Fortune Cookies

The funny thing about fortune cookies is that they either fit the person and the moment perfectly, or they seem purposefully ironic – if you stretch your imagination a bit.

Recently, while trying Thai food again, hoping my sons’ taste buds would be more appreciative, they mostly enjoyed splitting open their cookies.

The sixth grader read, “You will let people free.”

Hmmm…He wants to invent the time traveling machine, so maybe that will do the trick.

The fifth grader read, “Your dream must be bigger than your fear.”

He grinned, “Oh yeah, already on it!”

“Why? What’s your dream?” I asked.

“To be a linebacker in the NFL.”

Given that he has always been in the 5th-10th percentile for weight and is the first to get hurt in any outdoor play, if he is smart, his fear will grow and grow.

The first grader, who recently got sent home for shoving a friend to the ground at recess, had me read his to him, “Your kindness and generosity will be appreciated by others.”

Not this week maybe, but one day….
….if you believe in fortune cookies. Which I do this one time.

For the Tooth Fairy

When my kids lose a tooth, they always want to keep it. And since they lose a bunch as they are learning to write, we have a tradition of writing a note to the tooth fairy, as practice, asking to keep it as a treasure.

My youngest wrote his last night with an elaborately illustrated, colorful scene – his zzz’s rising to the ceiling from a red pillow with a giant winged tooth fairy decked in blue. His note read:

Deere, tuth faree
I lost mi tuth
Pev dote tak mi tuth.

Political Reporters: The View from Fifth Grade

“It’s so funny,” said my fifth grader the morning after the election. “Those news reporters all pretend they’re on the NFL Channel. Like the election is as good as a football game.”

Later in the day, I attended a lecture by former Colorado Governor Bill Owens, who joked that the only news he watches is on ESPN.

Perceptive little fifth grader, eh?

A Long, Long Time

Tonight, my twelve year old said, “I have a question about something that is really weird.”


“When you have your birthday, you will be 48 years old. That’s four times as old as me.”

Here we go.

“What does it feel like?”

“Creaky,” I responded, suddenly grumpy.

“I mean twelve years feels like a really, really long time. It must feel strange to live as long as you have.”

So I told him that it feels like you have led a few back-to-back separate lives, each as a totally different person with the others wrapped inside of you somehow. The first eighteen, then college and the twenties, then kids. It’s like it wasn’t you before, even though the previous you made you who you are now… and you remember every minute as if it just happened. Like you are still twelve. Not four times that.

“That’s so weird.”

“I know.”

Red Cards

One month into the school year, and our youngest already has a red card and four yellow cards – at least those are the ones to which he has admitted.

The first grade card system of discipline is notorious at his school, and often the focus of dinner conversations across town. Who got a red card today? What did he do? How many did you get when you were in first grade? The girls all got yellow cards! No boys? No boys!

Our oldest son managed to escape without a yellow or red, much to the chagrin of his teacher who believed that a little rebellion or silliness might show he was finally comfortable in his surroundings. In kindergarten, his only wrongdoing was in May, when he got caught eating his M&Ms before his lunch.

Our middle son made it through with only one yellow card awarded in late April for something he still insists “was the girls’ fault” – his logic for keeping his distance four years later.

But our youngest…

On Monday, he climbed into the car after school almost triumphant.

“Good day?” I asked.

“Yep!” he said proudly. “I didn’t get a red or yellow card. Just seven warnings, and they still didn’t change my card!”

“Seven warnings is worse than one yellow card!”

“But one of them wasn’t me. They just thought it was. So it’s really only six!”

First grade victory dance in the end zone.

If You Can’t Walk and Chew Gum…

I seem to be unable to walk my dog and deal with my cell phone at the same time.

Earlier this summer, the purple poop bag I was using to carry my cell phone split, and unbeknownst to me, the cell phone slipped through the hole. Lost for three hours.

Then yesterday, while my dog tugged mercilessly on the leash in a neighborhood suddenly overrun with bunnies, I decided to call my parents. Not smart if you “can’t walk and chew gum at the same time”.

As I was dialing and the dog was rabbit-obsessed, a large, low-hanging tree branch got in my way…

…right at eye level.

Forehead and nose scratched and completely dazed – “where did that tree come from?!” – I fell to the sidewalk.

My until-then wild dog came immediately over and sat until I picked up my cell phone and got back on my feet.

Between the dog, me and the phone…