Tag Archives: kids

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. 🙂

Conversations with My Kids: Get Down on Your Knees

For this post of Conversations with My Kids I’m reminded of how impressionable our children are. This is a conversation between my sweet mother-in-law (MIL) and my daughter in December 2009. She was four years old at the time. Here is how the conversation went:

CJ: Merry Christmas, Meemaw.

MIL: Merry Christmas to you [CJ].

CJ: That’s not good enough.

I was halfway listening to this conversation, but this really got my attention. I turn to watch my daughter.

MIL: Well, Merry, Merry Christmas, [CJ].

CJ: You’ve got to do better than that.

What did she just say? Surely I must have misunderstood her.

MIL: Well, what do you want me to do?

CJ: Get down on your knees and tell me you love me.

At this point, I’m slightly horrified. Who is this little diva who is demanding genuflection as if she were a queen? I’m also fighting the urge to laugh.

MIL: [laughing] If I get down on my knees, I might not be able to get back up. (But Meemaw is a good sport, and gets down on her knees). I love you, [CJ]!

CJ: [smiles] That’s good, Meemaw.

It was only later that I learned where she heard this. Check out the following clip of Home Alone2 at about 1:07.

Conversations with My Kids: Smarties

Photo credit: commons.wikimedia.org
Photo credit: commons.wikimedia.org

Last Halloween, my daughter (seven at the time) was going through her candy deciding which pieces to keep or give away. She came across a package of Smarties and studied the wrapper. Like most kids her age, she is filled with questions about everything. She popped a few in her mouth and then asked the following question.

CJ: Momma, why do they call this candy “Smarties?”

Me: [kidding] Because they make you smart.

CJ: [swallows the Smarties she was chewing and smirks]: Well then how come I didn’t know that?


Conversations with My Kids: The Importance of Staying Hydrated

The other day I heard my kids whispering and giggling in the kitchen. A few minutes later my daughter entered my study and looked at me with these sweet, innocent (ahem) eyes.

CJ: “Momma, are you thirsty?”

Me: “No, I’m okay, baby. Thanks.”

CJ: “Are you sure you don’t want something to drink?”

Me: “No thanks. I’m fine.”

She looks at the ground while obviously grappling with something and then glances up at me excitedly.

CJ: “Momma, you need to stay hydrated.”

Me (fighting back laughter): “What are you two up to?”

CJ: “Nothing. I just thought you might be thirsty, that’s all.”

She was trying desperately to suppress a smile, but just like her father, she can’t tell a lie to save her life. The corners of her mouth turned up slightly and she looked away, hopeful I didn’t notice.

Me: “Well, I guess I am thirsty after all.”

CJ: “Okay! I’ll be right back!”

There is more whispering and giggling coming from the kitchen and then my daughter reappears in the doorway.

CJ: “Here you go Momma.”

Me: “Thanks Baby. You can just set it on my desk.”

She reluctantly walked away and I picked up the glass to take a sip. Here’s what I saw:


No worries. It’s fake. I let out a fake scream and giggled at the laughter that erupted from the kitchen. Little stinkers.

Conversations with My Kids: My “Einstein” Moment

If you’re not familiar with the YouTube episodes of Convos with My Two-Year-Old, then you’re missing out. These episodes are reenactments of real conversations this guy has with his daughter. They’re reenacted by him, occasionally his wife, and a grown man in the role of the daughter. They’re absolutely hysterical. Here is one that will have you rolling with laughter:

As a parent, I can relate to these moments because I have so many similar ones stored up in my memory. Kids are little comedians without intending to be, and sometimes they utter statements so profound you are left speechless.

I have some of these moments written in a journal or on scraps of paper, but I’m sharing them here too, as part of my “Feed the Muse” series. Like I said in this post, feeding the muse isn’t just about reading books on the craft. Read everything (novels, short stories, magazines, poetry, advertisements, etc.) and watch everything (movies, TV, plays, etc.). It doesn’t matter whether it’s good or bad because you can learn what does NOT work as well as what does. But most importantly, LIVE life. We draw from the well of our experiences when we write. The depth of that well is up to you.

“My  ideas usually come not at my desk writing, but in the midst of  living.” ~Anais  Nin

This little gem is from November 2011. My son was eleven at the time, and I was helping him with his math homework. I wasn’t getting the answer I expected to a problem and couldn’t figure out why.

Me: “Huh, that’s weird. The formula should work. Let me try it with different numbers.” I arrived at the expected result from the answer key. “See, it worked that time. Why isn’t this one working?” I continued to be perplexed about the first equation. I’ve always been  good at math. I’m a CPA, after all, but I was beginning to question whether I was smarter than a 5th grader. Suddenly I realized my mistake. “Oh! I know why. I copied that number down wrong. See, now it works.”

KJ: “Oh whew! I was starting to think the math people got it all wrong. You know, like Einstein and those people.”

Apparently, my son thinks pretty highly of his mother if he ranks my intelligence above Einstein. 🙂