In the 5 Minute Van Ride to the Grocery

Owen: “Why do we have to get butter at the store?”
Andy: “Because we don’t have butter.”
Owen: “But we do have butter!”
Andy: “No. We don’t. We have margarine.”
Me: “Daddy doesn’t like margarine.”
Owen: “What’s margarine?”
Me: “Fake butter.”
Owen: “But I like margarine!”
Andy (jokingly, I think): “You are not my son!”
James (singing): “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me haaapppy, when skies are graaayyy.”
Owen: “I want to play I Spy!”
Andy: “OK, you can go first.”
Sophie: “I want to go first!”
Andy: “It was Owen’s idea, so he gets to go first.”
(Complaints from Sophie. Stern words from me.)
Owen: “I spy with my little eye something pink.”
Me: “My nails?”
Owen: “No! That cup!”
(He’s still learning the rules of the game.)
Everyone: “Yay!”
Sophie: “My turn! I spy with my little eye something red and white.”
Andy: “That’s pink.”
Sophie: “No. A lot white and just a little red.”
(We guess a million things.)
Sophie (beyond frustrated): “It’s a lollipop stick with just a little bit of cherry lollipop still stuck on it!”
Me: “Where did you find that?”
Sophie: “In the holder!”
(The holder is a little compartment next to her seat in the van.)
Me: “Um, what else is your holder?”
Sophie: “Old Oreo cookies, old pita chips, a pinecone and a rock. Oh! And a barrette!”
James: “It’s my turn!”
Me, to Andy: “We have to clean out the van.”
James: “I spy with my little eye something green.”
Andy: “The trees.”
James: “No.”
Andy: “The grass.”
James: “Yes!”

And so on.

“A suburban mother’s role is to deliver children obstetrically once, and by car forever after.” —Peter De Vries

Sophie Discovers Commercials

Sophie: “Mommy, did you know there’s something on TV called a PackIt?”

Me: “What’s that?”

Sophie: “It’s for when you go on picnics and if the PackIt is cold it keeps food that needs to be cold really, really cold.”

Me: “Oh?”

Sophie: “And guess where you keep it?”

Me: “Where?”

Sophie: “In your refrigerator.

Me: “Oh.”

Sophie: “And guess what?”

Me: “What?”

Sophie: “If you drop it, it won’t break. And it won’t spill! And there’s a bottle that comes with it. And a container.”

Me: “Oh.”

Sophie: “Do you know where I learned that?”

Me: “Where?”

Sophie: “On the TV. I learned that on the TV.”

Me: “Sophie, do you know what a commercial is?”

Sophie: “Uh-uh. I don’t.”

Me: “Do you think someone was trying to sell you that PackIt?”

Sophie: “I’m not sure.”

Me: “Is it something you want to buy?”

Sophie: “Uh-huh.”

Me: “Why?”

Sophie: “Because then we can take cold stuff that needs to be cold to a picnic!”

Me: “What about just getting ice from the freezer and using that?”

Sophie: “We won’t need ice for it!”

Me: “No, I mean, what about using ice from the freezer instead of the Packit?”

Sophie: “I don’t know what you mean.”

Me: “What if, we took ice from the freezer, put it in a plastic bag or cooler, and used that to keep our food cold? Then we wouldn’t have to buy a Packit. Do you think that’s a good idea?”

Sophie: “Mm-hmmm. Can I watch a movie now?”

“In general, my children refused to eat anything that hadn’t danced on TV.” —Erma Bombeck


Me: “Sophie, at preschool your teacher said you’re learning about winter celebrations and traditions, like Los Posados, St. Lucia Day, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa.”
Sophie: “Uh huh.”
Me: “Tell me about them! What’s Kwanzaa?”
Sophie, scrunching up her face: “A planet?”

Sophie: “Daddy, is it cold out today?”
Andy: “Yes.”
Sophie: “On that case, I will wear my hood.”

(in Great Grandma’s bathroom)
Sophie: “Mommy, look at the shower curtain!”
Me: “It’s very pretty. I like the birds and the vines.”
Sophie: “Look at the top part. It’s glorious!”

(on showing her some purchases I made at Target the night before)
Me: “I bought you some new socks, that actually fit!”
Sophie: “Oh!”
Me: “And 4T jeans—with sparkles!—and a 4T shirt. You’re getting bigger!”
Sophie: “Oh!”
Me: “What do you say?” (We’re trying to teach her to say thank you unprompted.)
Sophie: “That you forgot new shoes?”

(on telling her she has to put the iPod away)
Me: “You’ve been playing games on it for too long. It’s time to put it away.”
Sophie: (some type of whining response)
Me: “Read a book! Play with your dollhouse! Dress-up! Color a picture!”
Sophie: (some type of whining response)
Me: “Seriously, put your iPod away. And actually, it’s not even yours. It’s mine.”
Sophie: “I just love it so much more than you do, Mommy.”
Me: “Well, you can’t play it all day long. It’s not healthy.”
Sophie: “I’m going to be the girl who plays the iPod all the time.”
Me: “I don’t want you to be the girl who plays the iPod all the time.”
Sophie: “But that’s who I am! I’m going to be that girl!”

“Children are like wet cement. Whatever falls on them makes an impression.” —Dr. Haim Ginott