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BOOM! Splat.


On the way into the pumpkin patch…BOOM!-splat!

F (holding Daddy’s hand): That’s just the er, eh, uh…
D: Pumpkin Blaster. That’s the Pumpkin Blaster.
F: We don’t even need to do the Pumpkin Blaster, right, Daddy? Because the Pumpkin Blaster just wastes pumpkins, right?
D: Right. It shoots small pumpkins that smash all over, and…
F: But, why do they just waste those pumpkins like that, Daddy? I don’t like that. We don’t need to do that Pumpkin Blaster.
D: Okay.
F: Because if you just put pumpkins in that gun and shoot them and stuff, then that’s just wasting pumpkins, right, Daddy?
D: Kind of, yah.

Everyone experiences three or four hours of wonder that is the pumpkin patch to beat all pumpkin patches, trains, hayrides, pony rides, the petting zoo, a carousel, on and on. As a last activity before heading over to buy carving pumpkins to take home, Fisher lines up the Pumpkin Blaster. BOOM! Splat!

P: Nice shot!
D: Good one, Fisher.
Fisher ignores the praise.
P: Aim for the truck, Fisher.

Fisher silently shifts the sight up for a longer shot. BOOM! And splat!

D: Oooooh!
P: Nice shot!

Third and final shot…BOOM! Splat!

F (excited, holding Daddy’s hand): I just shot three of those pumpkins from that blaster!
D: You did a great job hitting those targets, Fisher. I liked watching…
F: Daddy, can we do the Pumpkin Blaster one more time?
D: I don’t know…
F: Ooooh…
D: Oh, wait, yes, we can, but we have to buy our pumpkins and head home now. We can do it again, but it’ll have to be next year, okay, because we really have to buy some pumpkins and get home.
F: Yay!

Fisher joins in, as Daddy walks away, singing, “Boom! Splat! The sound of my heart, the beat goes on and on and…”

Confusing Ask and Tell

Fisher sits on Daddy’s lap in the early a.m., both looking out the window into the backyard as Fisher wakes up.

F (mixing up “ask” and “tell”): Daddy, can I tell you a question?
D: Of course you can ask me one.
F: How do fleas get here?
D: Well, they live outside, and when one of the dogs goes outside, those fleas jump on the dog, and the dog brings them back inside.
F: No, but how do they er, uh, eh get here so much?
D: Well, then the fleas that the dogs bring in lay eggs. More fleas hatch from those eggs.
F (a little frustrated): No, Daddy, but who put them there?
D: Do you mean who put the eggs there? The adult…
F: No, I mean, who put the fleas there, how did they get there for the first time?
D: Oh, fleas have been around for millions of years, so…
F: But, who put the first ever flea there?


D: Well, nobody knows for certain.
F (reaching up to touch Daddy’s face): Did God put the first ever flea there?
D: Some people think so. Some people believe that living things developed over millions of years, from the tiniest things, like viruses and bacteria, into bigger things, like fleas, and so on until really big living things like you and me developed. That’s called evolution. Can you say “evolution”?
F: Evolution.
D: And some people believe other things, too. A combination of God putting fleas there in an instant, BAM, and evolution putting those fleas there over millions of years of evolution.

Long pause.

F: Daddy, what do you believe?

Long pause.

D: Like everyone else, I don’t know for sure how the first flea ever developed, but I believe in a combination.
F: God and evolution?
D: Yes. I don’t believe stories that people tell, that one day there were no lions or zebras or birds or humans or fleas and seven days later, WHAM-O, BAM-O, there they all were. Those are just stories.
F (thumb touching Daddy’s chin): Oh.
D: And, I think questions like this — how did fleas get here — are questions that we may never know the answer to. (Pause.) Fisher, how do you think the first flea got here?
F: I don’t know. That’s why I asked you, Daddy.
D (wondering what he’s really thinking about all of this): Well, anytime you have any good ideas about how fleas first got here, I want to hear them, okay, Fisher?
F: Okay, Daddy.
D: Because I always like to hear what people think the answers to the hard questions are.
F (still absently touching Daddy’s chin): Okay, Daddy. I’ll tell you. I like to tell you those things.

Unclear whether he is mixing up “ask” and “tell” again.

Officer Mike’s Backseat

An alarm from the construction site a couple of houses down brings a volunteer police officer to the street. After verifying that everything is okay at the property, he pulls around, parks his car, jumps out, and asks the kids (who had been riding their bikes) if they wanted to check out his police car.

Fisher immediately begins parking his bike. Cory looks to Daddy. Daddy nods. She starts parking her bike. Papa and Officer Mike begin chatting about boats in Discovery Bay, volunteering on the police force in Los Altos, and the officer’s day job (commercial construction for companies like VMWare and Google). While Fisher and the neighbor boys turn the police lights on and off, Cory whispers in Daddy’s ear, “His name is Mike, just like yours.” She smiles.

Officer Mike shows his shoulder-mounted camera, extra bullets, and taser. He explains how much it hurt when he was tased in training, turning it on (pointed to the street) to show the red light and engage a bit of electricity for them. The kids are quite impressed. Although neither seems to ever want to be tased, Fisher does have that “I get to pull a trigger?” gleam in his eye.

A short time later, Daddy walks around the vehicle as they contemplate the bars on the back windows and the thick plastic barrier between back seat and front.

C: They need that there because the bad people sit in the back?
D: Yes.
F: So, they don’t do anything to Officer Mike?
D: Right.


C (in quiet voice): Have bad people been in that seat?
D: Probably, Cory. If they’ve been arrested by Officer Mike. Do you want to get in the back there behind those bars?
F/C (shaking heads “no”): Uh uh.
D: Good. (Pause.) Just remember that when you are fifteen.
F: What did you say, Daddy?
D: Nothing, guys. Nothing.

Friday night moves along.

The St. Louis Slytherins?

Last night’s game between the Giants and the Cardinals may have been the first time the twins have ever watched baseball.

At dinner, Daddy explains that Uncle Timothy and Aunt Therese, who live in Kansas City, are excited because the Royals have already made it to the World Series, but that the rest of Daddy’s Missouri friends and relatives are pushing (ad nauseam on Facebook) for the Cardinals to beat the Giants so that it’s an all-Missouri contest. The twins don’t really understand any of that.

Just before bedtime, Daddy and Papa turn the game on at about the bottom of the fifth inning, Cards up, 3-2. The conversation goes a little something like this…

P: Foul ball.
C: What’s a foul ball?
P/D: [Explanation.]
F: Can we go read Harry Potter?
D: In just a minute.
P: A bunt! Oh, it’s a foul.
C: What’s a bunt?
P/D: [Explanation.]
P: A strike.
C: What’s a strike?
P/D: [Explanation.]
F: Can we go read Harry Potter?
D: In just a minute.
P: A fly ball.
C: What’s a fly ball?
P/D: [Explanation.]
P: The inning’s over.
C: What’s an inning?
P/D: [Explanation.]
C: Did the Cardinals score a point?
D: It’s not called a point in baseball. It’s called a run. And, no. You have to get someone all around the bases to score a run.
C: Like kickball?
D: Yes.
F: Are Uncle Tim and Aunt Therese at this game?
P: No, this game is in San Francisco. That pitch was a ball.
C: What’s a pitch?
P/D: [Explanation.]
F: Can we just go read Harry Potter?
D: In just a minute.
C: Why does that boy have to catch all of the balls?
D: Because he’s the catcher.
F: Daddy!? Can we go read Harry Potter now?
D: In just a minute.

Eventually, Daddy and the kids go read a chapter. Hermione gets the idea for the Polyjuice Potion to trick Malfoy while Papa mans the TV. Nothing much happens.

The gang returns to watch the final couple innings. As soon as everyone sits back down, the Giants hit the first home run to tie the game up. “What’s a home run?” The Giants hit another home run for the win. Pandemonium on the TV. “Did they win the World Series?” Kids head off to bed.

F (the next morning): Daddy, I have a connection!
D: What?
F: The er, uh, eh Cardinals are like Slytherin. And the Giants are like Gryffindor. And that’s why I want the Giants to win. Hagrid is a giant, right?
D (laughing): I like that connection. Just don’t tell anyone in Missouri about that one.
F: Okay, Daddy.

Seven Feet Two

During a measure-fest, Daddy discovers that Cory has passed four feet tall.

C: How does my body keep getting taller?
D: Well, you keep eating good foods, and your body takes the good stuff in those foods and makes more of…you.
C: But, how?
D: Your stomach and your intestines break the food down so that your body can pull all of the good stuff out. And then your body puts that stuff together to make you bigger. Your bones get bigger, your muscles get bigger, your skin…
C: But, I don’t eat bones. Daddy, remember when there was that bone in that chicken nugget? I didn’t like that. I didn’t eat that, so…
D: No, you didn’t eat that. It’s a good thing. But, you don’t have to eat bones to make bones. Your body can make bones out of calcium and other things.


C: Will I be as tall as you someday?
D: I don’t know. 6’2” is pretty tall for a woman. That would be cool.
C (grinning): Then, I’d beat you at tennis!
D: You might beat me at tennis anyway.
C: I could be as tall as Maria Sharapova. She’s taller than you, right, Daddy?
D: Yes, I think so.
C: Does that mean that she’s 7’2” or something?
D: No, silly! That means that she is 6’3”. Or something.


C: I think I’m going to be 6’3”, too.
D: Okay, sounds good. We’re gonna see. But, Cory Bee, can you do me a favor?
C: What, Daddy?
D: Can you slow down just a little bit? It’s hard for me to see you get so tall already.
C: Sure.
D: Because if you get much taller, you won’t be able to curl up on my lap in the morning, so…
C: Jason told me today that with my new hoodie and pants, I look like a college.
D: You mean a college student?
C (smiling): Uh huh.
D (hiding a little sadness): I can see what he meant. (Shaking it off.) You know, on second thought, Cory, bring it. You get to 6’3”, I’ll shrink to 6’1”, and we’ll see who beats whom on the court! Bring it!
C: I’m gonna beat you!
D: Think so, do you?
C: Yah, because I’ll be taller…and you’ll be old and stuff.

Her long legs aren’t yet fast enough to escape Daddy’s. Lying on a bean bag on the floor in her room, laughing from all the tickling, she doesn’t look anywhere near four feet tall.