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Reblogged:Friday Hodgepodge

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Four Things

1. My daughter, nearly eight (!) now, complained when I praised her little brother for unbuckling his car seat. She wondered why I never complimented her for the same thing. "I did when you were learning, but you've been doing it yourself for a couple of years now. It's kind of the same way with walking: I was thrilled when you were just a baby and took your first steps, but I don't praise you every time you take a step now." I tried to help her understand that my standards were higher for her because she is older than her brother, but I didn't really feel like I reached her.

Luckily, I might have helped her understand a few days later, when we were driving up to the zoo. Upon seeing the thatched roof over the entrance she said, "That looks zooish," eliciting a chuckle from me.

"What are you laughing about, Daddy?"

"I don't know if that's a real word or not, but it's something a grownup might come up with."

"But what's funny about it?"

"I remember when you were just learning to talk, and it makes me happy to see you coming up with words like a grownup, now."

This caused me to remember the earlier conversation, so I mentioned it, and I think I got her to understand why the bar for praise is a little higher for her than it is for her brother. I did this in part by relating it to how her art has changed over the years.
A happy result is that she made a couple of pictures for us that evening with her watercolor pen set, one of which is at the right.

I recall her wondering recently if we really like her art, so I am hopeful that she now knows for herself that we do.

2. The good news and the bad news about my son is that he is quite enterprising. This sometimes leads to him making unusual requests at very inopportune times.

"Daddy, do have a jar you don't need?"


"What do you need a jar for? asked Mrs Van Horn.

"I want to make a snow globe."

This was fifteen minutes before bedtime, and would have required other supplies we also didn't have. Since he's just under six (and was tired), having his project shot down didn't sit too well with him.

3. Part of the price of living in Florida is the need to be more aware of one's natural surroundings, as the sign at the right, at a park entrance, shows.

And yes, we have spotted an alligator in the pond behind our house. As the kid's piano teacher put it of Florida once, "Wherever there's water, a 'gator will foller."

Luckily alligators aren't aggressive and the kids are old enough to realize they should avoid them. My biggest concern on the reptile front is snakes.

4. My son occasionally confuses similar-sounding words, to varying degrees of humorous effect. I once had to explain that I drink beer, but have a beard on my face.

And then there was the time at a medical clinic, when he wondered if doctor and nurse were "cinnamons." After some difficulty decoding this, I was able to get around to saying, "They do similar work, but not exactly the same things, so they are not synonyms. Cinnamon is a different word from synonym. That's a kind of spice."

And then there was the time he asked for his own diarrhea. "Why on earth would you want that?" I asked, not knowing at first that my wife had gotten my daughter a diary recently. It was something of a relief getting to the bottom of that one!

And yes, as of yesterday, he is the proud owner of a book with a cool lock on it.

-- CAV

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