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May 31, 2007

All dialog actually overheard

Russell and Silas were telling stories with Lego people.

R: Then my guy says, "Darth Vader, you shall FAIL!" and Darth Vader says, "No, I shan't!"

S, incredulously: Shan't?

R: "Shan't?" says my guy, "what the heck does shan't mean??"

Apr 04, 2007

The Great American Novel

In Russell's first grade class, the kids have been spending some time writing their own stories for "publication". They write out sentences or (sometimes) chapters, then the teacher goes over it with them (talking about content and spelling and so on). Now she is writing up the text of what they've written (that is, with the spelling and punctuation fixed up as they discussed) and passing it to a few of us parent volunteers to type up (about one sentence per page). Our typed pages get bound into little books which the kids then illustrate, and then they can check each other's books out of their own self-created library. I hope it is as great as it sounds.

I think Russell's books will be very popular with some of the boys in the class, thanks to his obsession with Star Wars. This interest is an offshoot of his Lego obsession; his main exposure to Star Wars is through Lego kits and the Lego website, which has some comics and commercials and things. He also saw a Star Wars show at OMSI several months ago and saw part of one of the movies at a neighbor's about two years ago. Other than conversations with his friends, who are generally operating from the same level of "knowledge," that's what he bases stories on, but when he's short on details he just makes them up (e.g. Darth Vader can decide midway through a Lego story that he wants to be good).

Anyway, since I'm one of the parent volunteers who's typing these things, I'm going to cheat and type up my own kid's story here. How much of this is made up and how much is memorized from someone else I can't tell, but I don't see these words or stories on the Lego site or in Google.

Chapter 1: TIE Interceptor Attack!

A B-wing glides through space toward the hidden rebel base. The fighter carries vital information about the new Imperial attack, but TIE Interceptor is waiting to ambush.

Chapter 2: X-Wing Attack

The Death Star is destroying rebels.

X-Wing launches its missile. It goes into a hatch. The Death Star explodes.

Chapter 3: The Race

Anakin sets his speeder. The race begins.

Anakin's losing!

He gets ahead. He won! The crowd goes wild!

Chapter 4: Droids Attack

The droids fight against the clones. Laser beams fly. The super battle droids battle against the clones.

The clones won!

Warming up

So I thought I would post any old thing for a few days, to get in the habit, instead of trying to think out something incredible and then going months between entries.

Some things we did over spring break:

We went to Ladybug Theater, a small neighborhood theater company that does plays for little kids. They do lots of silly stuff. The kids especially liked the goofy little puppet who kept hitting his head and getting his lines wrong.

We went to Oaks Park, the local old-fashioned amusement park down by the river, with friends Florian and Gael, and the kids rode the Lewis and Clark train, roller coaster (several times), frog hopper, balloon ride, scrambler, carousel (the old fashioned kind with the beautiful carved animals), big pink slide, motorcycles, little cars, and probably other stuff I'm forgetting. It was a great day to be out there.

Russell's friend Eli came over and played with Legos and things with Russell and Silas.

We went to a Lego convention in town (BrickFest) and saw some amazing scenes, spaceships, buildings, mosaics, sculptures, etc. and escaped spending far less money than I expected, but deeply content with our weird little haul. However, next time we should eat first.

We went to the zoo and saw Captain Bogg & Salty again, then saw the Alaskan animals and the new Black Bear Ridge exhibit (and Eagle Canyon too). I can't believe we've watched a pirate band so many times, but what can I say, they're just great. I love their songs and they are terrific performers, too. It was nice to see them outside with such a good view. We were close enough that Silas finally noticed something -- he turned to me at one point and murmured, "Mommy, Mr. Filibuster has no socks and no shoes!"

The kids just messed around a lot (building Lego things, enacting dramatic stories with Lego people, setting up obstacle courses with the sofa cushions, playing outside, etc.), while I plowed through a lot of dumb little cleanup and phone tasks that had been piling up. It felt good. So did getting up at 8 instead of 6. Which reminds me, I'd better go to bed.

Feb 19, 2007

Typically Atypical

A few nights ago, I was listening to Russell and Silas chattering together in bed. They were pretending there were monsters under the bed, a la Calvin & Hobbes.

After a few minutes, Silas asked Russell, "But there aren't REALLY any monsters, right?"

"Right," Russell reassured him, "the monsters aren't real. They're just pretend."

"But what if MOMMY AND DADDY aren't real?" asked Silas.

Dec 22, 2006

Important Bear Work

The bears are playing vet with the stuffed animals. This mostly involves examining them, talking to them, and covering them with scotch tape in key areas. Russell has just advised the puppy with the broken leg not to run for a while.

R: Oooh, big crocodile bite on this one.

S: That's where it got bitten.

R: None of these bandages are permanent.

S: Oh, a tiny animal! (flying it around, singing:) Oh, I'm a little jet plane, flying through the sky... I can turn into an animal or a little jet plane.

R, to lizard: Wow, you've had bad scars!

R: Oh, this guy. Broken...

S (great concern): Broken where?

R: All over. This is gonna take a lot of bandage.

S: A lot of bandage.

(much scotch taping)

S: Oh, a T Rex! A very very dangerous T Rex. I'm holding him by the neck.

R: Let's see. He needs a bandage! Let's check you out. One thing I always have to do with T Rexes, I have to give him a log to chew on. (puts block into T Rex's mouth) Hold him, Silas! Hold his mouth shut! I'm having trouble. (tapes over eye) Oh, that eye is actually hurt. Guess what, I'm giving him a blind thing (eyepatch?). I found that all of his teeth are rotten! (tape on all teeth) I'm giving him temporary jaw ecrasers (?) which is something that doesn't hurt, which just covers up your teeth, kind of, and it's perfectly safe.

S: You know what I found in this place? A pirate sword! I was trying to break it so the pirate who owns it won't be able to use his sword!

(S wanders away, then comes in with some giant germs) They're worm germs, and worm germs are a kind of thing which kills animals, so we must be careful.

R to T Rex: OK, checking... ok, you're good, down you go!

R: Spot? Here, boy! "Woof, woof!" He just stood up, which probably means he's happy. This might hurt him (scissors cutting tape), but it will be okay.

S: Russell, Dust Mite needs two bandages. He needs some surgery. I'm putting bandages on the parts that needs surgery. I put a bandaid on the eyeball, which needs surgery. ("yurdery")

etc., etc.!

Oct 13, 2006

Top of the Food Chain

Silas asked me today, in his thoughtful way, "Does everybody die?"

I answered with some standard mom reply, probably something like, "Yes, most people die when they're old and some people die when they're younger, but everyone dies."

Silas wanted further clarification: "Do even people who own grocery stores die?"

I guess maybe to him, control of the bagels and goat cheese and ice cream is the ultimate in power.

May 13, 2006


...that's the word I'd use to describe Silas these days.

Lately he has taken to explaining what he wants in excrutiating and sometimes bizarre detail. He often says that for snack he wants "two things from the cabinet" or "something from the refrigerator" or whatever, even when he has no idea what is in that particular location that day.

My favorite was when he went to get a pair of socks from his drawer, came back with three pairs, and instructed me, "I want you to say to me, 'Which socks do you want to wear?'"

He likes our new cats very much, especially the kid-loving, ultra-tolerant Leo. His way of expressing his affection can be a little strange, though. He likes to show Leo Lego constructions he's made and tell him about them. I often come across Leo lying down, napping, carefully decorated with small, lightweight objects. For example, on Wednesday Leo was lying on a rug in the upstairs hall. Next to him Someone had placed a fire engine and a pirate ship. A fire truck ladder was lying alongside his tail. Near the tip of his tail was a squeeze toy. Between his paws was a fluffy soft ball. On top of him, on his flank, rested a Lego person and the head of a Lego knight. Silas was long gone; Leo napped on.

A Philosophical Question

I heard Silas in the next room muttering to himself about something. "Tomorrow... tomorrow," I heard him say. Then he turned to me and asked, "How many tomorrows are there?"

Apr 20, 2006

The Ultimate Showdown

Russell and I were looking at a book with lovely pictures of trees and streams and things. "I like Mother Nature," Russell said.

I said, absently, "Mmmm," thinking, kinda sappy, but cute.

He looked thoughtful, then added, "I think Mother Nature could beat God."

(It frequently comes back to superheroes at this age, but that was a new twist.)

Mar 01, 2006

In like a lion… or not

Today, March 1st, was quite balmy here in Portland. It was sunny and warm (high 60s, I believe) with a gentle breeze -- just a gorgeous day. We had lots of outside walking and play.

On the way home from school, Russell observed happily, "March sure did come in like a llama this year. Usually it comes in like a lion and goes out like a llama, but not this year!"

Sometimes it is so difficult to keep a straight face.