A Conversation with Munckin

Dear Kristen,

So we’re back up with our normal routine on the blog!  Hopefully.  Meaning…hopefully I will post when I’m supposed to.

Which hasn’t been the case of recent.  But…well….that happens.  And so did this conversation:

(Italics are me, bold words belong to Munchkin.  Anything she says that has an exclamation point was shouted.)

  • Mommy, I know how to spit-up.
  • Spit-up?
  • Yes, spit-up. Its an exercise.
  • Spit-up?
  • Yes! MOMMY! (as if I’m not listening to her) Its an exercise!
  • Oh – SIT-up.
  • (said with dramatic flair) Mooommmmy! Sit-up is what I know how to do. Spit-up is when you’re sick. Look!

I turn slowly, cautiously, not sure which one I’m going to see. She lays down on the ground and describes what she’s doing:

  • You sit like this with your legs out. Then you go down and up. And look what else I can do!

She flips over to her stomach side and assumes a push-up position. She goes down and up.

Assuming the postion.

Assuming the postion.

  • See! I can do that exercise, too!
  • Where did you learn that?
  • I made it up.
  • You made it up? (apparently I can only repeat what she just said with a question mark added)
  • You sure? No one showed you?
  • No! I made it up. I am STRONG.


Next day. I just want to see what she says.

  • So, remember yesterday when you did a sit-up?
  • U-huh. (she’s slightly distracted by Mickey Mouse)
  • Who taught you to do that?

Nothing. Silence.

  • Who showed you how to do that?
  • Mooommmmy. I just made it up. You know that!

So…apparently we are raising an exercise Einstein.


It might be more likely she saw her dad doing that last week. That’s almost like making it up, right?


When you’ve got nothing to say….

Dear Kristen,

I love the stories from Hawaii – dancin’ in the seat, chasin’ chickens, flyin’ in death traps helicopters.  It sounds like it was a glorious trip!  (Except for the helicopter – that sounds terrifying.)  And I’m so pleased you made it to Puka Dog – because that is seriously the BEST hot dog I’ve ever had.  Matt and I still talk about it on occasion, almost 10 years later…and it was a hot dog.  A HOT dog.

Over here on the other coast, there’s not much to say.  We’re getting back into the rhythm of life that is not summer; doing projects, making plans, learning things, and drinking coffee.  So when there’s nothing to say…

Show pictures of small people with funny hair…


And silly faces…


Chasing Chickens on the Beach

Dear Erin,

I know it’s weird for you now, although when I talked to you on her first day of school, it sounded like you’d been working on drowning your sorrows in coffee. Coffee makes everything better, right? This weekend the temperature has dropped, and it’s downright cool this afternoon so I think I’ve had more coffee in the last few days than in the week or so preceding.

Of course, last week I was here:


so it was more fruity frozen drinks than coffee.

This was our first vacation together this year, and we went to Hawaii. Mom and Dad invited us to come with them and share their timeshare, and we had never been there before, so it was a pleasure to say yes. We stayed on Kauai, and we felt like a week was a good amount of time to spend there.


We visited the lighthouse, where Little Mister made a friend who taught him to jump on the trapdoor.


The sea was a little rough to get into much, but it was spectacular to watch from the beach, the cliffs, a boat, or a helicopter. And we did all four. If you’re only going to take one vacation per year – and if you have babysitting included – you’ve got to make it count. So we rode in a helicopter tour with the doors off all around the island. We took a sunset dinner cruise and were joined by a pod of dolphins. We drove all over the island to visit the different beaches.

We did a luau of course, and LM had a surprisingly good time throughout the whole thing considering it was nearly all after his bedtime. The show was after the meal, and he sat on my lap, eating puffs like they were popcorn, and watched the whole thing, dancing periodically as the spirit moved him.

He also enjoyed chasing the chickens.


I don’t know if this is the case on the other islands, but on Kauai there are feral chickens. Everywhere. Eventually, Little Mister started chasing them and clapping to scare them away. This has carried over: as we were leaving Target this morning, he started clapping at some of the little birds out front.

Other favorites included 1) running up and down the hills:


(He liked that much better than the beach itself. Every time we tried to take him into the waves that day, he’d ask to get down and then march back up the beach away from the water.)

2) the extremely bumpy road to the beach we visited on the last day (that’s the first picture).

3) identifying every bus we passed on the road (“BUS!!!”) And there were a lot of them.

Anyway, we all had a great time, and it’s nice to know now personally what everyone is always raving about. I had kind of expected something just very similar to Florida, and in some ways they are quite alike. But there are more than enough differences to make me glad we finally got to visit there and know that someday (although not very soon, as a 6 hour plane trip with a small child is not something I seek out in my life) we’ll go back.

Yup, Its Over

Dear Kristen,

You are right; with the coming of Labor Day, summer is officially over.  No more white pants or shoes.  No more pool time (unless its at the gym).  And then, this happened:


It used to be me that headed back to school.  Now its hers.  Here’s her picture for the first day of preschool.

So summer is over.

And life as we knew it.

I think it will be great – but right now, its just weird.


It’s All About the Animals (2015 Summer Series, pt. 4)

Dear Erin,

I guess since today is Labor Day, that means that summer is now officially over. Now if only the weather will start reflecting that. Life is still hot, still sunny, still basically wool-less in my wardrobe.

We have had a few more adventures to round out the season. The other day, Little Mister and I went to Happy Hollow zoo – our first time. He enjoyed the animals.



The only live animals he saw were the farm animals. He liked the goats (he was allowed to try to pet them) and the cow (“moo!”), and none of them were frightening this time. None of them made unexpected noises either, so there’s that.

Then we went over to a different area, where they had fair-type rides for small children. He watched some of the kids we were there with riding around on the car carousel (you sit in a car and it goes around a circle; there’s a bell you can ring if you’re feeling wild), and after the first time, he asked “Go go car?” But when I tried to take him over to put him on the ride, he clung to my waist with his legs, as he had clearly changed his mind.

He did, however, manage to do the carousel, which is progress for him. He didn’t laugh but he didn’t cry and cling to me after the ride started. He got nervous beforehand, but I guess I convinced him to stay on, and I think he was glad he did. It probably helped that he rode the giraffe:



which didn’t move up and down. It was a little less uncanny than those other animals, and he was already a fan of giraffes.


The final movie I watched for the summer series this year was The Secret of Roan Inish.

It is in some ways very similar to Song of the Sea as it uses the same realm of water-spirit tales for its magic. Here, though, it is a little girl who must save her younger brother.

Fiona’s family has a long and legendary history on the tiny Irish island of Roan Inish. But World War II necessitates an evacuation from the island, and when Fiona’s mother dies and her brother is lost at sea during the evacuation, the family’s heart is broken and they decide to abandon their home forever.

After a few years, Fiona returns to the coast to stay with her grandparents. Her grandfather and cousins still fish the waters of Roan Inish and long for it, and Fiona is told all the tales until she is fascinated with the island. On her first visit, she sees a mysterious boy living wild on the island, and she is convinced she’s found Jamie, her little brother, alive and being cared for by seals (or, as another family member says, “another branch of the family”). She must convince her family to return to Roan Inish and make it their home again, so that the seals will give back Jamie.

I still think this is a sweet and gentle, but also very interesting story, and it will be fun to watch it with LM some day. It’s another quiet one, and there are long scenes where Fiona is alone on the island and the only sounds are the wind, the sea, and the birds. And this time, it’s because a lot of interpretation needs to be done without the help of dialogue that I would expect to show him this no earlier than around the age of 7 or 8. In some ways, this movie requires the skills necessary for watching silent films: the ability to read the screen, the ability to read the people. I don’t expect him to get everything the first time through, but any younger and I would guess he’d get bored.

So that finishes this summer’s excursions into film planning. While I enjoyed revisiting most of them, I’m a little disappointed that it feels like LM will need to wait longer than I had anticipated for all of these movies. Maybe in the end, he’ll be ready earlier, but as of right now, I’m feeling more protective and conservative about his experiences than I had any idea of before I had an actual (as opposed to an abstract) child to plan to share these movies with. But the boy still has a lot of growing up to do before he’s ready for any of these. For one thing, right now he can’t sit still long enough to make any of this mean anything yet.