Posts Tagged "laughs"

The Dinosaur Gods

Posted by on Jun 15, 2013 | 1 comment

The Dinosaur Gods

My husband and I were both raised in religion, his was Judaism, mine was Presbeterianism (is that an ism?). I was baptized, he had his Bar Mitzvah. He even went to a Catholic high school, and took an educational trip to Israel. He is decidedly more well-versed in religion than I am.

Yet we have both come to the same decision: as far as our “formal” beliefs as adults go, the jury is still out. Agnosticism, atheism, there’s not quite an -ism for us. Not-sure-what-to-label-us-ism.

Either way, there is one thing that’s clear. We have never really discussed the concept of “God” with our children.

We have talked about death. Death and dying and the afterlife and all of the details therein ad nauseum. The boys are very aware that their Grandma Judi (my mother) passed before they were born, and for several years now they’ve been asking the whole gamut of questions.

Death is always a tricky one with children, but as usual, autism brings it to a whole new level. Jack’s phase of asking people about my mother’s death directly seems to have ceased for the time being. My father will be happy to hear that one.

Jack understands that my parents divorced before my mother died, and he gets where his Grandma S (my step-mother) fits into the picture. That didn’t stop him from looking my father directly in the eye and asking “is your wife dead?”

Yeah, that was an awkward moment. I had prepared my step-mom for the potential questions, since it had been a hot topic for Jack that month, but I had forgotten to inform my dad.

Sorry, Dad. He gets it now. I think.

So even though we have gone through the science and semantics of life, the universe and everything, we have not yet discussed the Big Guy in The Sky. Not for any specific reason, we just haven’t.

Until this week.

For some reason, Jack was discussing baptism with his special needs assistant (SEA) at school. She told him that baptism is, basically, where babies get a little water put on their head, and it’s something people do to show their devotion to God.

Yes, he wanted to know all about why you would possibly want to put water on a baby, but that wasn’t the first thing he asked. No, he had another query, one his SEA was wholly unprepared for.

“What’s God?”

I would like to formally apologize to Jack’s SEA. I remember the first time he asked about death, and the cold chill that went up my spine. My husband wasn’t home, and I was put right on the spot. What’s the right answer? *Is* there a right answer?

After taking a moment to consult her French dictionary, the SEA rallied.

“God is a supreme being that some people believe in, and they go to church to show their belief.”

Jack thought about that for a while. He’s been obsessed with space and all things science, so she expected a whole host of pointed questions.

He had only one.

“I went to dinosaur camp in a church. Do those people believe in dinosaurs?”

Yes, yes they do.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

dinosaur gods

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Sink or Swim

Posted by on Jun 11, 2012 | 1 comment

Sink or Swim

Jack is interested in all kinds of things.  He loves volcanoes, space, planting things in his garden, and airplanes.  He flings himself full-force into his passions du jour, and wants to know everything there is to know about them.

Now Jack has decided he doesn’t just love airplanes, he wants to fly them. “I want to earn a badge for flying an airplane when I grow up,” he told me recently.  “Badges are my favorite.  They don’t give you badges for flying rocket ships.”

This I did not know.

So, we chat about what kind of planes he wants to fly and where he wants to go.  He has it all figured out.  “I want to fly people to another airport through the clouds.”

So, an airline pilot?  Sounds good.  I start to explain about flight school, and how he’ll need to go there when he’s older.  He stopped me mid sentence: “I just need to figure out which button to push to make the airplane fly.”

That’s when it dawns on me, this is just like swimming.

Jack can’t swim.  At least, he’s never had formal lessons (he will, I promise).  The last time we were at the pool, though, Jack didn’t want our help with anything.  You see, Jack believes he has taught himself how to swim.

This is most inconvenient when faced with an open body of water.  And, you know, the fact that Jack can not, in fact, swim.

The swimmer touches the ocean for the first time.

He would not accept the notion that he didn’t know how to swim.  He explained to us that he simply needed to move his arms like so, and his legs like so, and although he didn’t actually want to put his face in the water like the other people, that would be fine.  See, he’s swimming! (Cue the child almost sinking to the bottom of the pool.)

Jack has now applied his theory of self-education to flight, and is equally stubborn about its certain success.

Jack's flight school. Don't worry, he's got this.

I would recommend you check the credentials of your flight crew the next time you embark on air travel.  Just in case.



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Mind Games

Posted by on Jan 29, 2012 | 2 comments

Mind Games
Jack’s mind fascinates me.  It’s complex, beautiful, inquisitive and sometimes unnerving.  He is endlessly curious, and has an eye for detail that would put a crime scene investigator to shame.  Most people who know Jack have enjoyed at least small glimpses into the way he thinks, and whether or not they understand his thought processes, they are appreciated.
Occasionally, Jack has encounters with people who don’t know him and aren’t familiar with his particular perspective.  These encounters are usually positive, with one very notable exception.
A few weeks ago, David was out in our townhome complex with the boys as they rode bikes.  Jack and Lennon are on big boy bikes now, so they have a sort of free reign of the immediate vicinity, and are allowed to ride around while David stays with Kieran on his tricycle.  The rule is everyone must stay within earshot, check in frequently, and pull aside for vehicles.

King of the road.

Jack failed to yield to a car coming through the complex, and the woman driving took issue.  He was definitely in the wrong for not getting out of the way, but we live in a complex full of children, so the driver should have also known to be on the lookout for bikes and scooters and wild runaways.  She pulled into her driveway and pounded a path straight to David.
David knew she was upset, so he called Jack over.  The woman unleashed a torrent on Jack, which, apparently, he wasn’t in the mood for.  She started talking about him needing to watch where he’s going, and he interrupted her, “but! but!”
“No buts!” she kept telling him.
David couldn’t look at her.  He knew Logical Jack was about to take the floor, and there would be no mercy.  He stepped back and let Jack handle the situation.
She continued. “When I’m coming, you need to move to the side of the road.”
He looked at her.  “I don’t even know what your car looks like.”
She blinked.  “Any car.  You need to move for any car.”  She was getting upset.
Jack, of course, did not notice.  “Well, if it’s any car, how do I know if you’re driving it?”
He went on. “Cars pass us all the time and you’re the only one getting upset!”
She looked at David.  She’d had enough.  I’m not sure if there was actually smoke coming out of her ears, but David was afraid it might happen, so he encouraged Jack to simply apologize.
“Ok,” he chirped, unfazed. “I’m sorry!”  He turned away and sped off on his bike.  The woman looked at David and huffed off to her home.  We haven’t seen her since.
Sometimes I worry about Jack’s future and his ability to handle difficult situations.  Sometimes I’m pretty certain he’ll be just fine.

King of the world.

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Berry Happy

Posted by on Jul 21, 2011 | 6 comments

Berry Happy

Like all moms, I’ve been struggling to keep my children occupied over their summer vacation.  Unlike the rest of the Northern Hemisphere, however, I’ve also been dealing with rain.  Lots and lots of rain.  Every single day.  In biblical proportion.  We’ve had the occasional burst of sunlight, but rarely enough to enjoy for a full morning or afternoon, let alone make plans around.  Our new city is overflowing with amazing parks, beaches, playgrounds with water features, and wondrous natural sights to behold, but most just aren’t that fun when you’re drenched.

(I know, we moved here and we should expect rain – but we’re not completely used to it yet, and seriously, it’s rained a LOT this year.)

Basically, my point is my entire summer strategy has been put on rain delay.  I had hoped to run them ragged daily at the playground and spray parks or in our little backyard splash pool.  I envisioned sun-drenched children happily dragging themselves to bed each night, drunk on outdoor play.  I did not plan for a Junuary rainmageddon.

I took this photo June 13th.

Instead, I’ve been keeping them sane with arts and crafts, trips to the indoor playground (ok, Daddy takes them there while I recharge), and copious amounts of Dora and Diego.  Yes, my children have watched a lot of television this summer.  I’m not proud.

Today, when the rain stopped unexpectedly, we decided to go pick raspberries.  We have already picked strawberries twice and raspberries on two other occasions, but all of those trips save one have involved me picking solo while Daddy watches the boys at the farms’ playgrounds.  The one strawberry picking trip we tried with the kids resulted in Kieran throwing every berry he picked, Lennon eating every berry he picked, Jack analyzing every single berry for ripeness before picking three, Daddy overseeing everything while stating periodically that he is “not a farmer,” and me stooped over gathering berries madly while trying to keep my camera out of the rain (yes, it rained that day, too).

Not a lot of picking happening here.

We have been exploring the many farms in our vicinity, and decided to try a new one this morning (mostly because their raspberry u-pick price was the best).  We gauge a farm’s “awesomeness” on several things, mainly their ability to entertain the children.  I was on a mission for berries today, though, and put savings ahead of my kids’ happiness.  I figured if worst came to worst, they’d learn how to pick raspberries.  What could go wrong?

Of course, today’s farm had no playground, no petting zoo, no silly pictures of anthropomorphized berries they could stick their heads through for photos.  It was just a farm, with fields and some porta-potties.  And some wagons.  We grabbed a wagon and headed into the raspberry field, visions of raspberries dancing in our heads.  Actually, I had visions of my children red from head to toe with juice and screaming from pricking their fingers on the bushes, but I didn’t share those fears with my husband.

The raspberry bushes we encountered were taller than David, so much to his chagrin I put a bucket in his hand and set him to work on the highest branches.  Both Lennon and Jack had buckets, and Kieran was master of the wagon.  This scenario did not last long.  David picked a handful before abandoning his post, Lennon picked loads of gorgeous berries that only saw the inside of his stomach and not his bucket, and then he and Kieran fought over who got to run us down with the wagon.  Eventually, in the interest of actually taking some raspberries home, I told David to take the younger boys back to the parking lot to play with the wagons.  Jack stayed behind with me to pick, and pick he did.

Getting the hang of it

Once he understood how to pick the ripest berries, Jack was fully into the task.  He analyzed them, pulled gently, and tucked them into his bucket.  At one point, though, he got a little carried away with telling me how he was picking them and stopped actually doing it.  I grabbed a big, beautiful berry he had missed and said, “Jack!  You missed me!  I want to go in your bucket!”

He loved it, and jumped right into the game.  He talked to every single berry he encountered, and had quite the conversations.  Some berries were ready to be in his pie, some wanted to swim in his stomach.  There were whole raspberry families, cousins and friends.  The unripe ones he had to leave behind, “because they’re still babies,” he promised to come back and get when they were ready.  Jack didn’t pick a ton of fruit, but he did pick happy fruit.

A job well done

We finally filled all of our baskets and buckets and started back to the pay stand, Jack pulling the wagon the whole way.  He was proud and excited about what he’d done, and made sure to tell Daddy all about it when we returned.

Old enough to do the manly work

As we drove home, I expected him to be sleepy and ready for his nap, exhausted from his great endeavor.  Instead, he wondered why we hadn’t gone to a playground, too.

How many days left until school starts?

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The Banana Miracle

Posted by on Jun 15, 2011 | 3 comments

The Banana Miracle

I have three boys, so life in my house is a peaceful, harmonious existence.  And if you believe that, I have a bridge I’d like to sell you.  Life with three boys is a curious, crazy, chaotic thing.  I have many friends with a boy or maybe two boys, and they understand how the male children are a different beast than the female children.  Three of them, though, is a whole different animal.  Three or more boys growing up together develop a herd mentality, and woe to all who cross their path.

We’re doing teamwork!

I like to call my pack of boy children Team Baskin.  They play, rest and destroy things in unison.  I am their shepherd, attempting to keep them within boundaries and in one piece.  There are the inevitable bumps and scrapes along the way, although we have thus far avoided any major injuries and trips to the hospital.  In the last month my children have sustained a trio of smashed thumbs (a group lesson in playing with doors), scraped knees and elbows, and several poked/smacked faces.

The boys have, of late, all been fascinated with eyes.  It started as a stimming exercise with Jack, touching his eyeballs and pulling randomly on his eyelashes.  No amount of explanation or threats to take him to the eye doctor made him stop, and the next thing I knew all three were poking and prodding at their eyes and eyelids.  While eating a banana the other day, Jack decided it would be a great idea to stick the stem in his eye.  I heard the screeching across the house.

We got him calmed down and realized a) his cornea wasn’t scratched, just irritated, and b) he had done it on purpose.  David told him he needed to eat the banana, not put it in his eye.  He did, and said his eye was all better.

“The banana found the entrance to the owie and made my body heal!” he squealed.  “The matassium made it better!” Whatever works, bud.

Bananas – nature’s miracle

The next night, Jack threw a block at his brother in a fit of anger, hitting him just below his lower eyelid.  He was quite repentant when I pointed out that Lennon would probably have a black eye.  Jack cried and insisted I get brother a banana, stat.  Lo and behold, Lennon’s eye was fine in the morning.

I had hoped our brushes with ocular disaster would end the eyeball fascination, but instead, the twin Banana Miracles have fueled it.  My children now eat 3 or 4 bananas (each) a day, convinced they will cure all of their scrapes and bruises.  Jack inspects everyone’s eyes, and prescribes bananas if he finds anything suspect.

I hope Team Baskin can rally and continue on in their path of destruction and discovery together. I fully expect them to have a future full of ice packs and stitches and casts and any number of owies that require more than a banana can deliver.  In the meantime, I wonder if I could get a banana tree to grow in British Columbia.


UPDATE:  Boy number four is due in a few weeks. This should be interesting.

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