My Special Brain (again)

I wasn’t a big fan but for a while in my late teens I watched a certain soap opera fairly regularly (because I had a night job)
I don’t remember the name of the soap but I remember I thought they lived in “Poor Chauz” or was it “Poor Jaws”? I couldn’t really tell. I figured since it was fictitious, hey whatever.

Decades later, out of the clear blue sky something in my brain clicked and I realized they had been saying “Port Charles” all that time.

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Bring your own feed

So while in Florida, we are getting ready to go to the zoo. During the upheaval, Lil Miss goes outside and starting plucking English Ivy leaves. She comes to me with a bunch in her hand.

LM: mom, these are da leaves. I gonna feed to da zebra
Me: uh, well that’s very nice honey but I don’t think zebras
LM: I GONNA FEED TO DA ZEBRA. DIS FOR DA ZEBRA.
Me: okaaaay.

so we go to the zoo. She looked at nothing from the moment we got in. ran down the ramps trying to find the zebras, of course. I finally caught up with her at the zebra spot. The zebras are below us, as part of an African plains-themed area. they are currently eating hay. We are leaning over a wooden-post railing. She has climbed to the second rung and can see over the top. She is holding her ivy in her hand, waving it back and forth.

LM: ZEBRAAAA! ZEEEEBRAAAAS! I GOT YER FOOOOOOOOD! ZEEEEBRAAAAS!
Me: uh, honey, I don’t think
LM: ZEEEEBRAAAAAAS! COME HEEEEERE! I GOT YER FOOOOOOD!
Me: baby, the zebras are already eating
LM: ZEEEEBRAAAAS! HEEEEERE YA GOOOO! HERES DA GRASS! COME HERE!
Me: LIL MISS!
LM: whut?
Me: honey, the zebras are busy, they can’t get your “grass” anyway.
Lil Miss looks down, sees how far down the zebras are. Notices a small catwalk below us, obviously for keepers to use. Its about 4feet below us on the other side of the rail we are leaning against.
LM: Mommmy, I not fall from dat.
Me: no, you won’t fall from that. because you’re not going down there YOU’RE STAYING RIGHT HERE.
LM: I not fall!
Me: you’re NOT GOING DOWN THERE.
LM: but mommy, da zebras can’t get da grass
Me: look, the zebras are already eating. they aren’t interested in the ivy honey because they eat hay. what you have is not hay. they can’t even see or smell what you are holding.
LM looks down. Thinks. Drops ivy. Watches Ivy fall to the ground about six feet from zebra.

LM: ZEEEEEBRAA! ZEEEEEBRA! THERE YOUR GRASS! ZEEEBRAAAA!

I had to haul her away promising to buy her a stuffed zebra at the shop.

Frozen with ineptitude

yesterday, everything was going really well for a whole 30 minutes. No fighting, no screeching, no crying, no whining. Lil Miss didn’t even ask me for “ahhh-skoo-wai” once.

So, feeling really good, I lean over the bannister and yell “hey! WHO WANTS POPSICLES??”

Everyone comes running up the stairs, we all start dancing in the kitchen, clapping hands and cheering. Then I open the freezer with a flourish, pull out the popsicle box and find

ONE popsicle

Holy shit, imminent disaster of toddler-epic proportions. Why oh why didn’t I LOOK first? Oy vey.

Oldest Godson, who is nearly five, sees inside box and knows what’s coming. Younger Godson is not so savvy. Lil Miss is already reaching for the one popsicle in my hand. I give it to LM and tell the godsons how incredibly sorry I am, I made a mistake, I swear by all that is holy in toddlerland I will get them more popsicles as soon as their mom gets here. Godson-the-younger looks sad and pouty-ish but I think he kinda groks the situation. Godson-the-hyper chats with me about the situation and gets okay with it. I offer GtY some cantelope – no dice (and I don’t blame him) and I swear to him I’m gonna get him some popsicle. I call the boys’ mom leaving an urgent message “PLEASE call me unless you are turning onto my street THIS IS IMPORTANT” and feel like total crud-on-a-stick. I don’t know what else to do, GtY is sad but he’s not crying or actively pouting or anything like that… so I walk away hoping that their mother is either right around the corner or aboutto call me back while she’s in Publix.

I hear some giggling. Walk back over and see LM sharing her popsicle with GtY. Holy crap. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her share anything she was actually engaged with. Melted my heart completely.

Then their mother drove up. I explained the situation (while she laughed her ass off at me) then dashed to the store to restock the frozen treats. Came back, distributed frozen treats and all was well with the world again.

profound influence on me

I was a child of about, hmm, 6 or 7 I believe. I was up early on a Saturday morning, eating cereal and watching “kid’s shows”. Of course, the earliest part of those mornings the shows I watched were cartoons, but around noon, cartoons inevitably ended and “regular” TV would come on. On one channel, they were piloting a kid’s gameshow called “RunAround”. I rather liked this show and watched for probably every episode. The basic rules were simple: a question was asked of a large group of kids. Several answers were offered up and assigned to posts on the stage. The kids had to choose an answer and run to it, filling up the space around the post. They were given about 10 seconds to choose a post/answer. At that time, the announcer would reveal how many kids were standing on each post/answer and give everyone a chance to change their answer. Kids would often jump from one post area to another seeing how many kids were standing in the area/answer. Based on how many kids were in the area of the correct answer, they received points, given out as rubber balls. So there was an advantage to being with other kids, but only a small advantage. If you chose the wrong answer, you’d get nothing. If you weren’t sure, you could always gamble by going with the majority. OFtentimes, the majority were correct. Usually, if the majority wasn’t correct, there would be a sizeable amount of kids on the correct answer anyway. Sometimes, not being sure of the answer, kids would hop over to another answer while other kids were hopping to the answer they left behind. It was easy to see who wasn’t sure of their answer.
One morning, I was watching “RunAround” and the question came up: Who was Pinnochio’s father?
Shoot, I knew the answer to that easy: Gepetto.
How many kids do you think knew the answer to that one? I’ll tell you, about half the kids chose the wrong answer on first runaround. WHen the announcer tallied up the numbers,every kid but one jumped to the wrong answer. AS sometimes happened on RunAround when there was a noticeable difference in numbers-to-answers, the announcer asked the remaining kid if he wanted to change his answer. Many kids who had jumped off the correct answer onto the wrong answer gestured for their friend to join them. He grinned and refused. The announcer then asked the majority if any of them wanted to change their answer again and join their lone friend. Every one of them firmly shook their heads. They weren’t going to lose so noticeably. You could see the conviction in their eyes; they had changed their answer to go with the majority and now they were completely convinced it was correct. Even though they only joined the majority in the first place to keep company with their friends! They were NOT sure of the answer at all until they joined the majority. Once they were there, they gathered conviction for something they were ignorant of. I could plainly see kids laughing at the lone stander. They were mocking him for not changing his answer, so sure by now that they were right.
When the bell rung and the post lit up, the lone kid raised his fists in the air and danced around hooting. All the majority kids were stunned. Some of them looked to be protesting, after all, they were so sure. They had completely forgotten that they had never been sure. Some of them, I’d guess, had been completely ignorant the entire time. Yet, because they stood with the majority and convinced themselves of its rightness, they couldn’t accept that they had been wrong.

mother, but which version?

Kids are sitting at table doing homework. A little plastic statue of the Virgin Mary is sitting on table. Usually, she sits on the counter above the sink so I have a place to put my ring when I’m doing dishes.

Me: what’s the Virgin Mary doing on the table?

Son Number Three: who?

Me: the Virgin Mary statue…. why’s this on the table? [picks up statue and starts to put it back]

SNTh: What’s a versionary?

[Baph cracks up]

Baph: [aside to me] new word! You know, someone who thinks up new versions, instead of having visions they have versions.

Me: yeah, that’s pretty good.

SNTh: [persisting] what’s a versionary?

Baph: no, Vvvvirgin MAAAry

SNTh: VVirgin Maary. What’s a Virginmary?

Me: [‘houston, we have a problem’] uh… it’s a nice story…

[kids faces go serious – ‘it’s a nice story’ has been recognized now as “mommy is stalling”]

Me: [foundering] she, uh, had a baby without a….

Baph: without a husband!

Me: noooo… she had a husband.. she, uh, just…. didn’t have a…. father

SNTwo: Versionmary didn’t have a dad?

Me: no…. she uh, didn’t have a …man to uh, give her the baby…. or something

[baph starts laughing]

SNTw: versionmary didn’t have a man for the baby? how –

Me: [thinking fast] SHE HAD A MAGICAL BABY, OKAY?

[baph cracks up. kids go back to homework]

Baph: nice save!

Me: shaddup.

Special place for a special guy

Son Number Three: hey mom, I was student of the day today!!

Me: wow! Did you get the lollypop for being Student of the day?

SNTh: yeah.

Me: cool! What else do you get when you’re student of the day?

SNTh: you get to play on the computer and hold the teacher’s hand!

Me: great!

SNTh: uh huh… and you get to be third in line and

[he turns and his eyes sparkle with excitement]

you get to sit in the purple chair!!!