They live for these moments

The Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Drumheller, Alberta, is one of the most amazing places on Earth. It is now Ender’s favourite place to humiliate and shame his mother.

I don’t mind so much that he keeps on calling the dinosaurs dragons. Really. He’s the child of an anthropologist; he’ll understand the theory of evolution better than 98 per cent of the American adult population.

The penis obsession–“Is that the dragon’s penis, Mom? Wow!” “No, that’s the hip bone. See, that’s one of the really cool things about dinosaurs, how their hip bones…” “I think it’s a penis!”–is starting to wear a little thin.

Just a little. (Girls don’t do this, by the way. But as Flora is saying more and more often these days, “Girls are just better.” Sssh. Not in front of your brothers. To resume the narrative:)

So there we are. Rubbing shoulders with prehistoric giants, and then strolling down to the Cambrian Period, and experiencing the microlife of the Burgess Shale. Except the microlife is presented in 12x in its real size. And includes this:

English: Reconstruction of Ottoia, an extinct ...

and this:

English: Reconstruction of the fossil priapuli...

and as one group of high school Japanese tourists comes around from one corner, and a group of white-haired senior citizens from the rural Alberta Bible belt rounds the other one, Ender howls, at the top of his lungs:

“Penises! The most giant penises ever! Is this why they are in a museum, Mama? Because they are so big? Cinder! Cinder! Look! GIANT! PENISES!”

As his mother tries to decide whether this is a moment where you boldly meet the eyes of the 70-year-old grandma whose grandchildren would never ever ever say the P word in public (actually, they don’t know what it is, “We call it a wee-wee in our family, thank you very much”) or giggle with the 16-year-old Japanese boy who never thought he’d get to hear a native speaker pronounce penis (“So the ‘i’ is actually an ‘uh,’ why?” “Latin root word. Guess what the proper plural should be?”), his elder brother decides to do the only thing that could possibly make this situation  more embarrassing for her:

“That’s right, Ender. Giant, giant, giant penises. Aren’t they cool? Too bad yours will never get that big, eh?”

And then, to me:

“I suppose you’ll use this as another reason to not take us to the penis museum in Iceland. You’re so lame, Mom.”

You’d think I’m not that easily embarrassed. And you’d be right. Yet every once in a while, they manage to make me blush redder than… um, delete totally inappropriate metaphor here. Sigh.

More like this (God, there are so many more like this): And, of body parts again; and, on Undogmatic Unschoolers, Sometimes, what they know is embarrassing.

And a lovely thank you to Stephen Greene at Head of the Herd for naming Nothing By The Book for a Sunshine Award. I’m terrible at passing these on–I think I’m in two-digits-worth-of-arrears already–but it’s always lovely to get the nod from a fellow writer. Stephen writes a great blog about expat and bilingual parenting–and all sorts of other stuff–as he lives with his family in Curtiba, Brazil.

And if you’re leisurely strolling through the blogosphere today, these are my three favourite parenting posts from this week:

Don’t Get Upset When Your Five-Year-Old Acts Like a Five-Year-Old from Leah Vidal at Little Miss Wordy

Don’t Be a Judgy Wudgy from Stephanie at When Crazy Meets Exhaustion


Reassessing Happiness Research: Are New Parents Really That Miserable? by Jessica Smock at The Her Stories Project, part of the Evidence-Based Parenting Carnival