Category Archives: Conversations with My Kids

Team Sidious?

Several months ago, I wrote a post titled Feed the Muse: Get in the Game where I discussed the important lessons I learned from reading Ray Bradbury’s book Zen in the Art of Writing.   To feed the muse, he prescribes  a diet of reading (poems, short stories, essays, novels, anything really) and watching plays, movies, and TV shows.

He also stresses the importance of stepping away from your keyboard and living your life. Bradbury says, “by living well, by observing as you live, by reading well and observing as you read, you have fed Your Most Original Self.”

So go ahead. Write about everyday moments like conversations with your kids. Write about memories from your childhood. Write about the things you’ve observed: the eccentric old woman at the coffee shop, the beggar on the street, the loudmouth at your son’s baseball game, and on and on. It will help you find your voice, or at least preserve a memory.

I feed the muse by posting under the following categories:

  • Book Reviews
  • Conversations with My Kids
  • Feed the Muse (obviously)
  • Inspiration
  • Memories
  • Musical Monday
  • Poetry
  • Quote of the Week

I wanted to do something fun for Friday so here is one for Conversations with My Kids:

The following conversation occurred at the dinner table while my husband, son and I were discussing his baseball tournament for the coming weekend.

Son: What team do we play first?

Hubby [looking at the tournament schedule on his phone]: Team Citius.

Me [looks across table]: Sidious? That’s a strange name. What are they? Star Wars fans?

They stare at me blankly.

Me: What? You know…Darth Sidious.

Son: I think it’s Latin for something, but I think you mean Darth Vader.

Me: Oh. Well anyway, I did mean to say Darth Sidious.

They stare at me wordlessly again.

Me: C’mon. Don’t tell me I know more about Star Wars than you two. He was Chancellor Palpatine before he revealed his dark side.

Son: Oh! The freaky-looking old dude?

Me: Yeah.

Hubby [shaking his head]: Momma should be on The Big Bang Theory.

—————————————————————————–
Well, if I’d seen how it was spelled I wouldn’t have mistaken the team for Star Wars fanatics and imagined them in Storm Trooper uniforms.

What? It’s not a crazy idea. I just Googled “Star Wars baseball” and found this:

home.fuse.net
home.fuse.net

 

Heh. Heh. Oh, and it turns out my son was right. Citius is Latin for “faster.” Citius, Altius, Fortius (Faster, Higher, Stronger) is the Olympic motto.

Also, I apparently need to watch The Big Bang Theory, since those are my peeps. 🙂

 

 

Conversations with My Kids: Mispronounced Words

The following is a conversation between my 13-year-old son (KJ), 8-year-old daughter (CJ), and me :

KJ: Momma, I just discovered I’ve been spelling and pronouncing “environment” wrong for years.

I had to laugh because it was said as if he’d spent decades on the planet.

MJ: How have you been spelling it?

KJ: E-N-V-I-O-R-N-M-E-N-T

MJ: So you’ve been pronouncing it like, IN-VI-ERN-MENT?

KJ: Yeah.

MJ: Makes you sound like a hick.

KJ [chuckles]: I know, but a lot of people pronounce it that way.

MJ: Do I?

KJ: No, but I didn’t really notice I did until I saw the word on one of my homework assignments.

CJ: I’ve been pronouncing a word wrong.

MJ: You have?

CJ: Yeah, I’ve been saying FEB-YOU-AIR-EE. I didn’t know there was an “R” in there. It’s FEB-ROO-AIR-EE! Everybody says FEB-YOU-AIR-EE.

This got me thinking about words that are commonly mispronounced. I thought of  few, but searched on Google for a list. Here are a few I’ve heard or were surprising to me. I have to admit, I was guilty of a few mispronunciations. Click here for the full list.

Incorrect –> Correct 

  • affidavid –> affidavit   Damn. Right of the bat, I’m guilty. I know how it’s spelled, but I think I do this. I can get lazy with the “t” and not say it clearly. Curse you, southern dialect!

Gasp

  • Old Timer’s –> Alzheimer’s  Well, I guess Old Timer’s do get Alzheimer’s.
  • aks –> ask

aks

  • bidness –> business  This one is like nails on a chalkboard.
  • blessing in the skies –> blessing in disguise   I was surprised people mispronounce this one. Maybe they are just waiting for a holy vision to appear?
  • cannidate –> candidate  Maybe it’s a cross between a cannibal and a candidate? It might not be too far-fetched.
  • card shark –> cardsharp  I learned something. I’ve never seen it pronounced or written as “cardsharp.” Guilty, again.
  • carpool tunnel syndrome –> carpal tunnel syndrome   It was probably derived from parents sitting too long in the carpool lane.
  • chester drawers –> chest of drawers  Who has Chester’s drawers?
  • doggy dog world –> dog eat dog world

doggy dog world

  • expecially –> especially  Said by those who are extra special. 
  • Febyuary –> February  Hey, my daughter’s only eight. Cut her some slack. 
  • irregardless –> regardless

Irregardless

  • jewlery –> jewelry This one gets me too.
  • Laura Norder –> law and order  SMH
  • libary–> library  I’m going to go out on a limb and say this person doesn’t visit one.
  • mawv –> mauve [mowv] Learned something else, but it just doesn’t sound right. Guilty, yet again.
  • mute –> moot  Nails on a chalkboard.
  • neanderthal < –> neandertal  Either is acceptable, but Germans pronounce it with a “t” sound. Add German accent if you prefer the “t” version.

Neanderthal

  • nucular –> nuclear  Always makes me think of him.

Bush

  • persnickety –> pernickety (pronounced with a silent “s”)  I’m guilty of pronouncing the “s,” but in my defense, Merriam Webster’s Dictionary shows the incorrect pronunciation.
  • prolly –> probably I’ve seen this one typed like this way too many times. Texting is going to destroy our language.
  • for all intensive purposes –> for all intents and purposes
  • pacifically –> specifically
  • supposably –> supposedly  And I just thought they were just congested.
  • take for granite –> take for granted

granite

  • zuology –> zoology   Never thought about this until now. Is it Zulander or Zoolander?

zoolanderWhat are some words that you often hear mispronounced? Are you guilty of mispronouncing any words?

Conversations with My Kids: The Word Funeral

The following is a conversation I had with my daughter upon picking her up from school:

MJ: How was your day, baby doll?

CJ: There was a funeral at school.

MJ: W-what?

CJ [smiling slyly]: A word funeral. [giggles]

MJ: A word funeral? Tell me about it.

CJ: Well, it was the fourth graders, and they were having a funeral for words that were used too much. They had to use better words in their place.

I didn’t recall my son doing this in 4th grade. I was intrigued.

MJ: What words did they bury?

CJ: Words like “big” and “fun” and “awesome.”

MJ: Really? And what words would you use instead?

CJ: Um, enormous and fabulous and…sublime.

She smiled because we both knew sublime was one she learned from the word of the day. She remembered! I’m so proud of her. I guess I should resurrect the word of the day posts.

As I was searching for an image to attach to this post, I came across this YouTube video for a Dead Words Funeral. Other schools are eulogizing overused words too. The video is adorable. Watch it if you have time.

Conversations with My Kids: The Key to the Magic Kingdom

I was reading the post It Might Look Like Random Crap over at Ionia Martin’s blog Readful Things the other day. She was discussing the random things she cares about, and the first image she posted was a key. It reminded me of a conversation I had with my daughter a few weeks before her sixth birthday.

Me: What would you like for your birthday?

She contemplated the question for a moment, and this is what she said:

CJ: The key to the magic kingdom.

She doesn’t ask for much, does she? I was expecting something simple like a Barbie or a bike, or perhaps some clothes for the little fashionista, but certainly not this. Where does one find the key to the magic kingdom? No ordinary key will do. We’re talking the mother of all keys!

I told my sister about my daughter’s unusual request and she said, “Oh lord! Well, don’t worry. I’m going to find it.”

Being the wonderful aunt she is, she set out to locate it. Her quest took her to far away, and perilous places, places no mere mortal would dare go. Seriously. Have you ever been to Walmart? It’s downright terrifying. All manner of hideous creatures can be found loitering in the aisles. And if you happen to brave the place on Black Friday, you are putting yourself in grave danger. At least that’s what I’ve heard. I don’t shop at Walmart and I don’t set foot in any store on Black Friday.

But my sister was courageous, and after many valiant attempts to locate the key, she eventually she found it. No, it couldn’t be found at a place as common as Walmart. It was masquerading as a home decor item in an obscure little boutique, but my sister knew of its worth upon sight. This was the key to the magic kingdom, no doubt. Or at least that’s what she, and most importantly my daughter, believed.

Here is what the magical key looks like:

magic kingdom keyOkay, so maybe it’s not actually the key to the magic kingdom, but one thing I know for certain: my little girl has the key to my heart.

Conversations with My Kids: Disappearing Forests and the Lorax

deforestationA few months ago, I was driving to the store with my kids. We passed a stretch of highway as we had hundreds of times before, but this time my son gasped as he surveyed the property. What was once beautiful rolling hill country dotted with native trees and plants, and untouched by human hands, was now barren wasteland. The vegetation had been wrenched and scraped from the earth by a team of bulldozers and backhoes.  It resembled a war zone, a picture of complete desolation.

My son’s shoulders slumped and he said, “Another forest…gone.” Then my son, a Discovery channel junkie, started to quote statistics about the disappearing rainforests. “Did you know we lose over 100,000 acres of rainforest every day?”

We had talked about preserving the world’s rainforests and protecting the environment, but I hadn’t expected him to quote the statistics. I knew that the rainforests were being destroyed at an alarming rate but I didn’t realize just how much. The statistic was shocking. “100,000? Really?”

“Yeah,” he turned in his seat to look at the destruction and said, “all so we can have something like a Walmart.”

My daughter’s face turned solemn and she said, “It’s just like the Lorax, Momma.”

LoraxI had no idea I was raising such environmentally conscious kids. The consequences of deforestation on the earth’s ecosystem is devastating. At the rate the rainforests are being consumed, they could be completely destroyed in less than fifty years. The main causes of deforestation are as follows:

  • commercial logging (furniture, paper products, building materials, etc.)
  • clearing land for grazing animals and farming
  • fuel wood to power industrial plants (such as steel and pulp mills)

Now consider these two statistics:

  • More than 20 percent of the world’s oxygen is produced by the Amazonian rainforest, and
  • One-fifth of the world’s fresh water can be found in the Amazon basin.

Air and water: basic necessities for human life. What kind of world are we leaving for our children?

How you can help stop deforestation:

  • Go paperless
  • Recycle
  • Buy recycled products
  • Eat vegetarian
  • Create consumer demand for renewable rainforest products (tropical oils, fruits, nuts, medicinal plants, chocolate, etc.)
  • Plant a tree

To learn more about the consequences of deforestation and how you can help protect the rainforests click here. Please take the time to read this.

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” ~Dr. Seuss, The Lorax

Conversations with My Kids: The Connection between God and E.T.

E_t_the_extra_terrestrialWhen my son was about four I caught him staring out the window one day, seemingly lost in thought.

Me: Whatcha doing buddy?

KJ: Just thinking.

Me: About what?

KJ: [glances at me] What does God look like?

Me: I don’t know. We can’t see him, but he’s always with us.

KJ: [considered my words and then looked out the window again] I think God looks like E.T.

Initially I fought the urge to laugh, but then I reflected on the movie we had recently watched.

E.T. the Extraterrestrial is a science fiction movie that was released in 1982. According to Wikipedia it was the highest grossing film of all time until the release of Jurassic Park in 1993. The main character is a little boy named Elliott. He and his family are trying to cope with the breakup of the parent’s marriage and an absentee father. It was a particularly difficult time in Elliott’s young life and he really needed a friend.

One night Elliott discovers an alien in his backyard. He fears the alien at first, but he’s still curious enough to get to know him. Elliott sneaks him into his home and they become friends. They develop a unique connection where they can communicate telepathically. They share thoughts, experiences and emotions. Elliott grows to understand E.T. through this metaphysical connection. He knows E.T. is kind and good, and that he misses his home.

E.T. soon occupies a special place in Elliott’s heart. He is protective of E.T. because he knows that many people won’t understand him. He knows they would want to keep him and study him as proof of the existence of life beyond our world. He knows that our world will kill him eventually, so he fights to get E.T. home. He is sad to lose his friend, but before E.T. leaves on his spaceship he reassures Elliot that he will be with him always. Here is a clip of that scene:

Apparently, my son got more out of the movie than I had expected.

Me: [hugging my sweet little boy] You just might be right, buddy. I think God is a lot like E.T.

Okay, I’ve watched that scene about a zillion times and it still gets me teary-eyed, especially when I think of this special moment with my sweet boy. {sniff}

Conversations with My Kids: Defense Against the Dark Arts

The following is a conversation I overheard between my two kids.

CJ: [heavy sigh] I have Theater Arts tomorrow.

KJ: Isn’t that a good thing?

CJ: No, because I have Mr. D and he’s not nice.

KJ: There’s another new Theater Arts teacher?

CJ: Yeah.

KJ: [chuckle} It’s kind of like the Defense Against the Dark Arts class in Harry Potter.

CJ: Yeah and Mr. D is like Professor Snape!

This one made me giggle. Love those two!

Conversations with My Kids: The Best Defense

With the start of basketball season right around the corner, I’m reminded of the time my son first played basketball on a team. They were all very young and to help the players grasp the concept of man-to-man defense, each player wore a colored wristband that matched one on the opposing team. All they had to do was find the player who wore the same color wrist band and make sure he didn’t score (without touching him, of course).

My son was a decent defensive player, but there was one game in particular where he seemed to grasp this concept exceptionally well.  I had never seen him play so aggressively. The poor boy on the opposing team didn’t have a chance of scoring because my son was on him like, well, white on rice.

Here is the post-game conversation:

Me: Wow, buddy. You played really good defense today.

KJ: That kid was not nice, Momma.

Me: What did he do?

KJ: He was trash talking.

Me: Really? What did he say?

KJ: I can’t tell you. They were not nice words.

Me: Did you say anything to him?

KJ: Yeah, I told him, “Well, you’re not getting the ball boy!”

Ha! Ha! I love that my son taught a little trash-talker a lesson without stooping to his level. It made this Momma proud. 🙂