Kids Say the Darndest Things: Episode 93

Me: “Dominic, brush your teeth and let’s get you into bed.”
Dominic: “What will happen if I DON’T brush my teeth?”
Me: “They’ll rot and hurt.”
Dominic: “The sky’s not brushing its teeth.”
Me: “The sky isn’t a person, so it doesn’t have to brush its teeth. Go brush.”
Dominic: “Maybe the sun, or the moon could help the sky . . . ”
Me: “Is the moon a person?”
Dominic: “Well, it could pick stuff up if it folds in half. And then it can help the sky with brushing the teeth.” Demonstrates how this would work by bending in half and pretending to brush with his whole body.
Me: “Is the moon helping you brush YOUR teeth?”
Dominic: “Um, yes?”
Me: “Well, go brush then, don’t keep the moon waiting!”
Dominic: “FINE!”

Dominic: “What this red thing in my eggs? Is this a ruby?!”
Me: “No, it’s a red pepper.”
Dominic: “Oh. Wait, red peppers are hot! I can’t eat this!”
Me: “It’s a sweet pepper, not hot.”
Dominic: suspiciously “Vat19 says red peppers are hot.”
Me: “Just eat it. It’s not hot, I promise.”
Dominic: eats it. “Is my face red?”
Me: “No.”
Dominic: “Okay, it’s not a hot pepper.”
Dante: “Why do pens even have lids?”
Me: “Um, I guess so the ink doesn’t dry out?”
Dante: “Then why is there a hole in the lid?!”
Me: “Google . . .”
SO, it turns out that lids are to prevent big leaks, but the reason they have a hole is because if you choke on a pen lid, you can still get air through it.
Dominic handed me a sheet of paper with three colored splotches on it. “Do you like it?”
Me: “Um, what is it?”
Dominic: “Well, this is where I drew with crayons.”
Me: “I can see that, but what were you drawing?”
Dominic: “Lines from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.”
Me: “The colors are very Ninja Turtle.”
Dante: “Everyone in the family has their own talents. I’m good at building and art. Dorian is good at reading and games. Dominic is good at bugging.”
Dominic at bedtime: “HEY! Take this Snoopy . . . this is not the real Snoopy, it’s just a fake Snoopy, but I don’t want it in my bed. Put it in my brothers’ room.”
Me: “Uh, it’s your Snoopy, it can stay in here.”
Dominic: “NO! It has to go in their room! IT ALWAYS GOES IN THEIR ROOM!”
Me: “It’s fine in here. Are you just trying to stay up later?”
Dominic: “YES!”
Dominic: “Mama, wake up. I want hot milk that`s not too hot, but not cold, with foam on top . . . and bread with jam.”
Me: “You think this is Starbucks? Let me sleep!”
Dominic: holding up a piece of cheese. “I can’t eat this! It smells like . . . cheese!”
Dominic: “Hey, let’s have a pillow fight!”
Dorian: “No. That always ends badly.”
Dominic: “Mama, are you my biggest fan?”
Me: “Yes, I am.”
Dominic: “Because I’m small and you’re so big?”
Dorian: “OK, let’s see if I can open the door without breaking it . . . oh, no! I actually DID break it!”
Overheard: “He’s a gringo Spiderman who’s my friend.”
It’s bedtime and I heard a series of huge sighs coming from Dominic’s bed. Then, “Mama, can’t you hear me?” Another big sigh.
Me: “Yes, I can hear you sighing. What do you want me to do about it?”
Dominic: “I’m just so tired.”
Me: “Well, that’s why you’re in bed, so you can go to sleep.”
Dominic: “Oh. Right.”
Watched a video on army ants with the boys. Afterward:
Dante: “So, army ants like to eat flesh, huh?”
Me: “Yup.”
Dominic: “Zombies also like flesh.”
Dorian: “You’re so weird.”
Me: “Well, would you really want to have a normal mom?”
Dorian: “Nah, that would be boring. I’ll stick with you, weird and all.”
Dominic: “What are we in?”
Me: “March 10th.”
Dominic: “No, I mean the other in. Like the world.”
Me: “Guatemala?”
Dominic: “YEAH! Guatemala!”
Dante: “I’m thinking of making a game called Dead Selfie. You take a photo and a zombie shows up in it.”
This brought on a round of proposed hashtags to add to said game, including: ?#?IKnewHimWhenHeWasAlive? ?#?Deadonmyfeet? ?#?ZombieSnap? ?#?Lookinggoodforadeadguy? and ?#?Zombiebombing?
Me: “What are you looking for in the fridge?”
Dominic: “I’m looking for to eat my favorite flavor (ketchup).”

Around Here

I’ve been sewing up a storm lately (more on that in a future post), and Dante has decided to take it up, too.

He’s previously made some fun stuffies and a pair of shorts for himself, but the other day, he told me he wanted to make something bigger. So, he made himself an “adventure” bag . . . which was a child-sized messenger bag, pattern found here.

Child's messenger bag
He learned all about seam rippers with this project! He added a pocket to the inside of his bag in case he needs to carry extra items and some Velcro to the flap to help it stay closed. While the bag is certainly not perfect, he absolutely loves it and is super proud that he made it himself!

Dante told me that he plans to go on a 10 day walkabout, to test his survival skills. Hence the bag. I didn’t want to tell him no way, absolutely not, so I suggested he try camping out in the yard first. I suspect he’ll be too frightened during the night to dream of going out on his own. If not . . . well, I guess it’s time for some family camping trips.

Also, I’m rethinking my plan to read My Side of the Mountain to the boys soon . . . don’t want him to get any crazy ideas!

New School Year and Next Steps in Health

Today was our first day back at school. Hard to believe the boys are in grades 4 and 5 now, with Dominic doing a mixture of preschool and kindergarten work. Seems like they were just getting started last year! But no, now we are entering the world of higher math, where Irving will be called upon more often, and writing reports and doing crazy science experiments.

We started off slowly, with just a few pages or a simple activity in each subject. Dominic was thrilled to start school and worked diligently, writing out his answers in his book and eagerly taking everything in. Funny to think how his schooling will be different because he has much older brothers!

The older boys are learning about hoaxes and will later move on to Guatemala’s history. We plan to take a few small field trips this year and the kids are pretty excited about that idea.

On the health front, I’m done my treatment, which was nearly as bad as the infection. I took the last antibiotic yesterday and I’m feeling much better. In fact, yesterday, I even spent the morning climbing stairs and walking around the hospital on a tour, something that would have been completely impossible for me a week ago. Thank goodness for modern medicine.

The next step is to see the doctor in a week or so, to get checked out. I’m going to have to do some tests to see if any permanent damage was done from the infection going untreated for so long, then we’ll get a plan in place to get my immune system back on track. So far, so good!

One of the fringe benefits of being so sick is that I lost quite a bit of weight. I doubt it will stay off, but you never know!


Dorian Turns 10

I can’t believe my son has been around for a whole decade. Where did the time go?!

Dorian’s requests were simple this year. He wanted a can of whipped cream, but didn’t think it was available here, and a Geometry Dash cake. Pretty easy, right? Well, it was, until I burned the cake! He suggested I cut off the burned part, which I did. Then I iced the whole thing, thinking icing would be easier than fondant for such a basic design. Boy, was I wrong!

The completed cake looked . . . iffy. It was dry and not that tasty, but we survived. I’d added sprinkles to the inside of the cake, so it looked pretty, at least.

Fortunately, the rest of the day was much more of a success! We got Dorian his can of whipped cream and he was thrilled! Everyone had to have a mouthful, of course.

He also received a BeanBoozled game, which is pretty much the weirdest thing I can imagine. The kids have watched countless YouTube videos on this game and loved it. So, I got a friend to bring me one from the US. Basically, this game is full of jellybeans in various colors, but there are good and bad flavors. When you eat a green one, for example, it might be lime or it could be grass clippings. Brown is either dog food or chocolate pudding. Buttered popcorn or barf (yes, there is actually a barf jellybean. EW!). Needless to say, they had a BLAST playing this game. I didn’t dare touch it.

They also got giant LEGO figures to play with, from Star Wars. Then we packed up and headed to our favorite park, Florencia, for a cookout and some playtime. We took along my brother-in-law, his wife Alejandra and their daughter Sofia 3. Everyone enjoyed eating churrasco and the kids ran around like crazy in the forest and on the playground until they were thoroughly worn out.

Dorian is 10. And he’s VERY happy about it.

Kids Say the Darndest Things: Episode 92

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, but I keep collecting things the boys say, so here you are!

Dorian: “Dominic was brushing his teeth and it all went horribly wrong.”
Dominic: watching a Paw Patrol episode with an avalanche, “Hey, Mama, do people gotta watch out for snow? Like it can fall on them?”
Dante was curious about Down Syndrome, so we looked up some information and watched some videos on it.
Dante: “Was anyone in our family born with Down Syndrome?”
Me: “No.”
Dante: “Was I born with it?”
Me: “No, you’d know if you were.”
Dante: “Well, that’s too bad. I would have been so much cuter.”
Overheard in the living room.
“Are you my mummy? Are you my mummy?” in a British accent, followed by, “STOP IT! You’re creeping me out!”
Dominic: “Mama, my hot chocolate just turned cold. That means I can call it cold chocolate!”
Me, muttering to myself: “Meh, it doesn’t even matter.”
Dominic: “Well, that’s not very positive!”
All three boys: running around the house wildly, screaming, “BAD WOLF! BAD WOLF!”
Dominic: “I’m tired. I need to sleep.” (At 6:20)
Me: “Okay.”
Dominic: “I can’t move, because of my legs.”
Me: “Are your legs tired?”
Dominic: “Yes. And my neck. And my hair.”
Me: “Your hair is tired?”
Dominic: “So tired. I have to sleep now. Turn off the light, please.”
Dante: “Yesterday, Papa bought me a Ting and my stomach said, “Don’t drink it!” And I did and my stomach was all, “DON’T! DON’T! DON’T!” so I listened to it and put the Ting in the fridge and today my stomach remembered it was in there and said, “Now can I have some Ting?”
Dominic: “MAMA! There’s an ant in my tea and that means there’s a dead body in my tea! I can’t drink this!”
Dorian: “She’s carrying baby weight still. Just like you.”
Dominic, holding some of my oils, “Why is this one bigger?”
Me: “This is 5 mL and this one is 15.”
Dominic: “Well, this one has an F, so that’s actually Fifteen.”
Me: “No, it’s Frankincense. That starts with F, too.”
Dominic, sniffing peppermint oil: “Oh, this one tastes like fire!”
Dominic was reading before bed. “A man sat on a ram. That ram . . . AGAIN WITH THE RAM?”
I said something about having to pay for something I didn’t really want.
Dante: “Oh, that’s brutal!”
Dorian: “No, it’s not. Brutal is like when someone chops someone up with a chainsaw.”
Dominic: “Mama, how do I write ‘Paw Patrol’ on Youtube? I typed two P’s but that didn’t work.”

Sewing Lessons

I’ve been getting back into sewing lately and my projects have sparked the boys’ interest. One day, last week, I was stitching away and Dante came to ask if he could try. He wanted to make a rather complicated doll, so I suggested something simpler. He decided on a Minecraft Steve and we set to work drafting the pattern and cutting out the pieces.

It ended up being nearly as complicated as the original plan! However, he was determined, so he made Steve for Dominic and a Minecraft zombie for himself. Then he got to work, learning how to use the sewing machine. It’s tricky stuff, so I helped with the facial details, but he did the rest.

Next up, stuffing and hand sewing the opening up. Dante is already familiar with hand sewing, so that part was simple. He was amazed at how much stuffing had to go into each stuffy, though!

The finished product!

He was very proud of himself and the very next day, he made a pattern for shorts with my help and then sewed up his very own pair of shorts, which he has worn several times already.

Good and Evil

One of the things you just don’t think about before having children is how you’re going to explain the bad things in the world to them. The past month or two, we’ve had a lot of sad talks in our house.

First, Dante is obsessed with the Titanic at the moment. He has studied it extensively, watched multiple documentaries and built models of it. He’s recreated the ship in Minecraft and done experiments with toy boats and sinking. He’s learned about hypothermia and life boats and drowning, as well as icebergs. But all of that studying and learning can’t tell him the WHY. “Why did these people have to die?” “Why didn’t they have enough life boats?” “WHY do bad things happen?”

ISIS and Syria were the next issue. We’ve been studying World War II and when the older boys read about ISIS, they immediately compared the group to Nazis. We have had many discussions about this, but after we watched a news story on ISIS and then read some of the stories on Humans of New York (Brandon is currently doing a series on refugees) of refugees fleeing the civil war, Dorian turned to me and said, “I didn’t realize there was so much evil in the world. I really thought it was better now.” Then he said, “I’m so lucky to live here in Guatemala. I’m so lucky to have medical care when I’m sick and to have a house.” I don’t think it had ever clicked for him before.

Obviously, that statement led to discussion of Guatemala’s civil war, which was something they knew vaguely about, but didn’t realize that it had happened just a short time ago.

And then the mudslide in El Cambray happened and they were faced with images and videos of people desperate to find their loved ones. It’s now been five days. Any hope people had is dashed and the mission is now body retrieval. Dante asked, after seeing images of the slide, “Are their souls free now?” And then, “Which is sadder, the Titanic or the mudslide? I feel like this might be sadder.”

I feel like my children are just starting to see the world more clearly now. We’ve never gone out of our way to protect them from knowledge that bad things happen, but it seems like they just reached the point where they can understand it now and it’s shocking to them. On one hand, it breaks my heart that they are realizing that the world does still have evil in it. On the other, they are making me so proud as they process the information and talk about solutions.

Both boys wanted to go help dig in the mudslide. “Maybe there are still children trapped in there and afraid,” they said. “We should help.” When I explained that they wouldn’t be allowed to dig and that it’s really no place for children, Dante sat down with a pen and paper. “I’m going to design a house that will stay safe in a mudslide.” He created a home design that has multiple walls and steel posts so that it won’t collapse if there’s a slide.

I can’t explain to my children why bad things happen. I can’t tell them that it will never happen to them or that the world will magically be perfect for them. It won’t. But here’s what I can tell them:

“There’s evil in the world, but there’s also good. You choose whether you’re part of the evil or part of the good. If you look at everything that is happening, there’s always good. In the mudslide, people are coming from around the country to dig and Guatemalans have donated so much food, they’ve asked them to stop giving food, because there’s so much they need to use it first. In Europe, people are feeding the refugees, giving them shelter and medical attention. They’re helping.”

Wherever you see evil, you will also see good and it will shine even more because of the darkness. In the end, that’s all I can tell my children and show them how to be the good.

The Nest

Yesterday, we were sitting in the car while Irving ran in to the post office and we saw a bird’s nest in the post office light.

At first glance, all the kids thought it was a terrible idea for a bird to build a nest in that particular location. I pointed out that it was pouring rain . . . but the nest was still dry. They decided that it might not be such a bad idea to build a nest under a roof.

From there, the ideas began to flow!

“The lightbulb might keep the babies warm at night, when the mama has to find food.”

“Well, they’ll ALWAYS find their nest at night because it has a light!”

“There are bars on the side so the eggs can’t roll out and the babies will stay in.”

“I bet lots of people drop food on the street that they can eat.”

“The big roof is good, but the light has a roof, too. The birds will NEVER get wet!”

I found it fascinating to watch the process of going from “what a terrible idea” to “that’s a great spot!”

It also made me think that we need to use this skill in our everyday lives. How often do we think of things in a negative light? I know I’m quite the pessimist (well, I consider myself a realist, but that’s a whole other blog post)!

I think I’m going to try and apply this positive twist thinking to other areas of my life.

Kids Say the Darndest Things: Episode 91

Me: “Dorian! You’ve grown again!”
Dorian: “Yeah, I know.”
Me: “Who gave you permission to grow?”
Dorian: “Um, God?”
Dominic had an accident outside because the bathroom was occupied.
Me: “You peed EVERYWHERE!”
Dominic: “No, I didn’t pee on the toilet seat this time.”
Dorian: holding up a flat tortilla chip. “This looks like the symbol for the Illuminati.”
Me: “Boys! Dinnertime!”
Dorian: running into the house “It feels like we’re a real family! You know, where the kids play outside until dark and then the mom calls them in for supper.”
Overheard in the living room. “NO! NO! NO! What if Dominic gets hurt?!”
Dorian: “I’m taking The Impossible Quiz. Okay, it says . . . is the glass half full or half empty? Wait, I can’t even SEE a glass!”
Dorian: “Did you know in Ireland they call potatoes ‘spuds?’ I love that word! I’m never saying potato again. I’m only calling them spuds!”
Dorian: “I noticed you were already awake when we had the earthquake.”
Me: “Yeah, Dominic wasn’t sleeping well.”
Dorian: “He kept you up all night again? Is that why you’re tired? You know, I’ve heard there are sleeping pills, maybe we should get him some . . . ”
Dominic: “Mama! There’s a spider!!!”
Me: “It’s just a bitty one, don’t worry about it.”
Dominic: “Just PUNCH it, Mama!”
Dominic: “I have an angry eye and a good eye. What eye do you see?”
Me: “Um, the good one?”
Dominic: “No, that’s the angry one. I’m good and I’m bad, but right now, I’m angry.”
Dorian: “Dante could get a job in paperwork.”
Dante: “That’s really hard!”
Dorian: “Yeah, you have to make thousands of notes and stamp things and pile papers up. Actually, I’m not sure they pay for that.”
Dante: “I can pick my OWN job!”
Dorian: “They might give you food.”
I cut Dante’s fingernails, which grow ridiculously fast.
Dante: “I feel so strange without my claws.”
The boys were watching a YouTube video and I heard familiar music.
Me: “Hey, that’s the music from the Titanic movie I told you about.”
Dorian: “Yeah, we know. This is a Frozen/Titanic mashup. Elsa sinks the Titanic. That’s the REAL story!”
Cue hysterical laughter.
Me: “Note to self, don’t play when baking.”
Dorian: “Why?”
Dante: “Because you get distracted and burn stuff, right, Mama?”
Me: “Yes, I burned these a little.”
Dorian: “So, would that be a life lesson, then?”
Dominic: “I see ants. Everything has a name and these are named ants. And I call them ants.”
Dominic: “Mama, do you have bad dreams?”
Me: “Sometimes. And you?”
Dominic: “Yes. I have bad dreams with trees and snakes.”
Me: “Snakes in the trees?”
Dominic: “They climb the trees, so yeah. And they fall on the head and bite and make you sad. It’s a bad dream.”
Overheard in the living room. “If you don’t stop bugging me, I’ll become hostile.”
Dominic: “Hey, these jammies have pockets!”
Me: “Oh, nice, I didn’t notice.”
Dominic: “For the money can get in! And the cars.”