Tuesday, June 30, 2009

DNA Through the Eyes Of An 8-Year Old


Caroline and the things she thinks of out of the blue! She was eating breakfast this morning, and this is how the conversation went:

"Mommy, how many people am I related to by blood?"

"You're related to a lot of people by blood. I can't name them ALL. Why do you ask?"

"Because I was just curious. I'm related to you and Daddy by blood, right?"


"But you and Daddy are not related by blood?"

"We hope not."

"That's confusing. And my Uncle Gordon? I'm related to him by blood?"


"But not my Aunt Tanya?"

"Right. She's family, but we're related to her by her marriage to Uncle Gordon, not by blood."

"Oh..." (sounding disappointed)

(and perking back up again)

"Well, but I share blood with you, right Mom?"

"Yes, you do. But I should clarify..... it's not actual BLOOD we're talking about when we talk about being related by blood. It's more a matter of genes. We share genes, which are---"

"Yeah, I know, the instructions in my cells."

"Right, more or less. So you share genes with me and Daddy because we put our genes together to make you, and that's what we mean when we say 'blood'."

"It's kind of weird knowing that the stuff I'm made of was once a part of you."

"Pretty neat the way it works, huh? How does that make you feel?"



Saturday, June 27, 2009

I Gave Birth To An X-Acto Knife.

So other than Caroline being Calvin's miniature spitting image, there was one more incident this week which added to the long line of incidents that have sealed the Envelope of The Undeniable; this kid is more him than me. Indeed, other than her inability to get through a day without injuring herself repeatedly, it is becoming clearer and clearer that I was simply her feeding-machine for the 80 months that I carried her in my womb.

Background: Calvin can't cook. Well, ok...he can, but only if there are VERY. SPECIFIC. INSTRUCTIONS.
In the absence of painstakingly specific instructions, he won't even acknowledge that anything can be done with those broccoli florets in the crisper. And taking those cookies out one minute before hand to ensure they stay soft? NO, THE DIRECTIONS DID NOT SAY SO! Adding a splash of chicken broth to the stir-fry instead of ONE EXACTLY-MEASURED tablespoon? Did the directions say to do that? THEN, NO! YOU CANNOT!

In short, cooking is no joy for this man. Even a frozen pizza becomes an endeavor performed on the most treacherous ledge. The pizza will be left in for EXACTLY the 12 minutes the directions say; no more, no less. You want to leave it in an extra minute or two for a crispier crust? Tough, the directive from the proper authority was not given.

Well, guess who inherited Daddy's refusal to take culinary risks?

The other day, she got a treat: one of those Kid Cuisine frozen meals. You know the ones, right? The ones you wish you hadn't read the nutrition label on because you then realize that feeding one to your kid is pretty much the same as giving her a heroin needle, slapping her on the back and saying "Go nuts, Buddy!"? Yes, those.

So she's in the kitchen and she's reading the directions and following them exactly (taking things out of the tray, microwaving, taking the tray out, stirring, adding the previously-removed items, putting it back in....etc) when suddenly she runs across a direction that has Mommy putting breaks on. The photo on the front shows the little fried death-patty in a bun with the whole thing cut in half seemingly at the same time. But the directions...those diabolical directions...seem to call for the cutting of the bun and the fried death patty separately before the joining of the six peices back together again. And, according to the directions, she was about to get a knife, cut the patty in half, then cut the bun in half top-to-bottom (it's already halved length-wise) and then assemble the whole thing back the way it should be. This seemed a waste of time to me (as well as an unnecessary prolonging of the time she's holding a knife), when the patty can just be put IN the bun and the whole thing cut ONCE at the SAME TIME. And I pointed this out to her. See, I said air-demonstrating, you can just put the whole thing together and THEN cut. It'll come out more evenly and save you some cutting! Voila!

"No, Mommy, look! The directions don't say to do that! They say to do it THIS WAY."

"Caroline, I'm only showing you an easier way. Directions don't always have to be followed exactly."

And that's when her head exploded.


Friday, June 19, 2009

Maybe We Should Call The CDC.



(3 second pause)


"Yes? What is it?"

"This computer is moving very slowly. It keeps freezing up on me!"

"I know, honey. It does that to me and Daddy too. You'll just have to be patient with it."

"But WHY?"

"Because it's old and full of big files and there isn't a lot of memory left."

"Are you sure it didn't catch one of those germs?"

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Trip And The Time Since

Yes, clearly it's been more than awhile since I posted here. Not because there isn't much going on....indeed, there is ALWAYS something going on with Caroline...but because I have been going through this phase of not being able to concentrate on anything for more than two minutes. No focus whatsoever. Nada. It does make things rather difficult, as you can imagine. And why? Adult onset ADD maybe? That lingering crack problem perhaps? Or just too much coffee? Well, I cut out the mere three cups of coffee and tea I was drinking (per week) and here I am posting once again, so I guess it's safe to continue with the crack.

In the haze of the last few months though, while promising myself I'd write down all the noteworthy stuff Caroline said, I procrastinated until I forgot most of it. Let this be a lesson to me. My mom was right: Write It Down!

Here's a quick run-down of the events instead: In April, Calvin's brother, Gordon and our sister-in-law, Tanya, came to visit. It was decided that because their visit was so short and they might not come again before we left, we should fit as many things into 9 days as possible. And did we ever! In 9 days we saw Paris, Venice, Florence and we did the obligatory tour of Stuttgart as well as made a visit to the Fruehling (Spring) Fest. It was great fun that went by all too fast. We really hated to see Tanya and Gordon go back home. We kept offering to keep them. They only had to be willing to give up their gorgeous, custom-built and immaculately clean house, as well as their glamorous single-people life of wine parties, street fests, exciting, cultured friends and loud sex whenever they wanted, to stay here with us. It's a complete mystery that they didn't take us up on it.

Throughout the whole trip, Caroline was wonderful. It's not easy for an 8-year old to get up early, walk all day, change a million trains, planes and automobiles, stay up late every night and still be well-behaved for 9 days straight. But if any kid can do it, Caroline can, and did. It really comes in handy to have a kid who's genuinely interested in history and culture. She was actually excited to see the Louvre, the Acadaemia and the winery (where she squawked at chickens and played with the owner's dog....and held a funeral for a dead baby bird she found). In between sites and scenes, she happily plowed through the the last 4 Harry Potter books in their entirety. I am so thankful that we've got such a kid. Other than the occasional smart-ass attitude she's got (it's astounding to behold when she gets going) and a penchant for dry sarcasm (she's admirably adept at this) that leaves me speechless sometimes, she's very easy to get along with. It's fortunate, too; that trip would have been impossible otherwise. This, by the way, is one of the reasons we're not having any more kids. The next one would surely be a little hellion, the universe's way of reminding us we had an unfair advantage the first go-round. I know it.

Here are some photos of the trip:

Other than that, our lives have been taken up with Caroline's numerous activities. Piano, Running Club, Baseball, Guitar and Robotics Club. My school is still a big factor that takes up a lot of time too, of course. I think we overbooked the season. This summer we'll have to make up for it by staying home, sleeping 'till noon, and eating popsicles all day.