Category Archives: humor


I’m just finishing up my breakfast when my son says: “So mom, the first people on the earth, how did they spread?” 

“What do mean ‘how did they spread?’” I ask, feeling a bit defensive as I shovel the last bite of french toast, the last bite of bacon, into my mouth.  Is he setting me up for a fat joke, I wonder? 

“Well, how did they spread around?  Did God send down more or were some of them girls and they had babies?”

Ah!  It’s not a fat joke after all.  In my mind I picture people floating down from the heavens in a tunnel like band of light. The opposite direction of how you might imagine people being sucked up by an alien space ship hovering in the clouds.

The voices in my head start up.  They gasp, and wonder why he is thinking about this.  The voices rise as they start to panic in my brain, Why?  Why are you asking me this?  You are SIX, just go watch some cartoons already.  Be a couch potato for half an hour.  Quit playing ‘inquiring minds want to know.’  Let your mother get back to thinking about piercing her nose…

“I think some were girls and they had babies,” I tell him.

To which he replies, “Oh.  So when the babies grew up if they were girls they had more babies.”  And I agree that sounds about right.

Then he says, “Well, the first people, they were all family right?  So then if they were family, then everyone in the world today is really family to each other.”  In my mind I sigh, and out loud I agree that at some level, he is probably right.  I wait for him to go on, to take it to the next level and tell me that if everyone in the world is family and people get married, then that means they are marrying family, so it should be okay for him to marry his cousin Emma after all.  But luck is on my side, and he doesn’t go there.

I don’t feel like playing religious education teacher this morning.  I don’t have the strength of will to explain the Catholic’s concept of God as the one and only father because I know it will lead to more questions.  And probably defiance.  I can picture it clearly, Snags arguing with his father: “Mom said you aren’t my REAL dad, so you can’t tell me what to do.  I don’t have to pick up my LEGOs unless God tells me to!” 

And then, “How did you have a baby with God anyway, Mom?” I know if I try to explain he will ask me that next.  So yes, I think, best to let this one sit there for now.  Maybe the Scooby Doo cartoon on TV will capture his interest.

At dinner time, just as I get a mouthful of turkey Snags asks, “So who invented Disney World, anyway?  And how did they invent Disney World?”

“A man named Walt Disney had a dream,” I offered.

“A dream about what?” Snags asks.

“A dream to build the happiest place on earth,” my husband helpfully chimes in.

“But how did Mickey Mouse come to life?” Snags wonders.

This one, I’m confident, I can handle.  I sit up a little straighter.

“Well,” I say, “a cartoonist was drawing cartoons on a piece of paper, and there was this strange little bottle sitting on his desk.  He had never seen the bottle before and he didn’t know what it was, but he didn’t give it much thought.  While he was drawing, he accidentally knocked the bottle over and the cork popped out and the liquid inside spilled all over his drawing.  It turned out that the liquid was growth serum and when it hit the drawing of Mickey Mouse, the paper started to bubble and Mickey Mouse grew right out of the drawing!  He popped right out and was actually standing ON the desk.  Then he waved at the man who drew him, and he said “Hiya!” and the man fainted from shock right there.

I imitate what I think a man fainting from shock right where he is sitting might look like.  Snags giggles.  I’m proud of my explanation, it sounds good.


“What color was the growth serum?  Was it blue?  Was it green?  Was it red?  Can we get some? Where did it come from? Let’s get some! Can we make some?  Where do they sell growth serum?  Tell me again what happened…”

And the questions continue until Snags decides that maybe we can get some growth serum and use it to bring the dead back to life!  I shudder at the thought, wondering who he would use this on, if he could.  With visions from W.W. Jacob’s The Monkey’s Paw in my mind, I gently explain how that might not be such a good idea.  With Easter around the corner I consider telling him that only God can bring the dead back to life, but decide to leave it alone, for now.  I stick with a watered down explanation of zombies and the decaying dead, and how if he used the growth serum he’d be bring back nothing but skeleton bones.  It sounds plausible enough.  But later, my husband asks me why I didn’t just tell him that Mickey came to life from Disney Magic.  Damn! Why didn’t I think of that? I wonder.  But it’s okay.  I can use the Disney Magic explanation the next time Snags asks about how people came to earth and started spreading around. 

The only problem, as I see it, is how to explain things once Snags realizes that Mickey Mouse isn’t real.  That Mickey Mouse at Disney World is really just a person inside a costume.  I guess I’ll have to teach him about cannibalism then. 


Filed under death, Disney, God, humor, life, Magic, Snags

Fair Weather Friends

Woe is the life of a six year old.  I mean, who knew kids could be so… fickle?  Snags has decided to start a club.  But only kids who are nice to him can join.  This leaves Trevor and Zane out, that’s for sure. Because they aren’t nice.  In fact, they aren’t even Snags’ friends anymore.  Especially Trevor, he’s downright mean. 

Alarming, isn’t it? Just wait, there’s more.

What, I inquired, did Trevor do that was so mean?

“I don’t remember,” Snags said.

Okaaaay then, I thought.  “Well, if you can’t remember what he did that was so mean, how do you know he was actually being mean?” I asked.

“Well, everyone knows you can’t break a pinky swear, but Trevor did.  There’s a fiddle diddle that you can break a promise but you can’t break a pinky swear.  Or maybe it’s you can break a swear but you can’t break a pinky swear…  Or maybe it’s you can break a pinky promise but not a pinky swear.  I can’t remember, but I think it’s you can break a promise but definitely not a pinky swear.”

Yes. Right. Of course. Clearly! I thought. “But wait!” I nearly shouted, as I held up my hand in the classic “Stop! Talk to the hand!” position.     “A fiddle diddle?”  I asked.

He rolled his eyes.  “It’s like a rhyme, mom.  Geez.” And in his mind I could hear him thinking, My mom is so uncool. She doesn’t even know what a fiddle diddle is and, God, what were you thinking? Why did you give me HER as a mom? She doesn’t even like Star Wars!

It took a little while, but three hours later I had managed to drag part of the story out of Snags.  He and Trevor had made a pinky swear to not be mean to each other ever again.  But now Trevor has gone and broken the pinky swear (which everyone knows you CAN’T DO!).  And this all has something to do with Zane who won’t stay in his spot and gets up and tickles Nicholas under his chin at rest time, but he shouldn’t do that and even though Snags might have done that before it’s okay because Snags sits right beside Nicholas, but now Trevor and Zane and Snags can’t sit together and Zane has to sit in the red row but he doesn’t stay where he is supposed to and by God I don’t know what any of this has to do with a broken pinky swear except to say that six hours after the story began I learned that Trevor and Zane were covering their ears at lunch so they didn’t have to listen to Snags (talking about Star Wars again?) and everyone knows THAT’S not good.  Because if you want to be part of the club and you cover your ears then you can’t hear what anyone in the club is saying!

Snags asked me to write this all down so as he gets more clues he can try to solve this mystery and figure out why Trevor and Zane aren’t his friends anymore and also this one:  Why does Bryne change her mind?

“What does she change her mind about?”  I asked.

“I love you, I don’t love you, I love you, I don’t love you…” he said, sounding exasperated.

See?  Fair weather friends.  And girlfriends.  Or not.


Filed under friends, humor, life, Snags

The Trap at the Bottom of My Staircase

What does my son, Snags, do in the mornings while he’s waiting for me to take my shower and get dressed so I can drop him at school and get myself off to work?

Well, he does stuff like you see in this photo. That is the “trap” he made to trap me upstairs one morning. And no, I haven’t left my Christmas decorations up for the last 2 months; I leave them up all the time.  I never take them down.  Okay, not really.  But I had you there for a moment, didn’t I?

Actually, Snags set up THAT trap back in December, but I don’t have any recent trap photos to share because I’ve forbidden the child from setting any new traps.  Anyway, he used approximately 1 entire JUMBO roll of Quilted Northern toilet paper, ran it up and down the hallway from our kitchen to near the front door, (and while I don’t live in a mansion by any means, it is a pretty long hallway) then wrapped it around the banister at the bottom of the stairs to trap me.

If it’s not toilet paper, it’s the yarn from my knitting bin.  If it’s not yarn, then it’s my old beading supplies (huh, I have a lot of old crafting hobbies I seem to have abandoned).  Or the Halloween decorations.  Or the Easter baskets.  Or the wrapping paper, the ribbons.  Often, it’s water.  Poured into cups, bowls, candle holders, vases, and carried around the house, dripping a trail behind him, down the hallway, up the stairs, onto his bed.  Or mixed with stuff – bits of thread, cotton balls, crumbs of food, and stuck in the freezer as a “science experiment”.

It’s NEVER his toys. In fact, I once took ALL his toys away as punishment for making just such a mess, and I locked them up.  Snags didn’t care.  His toys stayed in bins locked in the basement for a good 6 months before he seemed to notice they were gone.

He does all this steadily, quietly, and deliberately.  And he’s always so surprised to find out I’m not happy over his creation.

You know the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow?  At my house, it’s more like a little destroyer boy at the tail end of the mess.  At least I always know where to find him. 


Filed under humor, life, messes, Snags, traps

The Boy Who Knew

If I am honest with myself, I have to admit that sometimes my child scares me.  There is something about him, something I can’t put my finger on, exactly, that isn’t right.  Or maybe it’s just that something is too right.  How I might be if instead of needing contact lenses, I got LASIK and ended up with something better than 20/20 vision.

Snags is pretty smart, that much I know.  His teacher tells me this, and his recent report card reflects it as well.

He uses big words.  Words you might not expect a kid in Kindergarten to know.

He’s good at math.  He can do simple addition and subtraction, even some basic multiplication.  I just about had a heart attack when he started talking about square roots the other day. I don’t remember much about math beyond plus, minus, multiply, and divide.  And mostly, I use a calculator for those.

And then there is the “other worldliness” about him.  How once, when he was three and we were on our way to preschool we passed an ambulance heading in the opposite direction, and Snags said “I am going to ride in an ambulance today!” I shuddered at the thought, and insisted that he wouldn’t be riding in an ambulance that day or anytime soon.  I might have said never.  But Snags insisted he would.  And hours later, he did.  His preschool called me to say he’d had an allergic reaction and they’d given him a shot of epinephrine and the ambulance was on its way.

Tuesday night Snags drew a picture of a tornado.  Wednesday morning I woke to the news that dozens of tornados had ripped through several states, tearing down homes and businesses and schools, and leaving people dead in its wake. 

I’m not saying Snags caused the tornado, but still, I think I’m taking all of his crayons away tonight…  after I make him draw me a picture of a winning MEGA MILLIONS lottery ticket, that is.


Filed under ESP, humor, life, Snags

Our Summer Building Plan

Kindergarten has been talking about “things that make us special and things we like about ourselves.” As part of this curriculum the students are supposed to bring in an item for a special show-and-tell event. The item should demonstrate something the kids are good at.  Snags’ teacher sent home a list of examples: children could bring in a musical instrument they play or a book they know how to read, or perhaps a ball from a sport they play…

I discussed the assignment with Snags and asked him what he would like to bring in.

“I’m going to bring in one of my lightsabers, Mom,” he said.

And since I couldn’t figure out what on earth a lightsaber had to do with the assignment, I asked him to explain how it served as an example of something he was good at.

“Because,” he said, “I am good at lightsaber fighting because Dad can’t hit any of my body parts when we fight!”

But somehow, I don’t think this is the kind of “something they are good at” that his teacher is looking for. In fact, I think it’s rather the kind of example that might prompt his teacher to call child protective services and suggest they investigate us over “Dad can’t hit any of my body parts…”

So of course I nixed that plan and suggested that he come up with something else.

“Why don’t you bring in this letter that Aunt Vivian wrote you?” I asked. “You were able to read the whole thing all by yourself, which shows that you are good at reading. What do you think about that?” I asked.

But clearly, wasn’t impressed. He rolled his eyes at me.

So I looked around for something else to suggest and settled on his LEGOs. He loves to build small starships out of his LEGOs. He has a hundred different designs in his mind and is forever asking me to come look at his latest creation and listen to him go on and on and on and on and on and on and on (get the picture?) about what the starship does. As if he is a starship salesman, and I the eager consumer looking to buy a new one.

“I know, you are good at building with your LEGOs. Why don’t you build a small starship and take that in for show-and-tell?” I asked.

He liked that idea, so I had him put the lightsaber away with his other toys.

But building with LEGOs isn’t Snags’ only building plan. In fact, if he doesn’t take up a career drawing dead fish, he may grow up to be an engineer or an architect one day. He draws pictures of fountains that he wants to build in our back yard, “Fountain Building” printed carefully across the top of the page. He draws pictures of the castle he plans to build and then live in once he’s an adult. And there is, I am happy to report, a room for me on the second floor. Unless his bride decides she doesn’t like me. In which case, he will move me to another room on the third floor. But, he assures me, I can still have the pleasure of changing his baby’s diapers and I can still read my books. Even banished to the third floor, I will like it there. Or so he says. I must confess that I am not entirely convinced. I don’t really like changing diapers.

But nothing, I think, can compare to his latest building project: Sled Building. And I have been drafted to help. Like a volunteer for Habitat for Crazy Sled Builders. On the paper he drew his plans on Snags wrote “Sed Bilding”.  It is a “sed for wtr” (sled for winter).  It will be “bit in sum” (built in summer).  Below the title and the description is a picture of the sled itself. Picture a houseboat atop a flexible flyer wooden sled. It looks something like that. The house has one door, and one window, complete with a curtain. Snags designed it for me, so I can sit inside and read while we sled around. The roof will keep the snow off of my face. I think that’s a kind consideration, since he knows that I don’t care much for snow, and that I really don’t like the cold.

His design plans also include a breakdown of the parts that we will need this summer when we build the sled:

1. Wood
2. Digr
3. hous
4. dorr
5. cloth
6. rop
7. SAfhuks
8. Nal

(for those who haven’t studied Kindergarten writing allow me to translate: wood, digger, house, door, cloth, rope, safe hooks, nail)

And after we assemble all of the above we must obtain the very best part of the entire design. The part that every good house sled must rely upon to pull the sleigh:

9. robdec woof

(the robotic wolves)

What? You aren’t familiar with them? Well then, let me introduce you to the concept of the robotic wolves. They are, according to Snags, made of metal. They are silver and gray in color. They have teeth. And eyes.

If it’s true that eyes are the windows to the soul, then I am not sure what kind of soul Snags’ robotic wolves have. For their eyes, he says, are made of “hot light bulbs”.  I imagine then, when they look at you, their gaze is intense, searing perhaps. At least until their rechargeable batteries run out. That’s the bad part of the whole design.  We have to let the batteries charge for one full hour.

I hope there’s an electrical socket out there on the snowy hills.


Filed under building, humor, LEGOs, robotic wolves, show and tell, sled

Hide and Go Fish

Snags was three years old when he changed his name to “Eddie”.  My sister-in-law had bought him a cute little pair of boxer shorts with a racecar on the front.  Only, Snags refused to wear them until the day that he watched a Fisher Price Little People video that had a scene in it where one character, Eddie, was driving a race car.  Then, like a typical three year old, Snags ran upstairs to his room, dug the boxer shorts out of his dresser drawer, and put them on, with the intent of keeping them on.  For EVER.  Snags could not be parted from those boxer shorts without considerable effort on my part.  Months went by where Snags called the little boxer shorts his “Eddie Underwear” and he insisted on wearing them DAILY because, as he said, “They make me turn into Eddie.” 

That is how I found myself washing the same pair of underwear out every. single. night. for months. so they would be clean for Snags to wear the next day.  And that is also how I found myself buying a fish tank, Snags’ reward for no longer needing diapers. 

But I wasn’t good with fish.  Once, when I was a teenager, I had a goldfish that I’d gotten from somewhere.  It lived in a bowl in my room.  One summer as my family got ready to go on vacation I thought it ridiculous to pay a friend to feed one lousy goldfish, so I set about trying to kill it.  I didn’t want to outright flush the thing, because that would have been fish murder.  Instead, I poisoned its water with things like bleach and Seabreeze and vinegar.  Anything clear that wouldn’t be noticeable to the untrained eye, but that might make the fish go belly up.  Only, it didn’t work.  The stupid fish lived, thrived in fact.  And I ultimately had to pay a friend to feed it while we were on vacation.

Anyway, it wasn’t long before the fish in the tank that we bought Snags came down with ICH.  My husband and I treated the tank but there was too much ICH and one afternoon, one of the fish, Dorothy, bought the proverbial fish farm.  My husband scooped her out of the tank and flushed her off to fish heaven or wherever it is that dead goldfish go when flushed, and I was left to break the news to Snags.

I pulled Snags up onto my lap and said to him “Snags, I’m really sorry, but your fish Dorothy got really sick and she died.”  I was worried that he might cry at the news but to my surprise he jumped up and asked to see her.  I had to explain then that he couldn’t see her, how that wasn’t possible since his father had flushed her down the toilet.

“Why?”  Snags asked.

“Well,” I stammered, “because that’s what you do with a fish when it dies. I am really sorry, Snags, are you upset?” I asked.

“No,” he said.  “I am not upset but when Emily Elizabeth dies I am going to flush her down the toilet!  Even though there was a good chance that Emily Elizabeth would die, because the entire tank was infected with ICH, I couldn’t help think back to my days of trying to kill my own goldfish, and I worried that Snags had inherited my murderous fish genes.

The next morning we woke up to find that Emily Elizabeth had indeed died.  I scooped her out and Snags flushed her down the toilet and asked, rather matter of factly, “Mom, what do they do with the fish when they get to the sewer plant?”  So obviously, there was no fish heaven in Snags’ mind.  Or if there was, you didn’t get there through the plumbing. 

We gave up on fish for a while after that.  Then, one day Snags won another goldfish at a carnival.  We brought it home in a plastic bag and dug out the old fish tank again.  We set the tank with the little goldfish up on Snags’ dresser.  Just a fish, in a tank.  No gravel, no nothing.  Why bother?  I thought.  I figured the fish would be dead in a matter of days anyway.

Except it wasn’t.  This fish, whom Snags named “Mr. Fish” grew, and grew, and grew and grew.  He was the lone fish in a 10 gallon tank, and he didn’t seem to mind being alone.

Snags wasn’t satisfied, however.  He wanted more fish.  He wanted a pond in the backyard complete with koi and waterfalls.  We settled instead for a barrel pond with a pump, a plant, and four largish pond goldfish.  Not koi, but some of their smaller sized and less expensive cousins.  This, it turned out, was a mistake.  The pump kept clogging from the fish waste.  The water got dirty.  Then the barrel started leaking.

I was all for letting the fish flop around in the empty drained out barrel until they stopped flopping, but my husband thought that was cruel.  And Snags, well HE wanted an “airline” tank.  A fish tank with a treasure chest that could open and close, one where air bubbles came out and rose to the surface.  So, in an effort to spare the pond fish an early death, I took Snags to the pet store and we bought a 30 gallon “airline” tank.  We set it up, we moved the pond fish into their new home.  And we moved Mr. Fish into the tank as well.  And then we got four pretty little fantail goldfish.  And then Snags won another teeny tiny goldfish at yet another carnival.  We dumped them all into the big tank.  And there they have lived happily ever after…

That is, until a few days ago, when my husband noticed that one of the fantail goldfish was missing.  Gone.  Disappeared.  Not there.  Vanished.  Without a trace.  Now tell me, how does that happen?  Did the fish have a fight?  Did the other fish gang up on this one particular fish and chew her up?  She’s not floating at the top, she’s not lying on the bottom, she’s not stuck inside the clamshell that spits out bubbles of air.  She’s gone!

Did she jump out one day after my husband fed the fish and accidentally left the hood open?  Did she flop out onto the carpet and die there?  I think if she had flopped out and died under the tank cabinet that we would have smelled something fishy.  Don’t you?  Besides, I looked all around, the fish is not on the carpet, not under the tank cabinet.  Did she flop out of the tank and land on the floor and maybe our dog ate her up like a Scooby Snack?  I suppose it’s possible, but like Snags says, “it’s unlikely.”  So where did the fish go?  I have no clue.  The fish is just…gone.  And Snags?  He’s totally over the “I want an airline tank” phase.  I pointed out the missing fish to him and he couldn’t care less.  He simply shrugged his shoulders and went back to building a Star Wars battle scene with his LEGOs.  But I am perplexed.  I am counting fish in my head.  Maybe the missing fish never existed.  Maybe we only ever had three fantail goldfish.  Or maybe my husband secretly scooped her up and flushed her down the toilet.  Maybe the murderous fish genes are in him too. 

And then I think back to the days when we battled ICH and lost all of our original fish.  How I was so worried about Snags learning about death in this way, watching fish die, and flushing them down the toilet.  After each fish passed I’d ask him again if he was upset and finally, one day, he’d had enough.  He turned to me and with an exasperated sigh said, “Mom, I’m not upset.  I didn’t even want this tank.  I wanted a fish BOWL!” And I can’t help wonder now, if maybe I should have listened to him then.


Filed under fish, humor, life

A Dear George Letter

Dear George Lucas,

Hi.  How are you?  We are fine.  More or less.  How would you like to come to our house for dinner?  What’s your favorite regular non-famous person kind of food?  I bet I could make it.  Really, come for dinner.  I have someone that I want you to meet.

My six year old son, Snags, loves your Star Wars movies.  Loves, LOVES, LOVES, LURVES them.  No, it’s true!  I swear!  I would NOT kid you about something like that.  This love, it’s SERIOUS.  So serious he has taken your movies, all 40 bajillion of them, and expanded them in his mind to include the SCENES YOU NEVER FILMED.  He describes them to me in great never ending detail day after day after day after day.  “Mom,” he says, “let me tell you something…”

Every sentence starts with, “And then Luke…” or “So then the Emperor…” or “But Darth Vader, he…” and I am sorry but I. CAN’T. TAKE. IT. ANYMORE!

“No!” I tell Snags,  “That’s enough. No more talk about Star Wars tonight.  Talk about something else.  Anything else.”

And my son, he’s six, right?  So he’s testing out his smart-mouthedness and he responds with “Well, I like dogs.  I could talk about dogs but then I would talk about dogs so much that you would get tired of hearing about dogs and so then I’d I just have to talk about Star Wars so I’ll just go ahead and talk about Star Wars now.  So then the Emperor…”

And so, I’d like to invite you to our house for dinner.  Nothing fancy.  Just bring yourself.  And oh, I don’t know, a tape recorder.  Snags has HOURS, DAYS, MONTHS, YEARS worth of new Star Wars ideas for you.  And I notice you haven’t made a new Star Wars movie in like, a few years at least.  So you must be looking for SOMETHING to do. 

So come to my house, have dinner, listen to my son go on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on…  You’ll get a good meal and fodder for your next movie out of the deal.

So call me.  Tell me what day would be good for you and I’ll get cooking.



Filed under humor, Star Wars

Monkey Man

When my son was 17 months old he decided to give the terrible twos an early try and threw a tantrum in which he flung himself  to the floor hitting his head on a plastic toy.  The cut that appeared over his right brow looked like a third eye socket, minus the eye itself. 

My son’s bravery for weathering the ambulance ride and a set of stitches that looked like a miniature railroad track had been installed on his forehead by the Borg, was a gift from the hospital nursing staff: a stuffed monkey, a little smaller than your normal beanie baby.

But at that age my son was more interested in stomping around the house and chasing our dog, and screaming “Gog-ga!” at her over and over again, than he was in playing with the stuffed monkey.  So the monkey found its way to the bottom of a toy box, and there it stayed, buried other under things, until just the other day when Snags found it and pulled it out again.

At school, his class has been talking about community helpers, and so Snags decided that he would be a veterinarian when he grew up.  He likes dogs, you see, and vets help the community by taking care of dogs.  After further consideration though, Snags changed his mind.  “I don’t want a dog to bite me,” he said, “a dog could bite me if I was a vet and had to give them a shot.” So now Snags wants to be a dog groomer when he grows up.  Because, obviously, what dog in his right mind would bite someone who is wrestling them into a bath and blow dry and coming at them with a humming electric shaver?

Now the monkey has become Snag’s best friend and he is taking care of the monkey.  When the monkey “broke his arm and his leg,” Snags fashioned little casts for him out of tissue and scotch tape.  He made him a wheelchair out of a discarded Deer Park water bottle.  Essentially, he’s taking care of the monkey exactly the way a good dog groomer would. 

And to show his deep appreciation and admiration for this excellent care, or perhaps because he has simply nothing better to do, the monkey follows Snags everywhere, just like the little lamb followed Mary.  Today, for example, the monkey followed Snags to Kindergarten, hitching a ride by climbing into the left front pocket of Snags’ sweatpants.

The monkey was clad in a pair of overalls that my husband had made him, all because Snags decided the monkey needed a pair of overalls.  Snags’ original plan was to make the overalls out of paper, but my husband, Martha, offered up a pair of old Levi’s with which to salvage the denim from, and he offered to design and sew a teeny tiny pair of overalls by hand.  He set about this task with the utmost concentration, admonishing Snags and I for distracting him.  “You don’t understand how difficult this is,” he said.  When I laughed at him he got huffy.  “Then YOU make the overalls,” he growled.  But I declined.  “No, Martha,” I replied, “Remember, Snags was going to make the monkey some clothes out of paper, that would have been good enough for him.  Cutting up an old pair of blue jeans to make an authentic pair of demin overalls, that was YOUR idea.  So YOU do the sewing.”

A little later, the overalls were done, and monkey was dressed.  The next day, monkey moved into his mansion.  Snags spent hours up in his room positioning furniture into an old dollhouse we had.  “Look, Mom!” Snags pointed.  “The monkey is wealthy!  He lives in this mansion!”  And he’s dressed in overalls, I thought.  Just like Jed Clampett.  That toy box he lived in for the past four years must have been the mountains he came from before he moved to Beverly Hills…

Later that same evening Snags had dug out another small stuffed monkey from his toy box.  This one was made of blue felt and lived in an old house that had previously belonged to Barbie.  The blue monkey, Snags reported, was Monkey’s “crazy neighbor”.

As Snags got out of the car this morning to head into school, monkey was sticking halfway out of his pants pocket.  I worried that maybe he would lose him, that monkey would fall out, get lost in a hallway, kicked down a staircase, never to be found again.  I was relived when I got home from work and found monkey resting on the floor amid wrapping paper and bows and crayons and Halloween decorations pulled from storage.  A block letter sign lay next to him.  MONKEY MAN, the sign read.  “Mom,” Snags said, “will you get your camera and film a movie I am making?  It’s about Monkey Man.  He’s a SUPER HERO!”  I noticed that monkey’s tissue paper casts for his broken arm and leg had been removed.  He was out of his water bottle wheel chair.  Instead, he had donned a tissue paper cape, held securely in place with duct tape on his back.  Monkey Man the Super Hero was ready for action. And Snags the dog groomer has become a helpful community movie director.  All this to say, be on the lookout for MONKEY MAN, the movie, coming soon to a theater near you. 


Filed under humor, life, Monkey Man, my own brand of crazy, Snags, Super Hero

The Elf

It appears that we have a new addition to our household.  It’s an elf. No, it’s not a short child. I can be cruel but I’m not that kind of cruel.  Even if we had added a dwarf child to our family I would not go around introducing him as our elf, not even at Christmas time.  This is a real live stuffed elf.  And apparently, we’ve adopted him, although I have to be honest and admit it was not my intention to adopt anything. And certainly not an elf.

It’s the Kindergarten teacher’s fault.  She told the children about some mischievous elves that came to her house in the night. Elves that did silly things.  Elves that hung Halloween decorations on her Christmas tree.  And then, she told the children how they could get their own elves. I wish I could say that you lure them with diamonds and pearls, but that’s not the way it works.

In fact, I’d never even heard about enticing elves to visit until Snags came home from school and started talking about it, telling me how we could attract elves to our house by luring them with crackers and water.  “If you want Santa to come,” he said, “you leave out cookies and milk.  But if you want the elves to come, you leave out crackers and water!”  And then he set about arranging sixteen Ritz crackers and a plastic tumbler of ice water on top of a paper towel at our kitchen table. To lure the elves.

I forgot about the food sitting out on the table until a few hours later when I was heading up to bed.  When I saw the crackers arranged so nicely I remembered Snags’ story, and his plan to attract an elf.  If he caught one, he said, he’d keep it in a cage.  Similar, I suppose, to a zookeeper or to those good parents – the ones I heard about on the news a while back, the ones who kept all of their children in cages…
Now I couldn’t disappoint him, so I shoveled the crackers in my mouth and dumped the water down the sink and sat down to think.  I had two brand new Star Wars ornaments hidden away, ornaments I had planned to hang on the tree on Christmas Eve or give to Snags as a gift on Christmas morning.  I decided to hang them on the tree and write a note to Snags from the elves. A note saying they’d put something on the tree for him to find, and they were off to do some mischief at other homes, and they’d be back to visit NEXT year.

Only, that wasn’t how the elves were supposed to work.  It turned out that Snags hadn’t told me the entire story.  He hadn’t told me the part of the story where the elves stayed at your house and looked like a stuffed elf by day, but at night, they came alive, consumed the crackers and water you left them, and performed acts of mischief, every night from December 1st until Santa takes them back to the North Pole on Christmas Eve.

And so, Snags woke up in the morning and ran down the stairs to look for elves.  His sharp intake of breath at the sight of the missing crackers and overturned plastic tumbler that once held water for the elves, was so loud that I heard it upstairs, even with my head pressed into the pillow.

Snags ran up the stairs with the note: “Read this! Out loud!” he demanded. After I finished, he ran from my room and down the stairs to search the tree.  He found the ornaments but he wasn’t appeased.  He kept searching for more, for more evidence that the elves had been around.  “Mom,” he asked, “Wasn’t this bag of dog treats on the other counter over here last night?  I think the elves moved it.”  “Mom,” he went on, “Who left this spoon in the sink?  I think the elves did it.  I’m going,” he said like Encyclopedia Brown, “to look for more clues.” 

And so he went, room to room, hunting for clues, hunting for the elves.  When it was time to leave for school, he was unhappy.  He hadn’t found the elves.  He could not keep them in a cage.  If the elves weren’t staying at our house then he wanted them to take the ornaments back.  Star Wars be damned.

An hour after school started I received an email from Snags’ teacher.  Subject line: elves.  “I thought you might want to check this out,” she had written.  And then she had included a link to a site that explained the whole story of the mischief making elves, a site where you can order one of your very own.  She went on to say she had bought an elf from a craft show, but that she’d seen similar ones for sale at a local store.  I’m no dummy, I could read what was left unwritten: Snags told me about the elves that left the Star Wars ornaments on your tree. You did it WRONG! HERE is how you can make it right…

And that is how we ended up adopting our very own elf.  My husband picked one up from the local store and brought it home and hid it in Snags’ room.  He pulled Kleenex from a box and tossed them on Snag’s floor.  He pulled CDs off his dresser and spread them around.  I undecorated the tree in his room, spreading the ornaments on the floor, the bed, the furniture.  The room looked, in the end, exactly like the kind of mess a mischievous elf might make while your six-year old self is toiling away at Kindergarten.

When I picked Snags up after school he was very excited. “Mom! You HAVE to call Santa Claus. You have to tell him that we want to ADOPT an elf!  That’s why the elves didn’t stay.  That’s why they said they’d be back next year.  Santa has to know you want to ADOPT an elf and then he’ll let them stay!  We have to put crackers and water out all over again tonight, okay?  Will you call Santa?  Will you?  Will you mom? Will you?”  I said I’d think about it.  I told him I’d have to look up Santa’s phone number, even though the truth is, I already had it on my speed dial.

When we got home, Snags begged me once again.  “Please mom, do it now.  Call Santa and tell him we want to adopt an elf…”  But before I could press a button on the phone, my husband’s voice boomed from upstairs:  “Snags!  Get up here right now!”  Snags threw a worried look in my direction and headed up the stairs.  I followed. 

My husband pointed to the mess in Snags’ room.  “You have to clean this up,” he said.  And Snags began to protest. “I didn’t make that mess!” 

“Snags!”  I said, “Did you do this before we left for school?  Why would you do something like this? I don’t understand why you would do this!” 

“But I didn’t do it,” he insisted.  “Maybe the elves did it.”

“There aren’t any elves, Snags,” I said.  “You saw the note.  They left you a few ornaments and said they’d be back next year.  They didn’t stay here.”

And just as tears started to roll down his face at the injustice of it all, at being accused of making a mess he hadn’t made, and of having to clean it up on top of it all, Snags saw the note on his pillow, saw the end of the pointed elf hat peeking out of a box he had left on his nightstand, and his tears turned into joy.  “Ha!” he shouted. “It WAS the elf!  I told you I didn’t make this mess! This…” he screamed in joy, “This is just like the elf at school!  He threw paper on the floor today while we were at lunch.  When we got back to class the paper was all over!  Yay!  I have an elf!  I have an elf! I am so happy I have an elf!”  And then Snags danced a little dance.

Snags was ready for bed a full hour before his usual bedtime.  He took his bath, brushed his teeth, put his pajamas on.  He made a table for the elf out of an overturned Kleenex box.  He placed two Ritz crackers and a Dixie Cup full of water on top.  He filled an empty shirt box with hand towels to make a bed for the elf.  He emptied trash cans and turned them upside down, creating a stair case leading from his night stand to the floor, so the elf could go do his mischief without having to jump down, without risking injury from a potential fall.  Then he sat on his bed, staring at the elf, as if willing it to come alive before his very eyes. 

In the morning, the crackers and water were gone, the family room floor, previously clear and free of toys, was littered with LEGOS and pillows off the sofa.  The elf was found hiding in Snags’ Christmas stocking, too tired after all that mischief to make it back up the stairs to Snags’ room and his shirt box bed.  And Snags, happy to have his very own elf, cleaned up the LEGOs with hardly any protest after my threat that I would call Santa and tell him to come get the mischievous elf right now if he didn’t clean up the mess. The deal, I said, is that YOU clean up any mischievous messes the elf makes.  And if you don’t, the elf, he’s out of here!”  

And so this, I think, is going to be fun.  Snags is going to clean up messes he didn’t even make!  Because I AM that kind of cruel.  In fact, tomorrow morning, I think he’ll be folding a load of laundry that the elf brings up from the dryer and dumps all over the sofa.  Yes, I think that’s what he’s going do…  I just have this feeling about it.  Or maybe that feeling is simply hunger, for a cracker…


Filed under Christmas, elves, humor, Kindergarten, life, Snags

Jesus Versus Darth Plagueis

It’s 3:00 p.m. on Saturday afternoon and we are driving home after a morning filled with indoor soccer practice and an afternoon spent in a crowded mall buying Christmas presents for various friends and relatives.  The conversation in the car is about to take a sudden left and then a sharp right into the religion of the Star Wars obsessed, but right now I am still thinking about the mall…

Santa Claus was at the mall, but he’s taken a break, probably for lunch, and so we wait in line for his return.  Snags has scoped out Santa’s sled and determined that this is the REAL Santa, because “Look!  He’s got three XBOX 360s in his sleigh!  And why would he have those if he wasn’t the REAL Santa?”  Snags is torn between waiting not so patiently in line for Santa to return from where ever he’s ventured off to, and leaving the line to hunt him down somewhere in the mall, perhaps in the food court.

“I don’t think Santa wants to be bothered when he’s trying to eat his lunch,” I tell Snags.
He ponders this for a moment before he spots Santa’s coat and hat hanging from a hook near his sleigh.  He decides that I am probably right, that it might be hard to find Santa since he’s left his uniform behind.  “He might look like a regular guy out there.  Except,” Snags proclaims, “Santa has a long beard, right?  He couldn’t take that off!”  

I convince Snags that we should just wait where we are, Santa’s due back in 25 minutes anyway, and the line forming behind us has at least 30 people in it.

So we wait, and I listen and silently sigh while Snags goes on to ponder where Santa parked his reindeer.  He wants to look for them, but I know the parking lot is full of nothing but cars.

Eventually Santa returns, carrying a metal lunch box and a large thermos, proof that he was indeed on his lunch break.  But now he’s full and ready to have hordes of children sit on his lap, tell him what they want for Christmas, and get their picture taken with him.

When it’s his turn, Snags lies and tells Santa that yes, he’s been a good boy all year.  I know he’s lying because even though I cannot hear him speaking, I see his nervous glance in my direction as he answers.  His worry is palpable, I can tell he’s afraid I might jump forward and refute his claim to goodness.  I don’t.  I let him convince Santa that he is worthy of the three things he’s asking for this year: a Star Wars LEGO Star Destroyer, a Quadrilla Twist and Rail (made in China, full of lead?), and some kind of door alarm for his bedroom door.  I don’t understand this last request. I am not surprised by it, but this is the child who is afraid of fire alarms sounding and home security systems beeping.  An alarm on his bedroom door suggests he’s entered into therapy, the kind where the doctor purposely exposes you to your fears so that eventually they don’t scare you anymore.  And I know that is not the case.

I fork over $19.99 for two 5×7 shots of Snags forcing a nervous smile on Santa’s lap – nervous I’m sure because he still doesn’t know if he’s got Santa fooled or not, and he doesn’t know if a lying alarm might sound when he climbs down from Santa’s lap. 

Lately, before bed, Snags has been looking at an old book I have on Rome.  I bought it back in ancient times, when I was a Junior in High School, and went to Rome on a trip.  The book is full of glossy color photos of fountains and Roman architecture and statues.  Michelangelo’s Pietà has caught his eye, so I’ve been trying to explain it to him.  It’s Christmas time, and we should be celebrating Jesus’ birth, but Snags is currently worrying over Jesus’ death.  He won’t leave it until Easter and it must be playing somewhere in the back of his mind because now in the car, on our way home from the mall and Santa, we pass a church with a cemetery beside it.  Snags asks from the back seat, “Mom, why do all the gravestones have crosses on them?  It’s not like there are a whole bunch of Jesuses buried all over the place!”

My husband is driving and so we explain, as best we can, what the crosses mean.  Snags seems to understand and we continue on our way until the sudden left and sharp right come at us, like questions from a child’s mind so often do, out of nowhere…

“Mom,” Snags asks, “Do you know the difference between Jesus and Darth Plagueis?” 

My head starts to spin with the craziness of the question.  I feel like Dorothy in the tornado in The Wizard of Oz.  “Um…” I stall.  “Uh… let me think,” I say.

And here my husband starts to shake with silent laughter.  I can see him trying not to pump a fist into the air in triumph, trying not to say “Ha! He asked YOU!  You take that one…”

“Uh…”  I say.  “Jesus was a good guy, and anybody with Darth in their name is a bad guy?”  I venture.

“How about Jesus was a real person and Darth Plagueis is just a made up character in a movie?” my husband offers, trying to help me out, although I can see he’s still shaking with laughter.

“Yes, that, but also,” Snags says.  “Also, Jesus could save himself and Darth Plagueis couldn’t!” 

And I sigh and say that “Yeah, I see what you mean.” Although I don’t.  I have no idea who Darth Plagueis is, expect to know that he’s from Star Wars, and a bad guy to boot.  I say a silent prayer promising to take Snags to church on Sunday if lightening doesn’t strike us all down right then and there. 

It turns out that Darth Plagueis was a Sith Lord who found a way to prevent death and create life. The legend of Darth Plagueis is recounted in a brief scene in the movie Revenge of the Sith where Chancellor Palpatine tells the story to Anakin Skywalker.  “Ironic,” Palpatine says.  “He could save others from death, but not himself.”

And somehow, some way, Snags has remembered this scene, these supposed facts, and put them together into a Jesus versus Darth Plagueis scene in his mind.

Dinner and bedtime pass without incident as I think about what mass we should go to in the morning.  It will depend on what time I get back from my morning run.  My clothes are set out and ready to go.

But at 3:00 a.m Sunday morning I am awaken from sleep by Snags calling, “Mom! I need you!” I go into his room to find he’s gotten sick in the middle of the night and vomited all over the place.  It looks like I won’t be running in the morning after all.  And church won’t be seeing the likes of us this weekend either.  I guess Jesus and Darth Plagueis will have to work things out without us.  I hope the good guy wins.  His birthday is coming up, after all.


Filed under Christmas, Darth Plagueis, humor, Jesus, LEGOs, life, Santa, Snags, Star Wars