our sink look like? I’m fairly sure it’s white… possibly that colour they call ecru or ivory… round? Aren’t most sinks round? And the faucet? Christ. It’s just a faucet. Water comes out of it. I gather that one of the things my considerate beloved is trying to determine is whether I want a faucet with two separate hot-and-cold taps or one swivel tap. I close my eyes. Concentrate. I have no fucking clue what our faucet looks like. He reads my mind…

Sean: You have no idea what our faucet looks like?

The kids howl.

Jane: Fine, laugh. What do you think our faucet looks like?

Flora: It’s this dark shade of silver, with a beautiful curve. A line of green just around its base.** It’s just high enough that it reflects in the mirror, and when the taps are turned off, the cold one points at Ender’s collection of orange tooth brushes and the hot one at that weird splotch of red that you say is not blood on the wall beside the toilet.***

Cinder: That is not what Mom wants to know. The faucet has three holes, and they’re less than an inch way from the back splash… and probably eight inches apart from each other―I mean the outside two. And the sink is just over three feet high, and not quite two feet deep and 30 inches―no, actually, probably only 26 inches long.

Ender, paying intense attention to the conversation, shakes his head. And jumps in…

Ender: Our faucet looks like a penis.

Cinder: Actually, I’d like to change my answer to Ender’s.

Flora: I hate to ever agree with the boys, Mom, but yeah, Ender’s right. Our faucet looks like a penis.

Apparently, so does the new one.

Or so they tell me. When I close my eyes and try to see it… all I see is flowing water…

III.

Flora: Mom? What do adults talk about when there are no kids around?

Jane: Existential angst.

Flora: What’s that?

Jane: I think… it’s like trying to figure out who the heck you want to be when you grow up. Except that you’re already grown up, and so you feel like you should have figured this out already. But you haven’t. But you think you should…

Flora: But aren’t you just you?

Jane: What?

Flora: Well, I’m a kid. But I’m me. And when I grow up, maybe I’ll be a veterinarian. Or a painter. Or something. But I’ll still be me, right?

Right. And so… is that what existential angst is? Thinking that being you―being me―just isn’t enough?

xoxo
“Jane”

PS For those of you who’ve been unfortunate enough to witness me hitting my head against a brick wall last week: I’m not quite ready for the sledge hammer, but I’ve found me a rope ladder… Don’t get the reference? Then you’ve missed “I just want my kids to be happy.” Really? I don’t, and here’s why.

Next week: why I think “The CEO has a uterus―no, wait, he doesn’t but half his workforce does” is the most important thing I’ve ever written (as my real self), and why you―yes, you―need to go change the work world.****

Footnotes galore

*I know you love those stores. I don’t. They smell. They’re too full of stuff. Worse, it’s all―well, a lot of it―stuff I need, because a third of my house is still a skeleton of its former self. Now what have you done? I’m all post-flood weepy again… OK. Moving on…

**The green is a deposit of limestone, because… crappy housekeeper. I know you think you are―I really am.

***It’s not blood. I promise. You don’t want to know what it is… but it’s not blood.

****Having a split on-line/writing personality is getting incredibly onerous. If you’re thinking of doing it: don’t. It leads to mild on-line schizophrenia, has bizarre implications on your real life, and reintegration is a bitch.

Looking for me?  Go to the for-stalkers-and-bloggers-and-no-I’m-a-real-sane-fan! section: Find “Jane”

# Drama-trauma-shwama: the boys are just the same

The most beautiful city in the world–that would be Calgary, Alberta, but you can call us YYC cause we’re so freakin’ hip–has the most beautiful view in the world, especially to the west: dramatic peaks of the Rocky Mountains, which keep their snow caps on throughout the summer most years, and certainly are wearing white hats in the first weeks of July.

But not this year. This year, the snow caps are gone, gone, gone–which, I suppose, explains the flood, at least partly. And as we are driving into this beautiful, beautiful view (it is, finally, a hot, hot, rain-free day in YYC and I’m taking the children in search of some sewage-free water… but, um, that’s also another story), Cinder, my 11 year-old, looks at its beauty, sighs with contentment, and says:

Cinder: The mountains are totally naked.

And it’s one of those “teaching” moments life thrusts at us, right? And I ponder, what should I say? How direct do I need to make the link between the lack of those snow caps and our flood, and do I need to go into climate change and global warming and do I need to talk about the politics around climate change research and the theories that emphasize thousand-plus year weather patterns and maybe I shouldn’t say anything at all, because Keerist, these children have had a rough three weeks, and they’re finally sleeping and do I really want to…

… when Ender, my three-and-a-half year old pipes in with:

Ender: Are the mountains naked because they want to take a bath?

And both boys howl, howl, like this is the funniest thing ever, and then:

Cinder: They stripped naked and then cannon-balled into the rivers, and splashed and…

Ender: And they splashed us, and that’s why we had the flood!

And they laugh, and laugh, and laugh, and then…

Cinder: Perverted mountains. They really should get dressed.

Ender: Look! I can see that mountain’s penis!

So, you know, the collective PTSD of their flooded community aside… I think the boys are gonna be just fine.

If you’re a Calgarian stumbling onto this blog for the first time, you are probably looking for unLessons from the Flood: We are amazing

If you’re a regular reader thrilled to see me back but wondering if I’m going to inflict flood stories on you forever and ever going forward… I’ll probably get over it. Eventually. But it was kind of an epic event around here, you know. If you need a flood antidote,  go read me rant about sex or that crazy viral post of mine about the biggest lie inflicted on parents or, ooh, I know, how about that post when I reveal the ultimate secret behind parenting?

But, point: even post-flood, I bring you penis stories, courtesy of Cinder and Ender. So, you know we really are gonna be all right.

I’ve been a terrible blogging sister over the past three weeks, and as we recover from the adrenaline rush and work on rebuilding and all that, I’ll be a terrible blogging sister still. But here are some beautiful posts from this week that have graced my in-box. And that have nothing to do with floods. Or penises. And are written by beautiful, talented people:

Sarah Almond at The Sadder But Wiser Girl tells you you might have superpowers. Do you? Find out.

Jen Kehl at The Skewed View wrote something… totally different. Sabra. Powerful. Inspiring. Neither about floods or parenting. Enjoy.

Stephanie Sprenger searchers for her tribe on The Her Stories Project.

Kristi Campbell at Finding Ninee introduces you to a new blogger in her continuing, amazing Land of Compassion series.

Kimberly at All Work And No Play Make Mama Go Something Something tantalizes you with Part I of Popcorn for the Brave.

The award for grossest thing in my in-box goes to Deni the Reluctant Mother at Den State: Keeping Things in Perspective. I won’t spoil it for you. Read it. Gag. It’s a rare blogger who can outgross the mother of Cinder and Ender. Congratulations, D.

xoxo

“Jane”

(Photo credit, via Zemanta, Vlatsula)

# Poisonous Volvo, Redux

We were uber-heavy on Tuesday, weren’t we? Today, you need to laugh, as do I. Actually–a little secret–as you read this, I’m locked in a hotel room in Banff with my laptop. Wrestling with existential angst. And winning. Meanwhile, for you, from Life’s Archives (December 9, 2006, and first appearing on Nothing By The Book on May 22, 2012), I present… Poisonous Volvo. Flora’s 2.5 and Cinder is five (Ender is still undreamt-of cosmic dust). They’re in the tub. And, cue action:

WAIT! Stop! Warning: yes, this is one of those penis stories. I have warned you, have I not, I am never profound and wise on Fridays? OK. Penis warning completed.  Read on.

Cinder: Flora, stop trying to grab my penis. Flora! No! Stop!

Flora: hee hee hee

Cinder: It’s poisonous. Poisonous! Like the giant red milipedes in the South American rainforest!

Flora: hee hee hee

Cinder: It will bite you!

Flora: hee hee hee

Cinder: OK, Flora, I know you want to play with it. But you can’t. Only I can play with it. Play with your own.

Flora: Oh… no pee pee!! Brother! No pee pee?

Cinder: Oh, I forgot, you don’t have one. Well, maybe one day, if you are very good, I’ll let you borrow mine. If I can. Mom! (I’m in the next room) Can I borrow my penis to Flora for a while?

Jane: Um… no. It doesn’t work like that.

Cinder: I didn’t think so. Well, sorry, Flora.

Flora: No pee pee? Why?

Cinder: Don’t worry, Flora. I’m sure we can think of something fun to do with your… Mom! What’s Flora’s not-a-penis called?

Jane: Um… (Still haven’t decided if Flora should have a Volvo or a Gavina… OK, I know she has BOTH, but you know what I mean. Go for the Volvo today) A vulva.

Cinder: We can think of something fun to do with your vulva. Hmm. Let me think. Maybe we could attach something to it?

Flora: Yeaah!

Cinder: Or… we could stick something in it.

Flora: Nooooo.

That’s right, sweetie. You should keep on thinking that for another 15 years, okay ma-baby? Twenty, if you want to make your Daddy happy…

But wait. It’s not over yet. The next day…

Cinder: Flora! I will smite you with my poisonous penis!

Flora: Aaaaah! Run! Run!

You might think this is the punch line. But it’s not.

Sean: Well, if Flora turns out to be gay, we’ll know why.

Jane: Sean!

Sean: What? I think it would make the teen years a lot easier, don’t you?

Jane: Sean!

Sean: What? All I’m saying is, if she ends up a lesbian, being chased by her brother’s poisonous penis may be one of the reasons. And don’t you think you’d worry less about boys and teen pregnancy and all that?

Jane: What are you…

The punchline is coming… NOW:

Cinder: Ok, Flora. Now it’s your turn to smite me with your poisonous volvo.

Flora: Aaaaah! Run! Run!

The genitalia of the Callosobruchus analis beetle. It is covered in spines from base to tip. Referenced in Rönn, J., Katvala, M. & Arnqvist, G. 2007. Coevolution between harmful male genitalia and female resistance in seed beetles. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 104, 10921-1092. and Hotzy, C. & Arnqvist, G. 2009. Sperm competition favors harmful males in seed beetles. Current Biology 19, 404-407. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Note: you are none of you allowed to make any kinds of connections between this post and Tuesday’s body image post. NONE. Thank you.

But speaking of which…

As you may have noticed,  Nothing By The Book’s Tuesday post  “Please don’t give my daughter an eating disorder. But you will. Yes, you will…”  set off a bit of an maelstrom. If you haven’t read it yet, and you’ve got a girl… or a body… give it a read. And if you do, spend some time on the comments, especially that by Tirzah Duncan of The Inkcaster.

And if you’ve got daughters and body image issues weigh heavily on your mind, check out these posts the commentators wrote/forwarded to me in the resulting discussion:

Introduction to Eating Disorders by Urban Moo Cow — Deb didn’t have any issues with her body… until her encounter with this whacked teacher

Body Image by Tao of Poop — Rachel’s daughter still loves her belly. For how much longer?

and, wow, this one:

My body is amazing from Villainy Loveless — this one arrived in my in-box via Tarot by Janine the day I was being ripped to shreds for my body image post on Reddit. Thanks, Villainy. Much love and appreciation.

And a big thank you for those of you who defended the post–and by extension me, Flora, and little girls everywhere–in the various fora where it was ripped apart. I have no stomach for such battles, but I appreciate your passion and indignation on my behalf very much.

Fight on. And love those girls.

xoxo

“Jane”

# I blog because… #FTSF

I blog because moments like this need to be immortalized:

Cinder: Mom, I just shot Ender in the balls. Now, under normal circumstances, you’d probably be mad at me. But as he was peeing off the balcony at the time, you should just say, ‘Good job.’ Full story here.

I blog because the world needs more Cinder and Ender penis stories. I mean, is there such a thing as enough? OK, maybe. But just one more

I blog because I think attachment parenting is an amazing, amazing thing… but I want AP moms to know that this is perfectly normal:

I make no resolutions to yell less. Or discipline more. I will lose my temper, and I will yell, and there will be days when, as I survey the destruction wrought by the whirlwind in the kitchen while I absented myself from his side for five minutes, I seriously ponder just how wrong it would be to put him in the dog’s kennel. Just, you know, for a little while. And there will be days—and weeks—when I’ll be counting the hours until bedtime from 11:15 a.m. And days when, as soon as Sean comes home, I will hand over the entire parenting business to him, and lock myself in the bathroom with a bottle—um, glass, I meant to type glass, glass—of wine. (From Embracing Chaos: unParenting unResolutions)

I blog because I want Flora—and other Sensitive Seven and Emotional Eight girls out there, and their mothers—to know how loved she is (they are). And how amazing. And also, how exhausting. I want her to look back at these moments, these days, when she’s a mother. I don’t want her to put me on an unachievable mothering pedestal. I want her to see I struggled. I want her to know it was hard.

But, worth it, Mom? Was it worth it?

I blog because I had a toddler who beat the crap out of other children—and his parents—and he’s grown up to be the most amazing, caring, sensitive, responsible pre-teen… and I want you—you, exhausted, petrified mom of a mini-Caveman—I want you to know that you’re not raising a psychopath. It’s a stage. It’ll pass. You’ll survive.

And maybe, I blog because I don’t want to wait until I’m dead and famous before the world reads my diaries. (While the odds are excellent that I will indeed be dead one day, that famous thing? Not so much. And let’s face it, boys and girls, be you Susan Sontag, Jane Austen or Anne Frank, if you write something down, you’re secretly or not-so secretly writing for a reader. If you really wanted to keep it secret—you wouldn’t write it down. You know it’s true.)

I blog because I want to. And so I do. Reason enough.

##

This post is part of the Finish The Sentence Blog Hop, co-hosted  by, inter alia, Janine Huldie of Confessions of A Mommyaholic, Stephanie Sprenger of Mommy, for Real and Kristie Campbell of Finding Ninee. The sentence—obviously–is I blog because. More answers here…

Why do you blog? And for beautiful, usually silent majority of non-bloggers in the audience—why don’t you? Tell me.

xoxo

Jane

P.S. This week, on Undogmatic Unschoolers, I quote John Holt (again, I know, what can I say, he rocks) and take you on a little walk through my house as I confess that there is, indeed, a secret reason as to why I’m so chill about my late reader.

P.P.S. Meanwhile, my professional alter-ego is dreaming the future landscape of Calgary for Avenue magazine, prognosticating on the future of Husky Energy under Asim Ghosh, and trying to convince people that greener oil is the key to Keystone XL at Canadian Business.

# And, of body parts again

Child-proofing fail of the month, perhaps year:

Flora: Cinder! I found Daddy’s penis in Mommy’s bed. Is yours going to be detachable too when you get bigger?

Shoot me. Shoot me now. This one’s for you, Julie DeNeen.

Sales pitch fail of the month, perhaps year:

Cinder: But Mom!

Jane: For the last time! We are not going to Iceland to go visit a freakin’ penis museum!

Cinder: But Mom! They have a whale penis bone! A whale penis! Think how much Ender and I would learn!

Thanks, Iceland. Thanks a lot. (And yes, there really is an Icelanding Pallalogical Museum. On Cinder and Ender’s bucket list.)

Goal for April

… but while we’re talking anatomy, Here’s King Missile, with Detachable Penis:

# The Princess Bride, almost severed body parts, and the thing that matters the most to little boys

First, this: Flora, eight years old with braids almost reaching her waist, pirouetting in the middle  of the living room, an egg-spattered spatula in her hand, and delivering, as if she were possessed by Mandy Patinkin, absolutely perfectly:

My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die!

Then, this: Ender enters from stage left, with charred bamboo skewer in one hand and a steak knife in the other–who the hell gave the baby a knife?–and screams, loudly if not accurately:

My name is Ender! Killed my mother! Time to die!

…and lunges for Cinder, in a move more worthy of Fezzik/Andre the Giant than Inigo Montoya.

(You will be glad to know a combination side-step by big brother/tackle by mother narrowly averts a potential castration or evisceration).

But everything pales compared to this, when, after ensuring all the knives, steak and otherwise, are where little hands cannot get at them (I may be permissive but I am rarely negligent), I see Ender run down the stairs, Flora’s tiara (a gift, incidentally, from lovely Anka at Keeping It Real) thrust onto his head, and what looks like a sword built out of straws and connectors in his hand. And I stop what I’m doing, and prepare myself for the delivery of another immortal line from The Princess Bride.

I am the King and this is my giant penis!

Because, when you’re a 3.5 year-old boy with an older brother, this is where everything leads to.

PSA

You too, of course, have the entire script of The Princess Bride committed to memory, right? No? Truly? Now, you know I hate to tell you what to do. But if you were to die tomorrow, without having seen this movie at least a dozen–preferably a dozen dozen times–I think your life would lack meaning. Get thee to iTunes, Netflix or a library, and, oh, enjoy. (The William Goldman book, on which the movie is based–beyond fabulous as well.) End of PSA.

… and if you’ve already got the entire script of The Princess Bride committed to memory (and of course most of you do, because after all, you are my people), hop over to Undogmatic Unschoolers for the best-ever quote for Isaac Asimov. And then follow the link there to my new best-ever, most-favourite site on the Internet.

And may your Monday rock. Even if you hate Mondays. And if you really hate Mondays, head on over to Mod Mom Beyond Indiedom’s I Hate Mondays Blog Hop. And we can all sob together…

# Of boys and their toys

I.

Jane: “…but Isis was such a powerful goddess, that she gathered up all the bits of her husband, and put him back together…”

Cinder: Except for his weenie, which got eaten by a fish.

Jane: Um… yes, actually, “…except for the dangly bits.”

Cinder: Does it really say that?

Jane: Yes.

Cinder: Ah, penis jokes. Never not funny.

Flora: I don’t get it. I don’t go around making vulva jokes all the time. And neither do my friends.

Cinder: That’s because you’re all girls. And it’s a well known fact girls are not funny.

Flora: Mom! Cinder’s being sexist!

Cinder: Okay, fine, girls can be funny. But it’s a well known fact that dangly bits are funnier than non-dangly bits. That’s just the way it is.

Ba-dum-bum.

II.

Cinder: I can’t wait to read more of Cleopatra and her Ass.

Jane: Asp! Cleopatra and Her Asp!

Cinder: I just love reading about Ancient Egypt. The ASS-yrians. The PARP-ians.

Jane: Parthians!

Cinder: Fartians. No matter how you pronounce it–hilarious.

Flora: Mom? Are all boys like this?

Jane: Like this? All boys? Well, not all boys…

Cinder: But most are. Isn’t it great?

Flora: Do they grow out of it as they become men?

Jane: Um, well, some do…

Cinder: And most don’t. Isn’t that great?

Flora: And suddenly, I think maybe getting married to a boy isn’t such a great idea.

Ah. Yeah. We’ve had a “If Flora ends up a lesbian, this is why” moment in the past (read about here). And here’s another one. It will be her brother’s fault.

III.

And just one more…

Jane: Ender, what the heck are you doing?

Ender: I protecting my penis so you don’t zip it!

Jane: Sweetie, I’d never–I never have!

Ender: You zipped Cinder!

Jane: Cinder! That was like eight years ago! Once! You told Ender?

Cinder: Hey, that sort of thing scars you forever.

Dangly bits. Funny. Yet vulnerable. Therein lies the humour, I guess?

Want more?

There’s a vintage Cinder story on Unschooling Roman Numerals from earlier this week on our new Undogmatic Unschoolers blog you might enjoy as well.

Or do a search for anatomy talk.

Boys.

# A handful of those conversations

I.

Ender: Mama-mama-mama! I peed-peed-peed on the floo-ooor!

Jane: Oh, Ender, I’m going to cry. Why? Again?

Ender: Oh, don’t cry my-mama-mama. I love you! And pee easy to clean up. Not like poopie bum.

II.

Cinder: Mom, [X] needs a secret name for the blog for when you write about him and me. Hey, dude, what do you want your name to be?

[X]: Umm… Farty McFarty.

(This is how you know [X] is a nine-year-old boy.)

Jane: Seriously, you want me to call you Farty McFarty?

(I’m rethinking the strategy of letting the kids pick their own aliases. Flora is pushing Emerald for one of her friends. “Um… how about Emma? Or Emmy?” I counter-offer. No. Emerald or nothing. Fortunately, “Emerald” doesn’t figure in most of my stories. She doesn’t talk much… And if I have to call her Emerald, she won’t ever say anything memorable. It just won’t happen. I try to explain this to Flora. Meanwhile, in the far back seat of the van:)

[X]: What’re you called?

Cinder: Cinder.

[X]: Huh. That’s cool. Cinder. Hmmm. OK, I know. I’ll be Creeper.

Cinder: Yes! Cinder and Creeper! Those are epic!

Epic.

III.

Sean: Jesus, Ender, what are you doing with Mommy’s razor?

Ender: Shaving the whales.

I could explain… but I think you’ll have more fun trying to guess the context.

IV.

Why we can’t ever give strangers’ rides in our van:

Cinder: I have a weenie. I have a weenie. Oooh-oooh-oooh, I have a weenie…

Sean: Cinder, I’m very easily annoyed today, and that song is beyond annoying me right now. You have to stop.

Cinder: Just one more time?

Sean: Fine. Just one more time. And then–silence.

Cinder:  I have a weenie. I have a weenie. Oooh-oooh-oooh, I have a weenie… tooooo-niiiiiiiteeeee…

Ender (waking up from a nap and immediately bursting into): I have a weenie. I have a weenie. Oooh-oooh-oooh, I have a weenie… tooooo-niiiiiiiteeeee…

Cinder and Ender in tandem: I have a weenie. I have a weenie. Oooh-oooh-oooh, I have a weenie… tooooo-niiiiiiiteeeee…

Sean: Wow, did Ender ever just save you.

Flora: Why is cute when Ender does it and just obnoxious when Cinder does it?

Jane: Evolutionary survival mechanism.

Flora: What?

Cinder: She means toddlers have to be cute no matter what they do so their parents don’t kill them. One more time, Ender?

Ender: I have a weenie…

V.

No place is safe. Not even Ikea.

Cinder: Hey, Mom? What do you get when you take the “I” out of “AS IS”?

Jane: What do you get when you take the I… Cinder!

Cinder: Aren’t you going to say it?

Jane: No.

Cinder: But the whole purpose of me reading that sign and telling you I could read it was so that you would say “ASS” really loud in a public place. All that reading, for nothing.

Jane: You read four bloody letters.

Cinder: Just say it. Or would you rather I said it, in my loudest voice ever?

What would you do?

# If 10-year-old boys designed our currency…

Sean: You know what a good job for Flora would be? Designing coins for the Canadian mint.

Flora: Yeah, that would be pretty cool. I bet I’d be good at that.

Flora: Um… how about if I design a coin with your face on it?

Cinder: No, do one with a penis.

Flora: You’d be more famous if I designed a coin with your face on it.

Cinder: I’d rather be famous for my penis.

Zeus help me.

# “I am not feeding my baby sister playdough” and other acts of sibling love

Cinder, Flora and Ender’s cousin Matthew turns two this week, and in another four or so months, he will be a proud big brother to his own little sister. Flora is thrilled. But if she had a clear recollection of her own first months in the womb, she’d probably be afraid for the new babe’s life.

Don’t get me wrong, Cinder loved Flora. Loved her. To death. Or so we occasionally feared. Fortunately, she was tougher than she looked.

Happy Birthday Matthew! And, to your ecstatic parents, stories from our life seven years ago. July 13, 2005–Cinder is just over three, and Flora six or seven months. Remember–she survived. That’s the important part.

I. “I am not feeding Flora playdough”

Cinder: Mommy? Can Flora eat playdough?

Jane: No, no she can’t.

Silence.

Jane: Cinder… what are you doing with that playdough?

Cinder: Don’t worry, mama, I won’t let her eat it. I’m just stuffing it up her nose.

II. Potty tongue

Jane: Okay, baby, go pee and then hop in the tub.

Cinder: Pee in the potty?

Jane: Of course. Where else would you pee?

Cinder: I want to pee on Flora’s tongue!

Cinder: Mama, tell Flora not to pull my hair!

Jane: Flora, Flora, pulling hair hurts, don’t pull Cinder’s hair.

Cinder: Mama, tell Flora she can tickle my bum instead.

IV. Sleep positions

Cinder: Mama… I can’t get comfortable… Can I sleep on Flora’s head today?

This is your reward for making it to the end… and proof that Cinder’s early years weren’t all about tormenting Flora. He tormented Daddy too…

Sean: Cinder, what are doing?

Cinder: I’m hammering a hole in the wall you painted. Do you want to help me, Daddy?

I’m  in the wilds of Manitoba, and generally unplugged. I’ve got one more post auto-scheduled for your enjoyment, but I won’t be able to respond to comments until July 15th.

# Anatomy talk, always and forever

July 22, 2005. Cinder, age 3.2: “Mommy? When you were a little girl, where you a little boy like me?”

June 22, 2012. Ender, age 2.8: “Mommy? Where your penis go? You lose it outside? I go find it…”*

and hey, while we’re talking anatomy:

January 2005. Cinder, age 2.5, witnessing Flora’s first diaper change: “Mama! Help! Flora has two bums!”

and as proof that things never change:

June 26, 2012. Ender, age 2.8: “Flora, why put Cinder’s hat on your penis?”

Flora: “For the last time, Ender, I don’t have a penis.”

Ender: “Why?”

And I leave it up to your imagination how Cinder’s hat fits into all this…

*Yes, this was a blatant attempt to sabotage bedtime. It was, after all, still light out in the Northern Northern hemisphere at 10 p.m….

Flora (Photo credit: CaptSpaulding)

I’m  in the wilds of Manitoba, and generally unplugged. I’ve got a few posts auto-scheduled for your enjoyment, but I won’t be able to respond to comments until July 15th.

# Poisonous Volvo

I just really need to laugh today, and I bet you do too.

Unedited and uncensored; anatomy talk warning. Flora’s a month short of two, and Cinder’s four and a half.

Setting: our bathroom.

Cinder: Flora, stop trying to grab my penis. Flora! No! Stop!

Flora: hee hee hee

Cinder: It’s poisonous. Poisonous! Like the giant red milipedes in the South American rainforest!

Flora: hee hee hee

Cinder: It will bite you!

Flora: hee hee hee

Cinder: OK, Flora, I know you want to play with it. But you can’t. Only I can play with it. Play with your own.

Flora: Oh… no pee pee!! Brother! No pee pee?

Cinder: Oh, I forgot, you don’t have one. Well, maybe one day, if you are very good, I’ll let you borrow mine. If I can. Mom! (I’m in the next room) Can I borrow my penis to Flora for a while?

Jane: Um… no. It doesn’t work like that.

Cinder: I didn’t think so. Well, sorry, Flora.

Flora: No pee pee? Why?

Cinder: Don’t worry, Flora. I’m sure we can think of something fun to do with your… Mom! What’s Flora’s not-a-penis called?

Jane: Um… (Still haven’t decided if Flora should have a Volvo or a Gavina… OK, I know she has BOTH, but you know what I mean. Go for the Volvo today) A vulva.

Cinder: We can think of something fun to do with your vulva. Hmm. Let me think. Maybe we could attach something to it?

Flora: Yeaah!

Cinder: Or… we could stick something in it.

Flora: Nooooo.

Next day.  Setting: post-bath time. Sean and I hanging out downstairs chatting, Cinder and Flora are playing upstairs. Suddenly:

Cinder: Flora! I will smite you with my poisonous penis!

Flora: Aaaaah! Run! Run!

Sean: Well, if Flora turns out to be gay, we’ll know why.

Jane: Sean!

Sean: What? I think it would make the teen years a lot easier, don’t you?

Jane: Sean!

Sean: What? All I’m saying is, if she ends up a lesbian, being chased by her brother’s poisonous penis may be one of the reasons. And don’t you think you’d worry less about boys and teen pregnancy and all that?

Jane: What are you…

Cinder: Ok, Flora. Now it’s your turn to smite me with your poisonous volvo.

Flora: Aaaaah! Run! Run!

The genitalia of the Callosobruchus analis beetle. It is covered in spines from base to tip. Referenced in Rönn, J., Katvala, M. & Arnqvist, G. 2007. Coevolution between harmful male genitalia and female resistance in seed beetles. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 104, 10921-1092. and Hotzy, C. & Arnqvist, G. 2009. Sperm competition favors harmful males in seed beetles. Current Biology 19, 404-407. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From Life’s Archives, December 9, 2006.

# How boys learn geography

Cinder: Did you know India’s the seventh largest country in the world?

P: Really? Which one’s India?

C: The one that looks like a penis.

P: That one, that looks like it has a drop of urine coming out it?

C: That’s the one.

P: Oh. Is there one that looks like testicles?

(So… I keep on looking at India, and I just don’t see it.)