The Golden Weasel is drawing at the kitchen table as I'm doing the dishes. I've got a playlist of several hundreds songs and when it's a song she recognizes, she hums along with the stereo. It makes me very, very happy.
Except tonight, when I gradually become aware of her sweetly, softly singing "la la la la la" to a song I don't think she's ever heard before.
The five-year-old has been playing happily in the corner, chattering away under his breath. He breaks off and starts looking under things: the table, the stepstool, cushions, a shoe.
Finally, he comes over to me. "Have you seen Teal?" the Brawn asks.
I don't remember which toy Teal is, if I ever knew. I have an image of a light blue monkey, or maybe it's a bear? Is that Teal? Cerulean would be a more appropriate name for it, I think. Either way, I think that toy, whatever it is, belongs to his brother.
"I'm sorry, pal—which one's Teal?"
The Brawn looks at me strangely and says slowly, "it's a color of dot paint? Sort of blue and sort of green?"
The 5-year-old comes in from playing with the little boy next door.
"Do you know what happens when you leave a fish too long in the oven?" he asks.
It never even occurs to me that this might be the set up for a joke; his delivery far too sincere, he's clearly about to convey how cool it was when the kid's father ruined dinner just now or something along those lines.
And, indeed, the boy makes a squiggly gesture with his hand, as though illustrating how the poor fish was burnt to a thin, twisty crisp.
"It turns into bread," he says, awestruck.
Now, admittedly, my understanding of chemistry is only slightly less lacking than my knowledge of physics, but even so, I have to break it to him. "Yeah, I'm pretty confident that's not correct."
As he goes off to wash his hands, it occurs to me that the manner in which some sort of bizarre transubstantiation meets alchemy was just explained to him was more or less the same way I learned about sex. Which might be related, in some way, to the fact that I have six children.
The 15-year-old muses as we toss a tennis ball in the backyard.
"I've often wondered if it would be possible to get through an entire day by saying nothing but quotes from books and movies and stuff."
"Well," I respond. "I'm home."
She laughs. The 8-year-old looks disgruntled, knowing that, while it's true, I'm back after being away overnight, she's also missing out on a reference. "It's from The Lord of the Rings," her sister explains.
"Between that and Star Wars, I'd think you could get through a whole day," the 13-year-old opines.
"Hm," the 8-year-old says. "The only quote from that I really know is by Yoda. 'To be or not to be, that is the question'."
Her sisters look at her to see if she's trolling them. She isn't.
"I think you mean 'Do or do not—there is no try'," the 13-year-old says gently.
Six of one, half dozen the other. Or, as Captain James Tiberius Kirk once said, "It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities."
"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it."
Dear Conservatives—a quick reminder: if you succeed in turning this glorious planet into a wasteland through your avarice and willful ignorance, my grandchildren are going to turn your grandchildren into soylent green.