Saturday, September 27, 2008

I hate to think what duckball would involve

Last week, Pete wanted to "play football"--that is, for us to pretend we have a football and tackle each other--when he was supposed to go up and take a bath. To accuse him of a certain lack of seriousness regarding the bath, I said, "I think you want to play gooseball."

To our great surprise, Pete said OK, gooseball then. What, I asked, is involved in gooseball? "Tackling, tickling, and tumbling," replied Pete.

Gooseball was played.

Later that evening, we asked again how you play gooseball. This time: "Tackling, tickling, tumbling--and TEASING!"

OK, I said. Tease me!

Pete thought about this for a minute, then said, "Building rhymes with car!"

Laughter was laughed.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What this one goes to

Pete and I went to the homecoming parade last night. Returning home, Pete decided to set up dozens of his toy cars in a parade. He said, "They'll all move along very slowly. Each by one, each by one! And one and one and one and one! That's a lot of elevens!"

Monday, September 22, 2008

Tough questions

It's an eventful time for Pete: in the last ten days alone, we have attempted to explain the extinction of the dinosaurs, testicles, and death. As you might guess, the latter was the trickiest.

Pete has been thinking about death, and he seems to have some idea what it means. He can explain that he has killed a bug, for instance, and that said bug was alive and is now dead. (We do try to discourage the killing, incidentally. Another story.)

On Monday, Carolyn found the obituary of Karen Choate, a woman we knew who took a special interest in children and in Pete. In her sadness and surprise, Carolyn told me the news before either of us thought about the fact that this was the first time someone had died whom Pete really knew. So he started the barrage of "why" questions.

Why did Karen die? Well, we ventured, she was sick. Mistake: Pete knows that all three of us get sick, fairly frequently, so we scrambled to make the distinction.

After working through the specifics for a while, Pete pushed on the implications of this death, with many variations on the question of whether everyone dies. We did our best to combine honesty and reassurance: yup, everyone dies, but don't worry--when you get sick, we take care of you and give you medicine, etc.

Pete absorbed all of this, and he seemed OK. After a little thought, he brightened and concluded, "But we won't die!"

Oh, sweetie.

Friday, September 12, 2008


Pete, yesterday, as we dropped him off at daycare: "Mama and Papa, would you give me a favorite?* When I'm a grownup, would you take care of my big-boy bed?"

* [i.e., do me a favor]

The depressing middle section of a "Behind the Music" episode

Pete: [bangs sticks more or less rhythmically on a wooden cobbler's bench]

Carolyn [sings]: There was a farmer had a dog, and Bingo was his name-o!

Pete [stops drumming]: No, mama, that's not what I'm playing!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The life of the keyboard

Pete has started typing words on our desktop computer: he does "PETER" and "MAMA" and "PAPA" without prompting, and he's working up some others. He is learning to write those words as well, but typing is easier, of course, given that he knows how to spell them. This all has made me wonder whether for him, a child of 2005, it would be possible to skip writing altogether and just learn to type. (For the thought experiment, set aside the process of learning handwriting in schools.) Will most of his school assignments be on computer? In how many jobs would anyone even notice if he couldn't write by hand? I'm guessing that electronic note-taking will be utterly routine by the time he reaches working age.

This fantasy may stem from my own struggles with handwriting as a kid. Boo, penmanship.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Thinking big

We finally got around to swapping Pete's crib and changing table out of his room to give him his own twin bed, known as the big boy bed. He's been excited about the idea for a while. After we put the bed in his room on Wednesday, Carolyn told Pete that we had a big surprise waiting for him at home. "Is it a sucker?" asked Pete. "No," said Carolyn, "it's much bigger than that." Pete: "Is it a big sucker?"