Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Things I Don't Need

The other day I heard a radio blurb about someone who had an idea for a store full of, basically, things nobody needs, like Ugg boots for dogs and a doodad that gets the lid off your can of tuna so you don't get tuna juice on your fingers.

Later that day I noticed that I have tampons with inspirational sayings on the wrappers. Worse, the brand advertises itself as some kind of "sport tampons" (whatever that means), and so the sayings were I guess what I'd characterize as nonspecific-athletically inspirational.

Some examples of the phrases (because honestly, once I noticed it on one wrapper I had to look through the entire box):
-Go, Fight Win!
-You can't win if you don't play.
-Just go for it!
-You go, girl!
-Let's get out there and show 'em what we've got!

And it's this last one that's the most disturbing to me. Mostly because it begs the question, "Who is we?" Me and the tampon? 'Cause that's a little weird.

I'm just sayin'... If I were running that store of things nobody needs, I'd totally put these inspirational-phrase tampons in there.

Ask Jeeves

The other night at dinner Kyle and I were talking about the fact that there are two different plays called The Butler Did It running in our town right now.

Daniel asked, "What is a butler?"

We tried several different explanations, including the Tim Curry character Wadsworth's explanation from the movie Clue, which is "The butler keeps the kitchen and dining areas tidy."

"The butler takes care of things around the house, like answers the door and gets you things," Kyle offered.

"The butler is like a waiter in your house. If we had a butler, we'd just sit down to dinner, and he'd bring food to us, and then when we were done he'd clean up for us," I explained.

"So does that make sense, then? Basically, a butler takes care of cleaning up and answering the door and getting you things when you want them," we concluded.

Daniel lit up. "Oh, so like you then, Mommy!"

Yep. Just like me.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Dan the Flying Man

Two conversation-starters from my week:
"Mom, I really need to figure out how superheroes make their suits, because when I become one, and am in charge of all the armies, they need to be able to recognize me."
"Okay. Here is a question I have: How do superheroes fly? I REALLY need to know so I can start practicing."

Our son Daniel is the kind of kid that really gets into things. When he gets on an idea, he really does it all-out, talking about it and drawing about it and writing about it for weeks/months/years. Clearly we are in a superhero phase right now, but the interesting thing about it is that he is able to juggle several different topics of interest simultaneously, sometimes in combination. He also has an amazing ability to create gobs and gobs of themed pictures, crafts, stories, and questions about his subjects of fascination. He is frequently able to drag our whole family, his friends, even all his classmates into it in the process, so that everyone is, say, deciding on a superpower or making a holiday decoration.

He must get this creativity from his father, because honestly there is no way he gets it from me.

So today I want to share with you some of the things we've been into lately, thanks to Daniel:

For a long time, Daniel has enjoyed making up stories about himself as a superhero. Sounds developmentally appropriate, right? Lots of kids imagine themselves saving the day and having amazing powers... Again, though, I'm impressed with his persistence and detail in regards to imagining what exactly he'll wear, how exactly he'll fly, and what kinds of rescue situations he expects he'll need to be prepared for exactly. His teacher has tried to use this as a springboard for some art and creative writing at school. Here is a storyboard for his soon-to-be-famous Dan the Flying Man comic/movie/novel/real-life adventure:

We also seem to have a lot of discussions of wolves and (of course) werewolves in our house. We recently read a very informative library book all about wolves, which (of course) included pictures of what werewolves might look like. Here is Daniel's picture of a "half werewolf/half rocket:"

Kyle insists that a 50% werewolf/50% rocket is 100% awesome. It is hard to argue with that.

The thing that Daniel has been into the longest is most certainly dragons. It seems like he's been on the dragon thing since he's been able to talk. The movie How to Train Your Dragon only fueled the fire, and the marketing machine behind it has made it convenient for us to collect a wide variety of plastic Viking and dragon action figures. But even before we saw it, Daniel was talking about dragons, reading about dragons, and drawing dragons. Here is the Thanksgiving project he made at his preschool last year:

Note that there is no mention of his family, his comfortable home, or any other stereotypical childhood object of thankfulness. Just dragons.

This year's kindergarten Thanksgiving picture was a bit more flattering:

For those of you who don't read 5-year-old handwriting well, that's "me" on the first finger, "snowmen" on the second finger, "dragons" on the third, and "my mom" on the last. I was just so honored to make the list, even if I am (understandably) behind dragons.

Holiday Decorations
Just before Thanksgiving this year, someone reminded Daniel of the classic handprint-with-legs turkey craft. Before we knew it, he was requiring everyone who visited our house to make a handprint turkey to hang on our dining room wall, which he insisted was drastically underdecorated (truth be told, his original goal was to decorate every wall of our house, but we really tried to focus him on just one room). And so we got this:

He also started a movement to cover the (already REALLY decorated) walls of his classroom at school, and got several classmates in on the action.

And then, of course, at Christmas someone taught him about paper snowflakes and we had this:

We also had some paper Christmas trees, but I didn't get a picture of these before we took the Christmas-specific winter decorations down.

A few months ago, Daniel informed us that he would like to start going by Dan instead of Daniel. His reason? It's just way faster to write Dan. So we've indulged him, and he's started going by Dan and Daniel interchangeably now. But this morning we found this in his backpack:

He decided that maybe an even shorter way to write his name would be to shorten our last name, too. Kyle spent a few minutes explaining how we just don't really do that with last names. I'll be spending the next several weeks calling him "the Danster" behind his back.

Back to Dragons

So what is the Danster up to now? It seems they had a lesson at school last week about the Chinese New Year.

Let me just be the first to wish you a prosperous Year of the Dragon, from the entire Ster family.