Category Archives: Parenting/Children

Here Comes a Zebra!

We recently celebrated the ninth birthday of my youngest son.  The day was marked with beautiful weather and special activities of his choosing.  The mood was light and joyful, but most of all, reclaiming.

Last year was different.  While the weather was gorgeous and we celebrated with activities of his choosing, we also received news that would rock the world we knew.  Last year was tough – not just for us, but for Owen, also.

While Owen’s medical diagnosis unraveled slowly over the next six months, I came to this realization … I think I always knew.  I think I always knew that something wasn’t as it should be.  When was it, though, that there were enough dots for me to connect in his story?

Although I felt sure of my own calculations, when doctors told me Owen’s due date was significantly later than I had previously calculated myself, that alone did not warrant any exaggerated concern on my part – but in the back of my mind I wondered … How could I have been that far off?  How could I have miscalculated that much? It seemed like an egregious error!

When he was born, he weighed in at a much lower birth weight than my three older sons had.  But he’d also been born without breath in his lungs and required resuscitation and level 2 nursery.  No one seemed concerned over his size, however, because based on their calculations, Owen was born about 4-5 weeks early!  I knew better and chalked his size up to fetal distress and a tumultuous birth experience.

I took him in for his one year old well-baby-check and was told that his height measured in the negative 10-percentile.  Yes, that was -10%-tile! “What?  I’m just going to tell people he’s off the charts and let them draw their own conclusions!” I thought playfully. It was suggested that he’d likely just be smaller in stature than most full grown men.  I was offered the option of looking into growth hormones if I was overly concerned with his potential height, but I’d heard horror stories of children receiving growth hormones so I quickly declined.  Two of Owen’s older brothers had slow starts, too.  I’d just wait this stage out! But in the back of my mind, I knew none of his brothers ever clocked in at a negative percentile.

The incredible staff in the church nursery carried our little man for his first 22 months.  One day, they set him down between their legs so they could use their hands and he walked away.  They were shocked that such a young baby could already walk so well.  I assured them that he was 22 months and had been walking for some time now.  But in the back of my mind, I was growing more and more aware of Owen’s small stature.

At four years old, Owen would still crawl up the stairs at home.  I knew he was small, so it made sense.  Those stairs still looked HUGE to him from way down there.   At this age, he also started to show signs of tiring easily on long walks or standing in lines at stores.  He’d ask for rides in the wagon on our family walks and he’d squat down to rest his legs as we stood in various lines waiting to check out.  Now, in the back of my mind, I knew I needed to start tracking what was going on with our sweet boy as I grew less trusting of my previous self-assurances.

The clues continued to build.  When Owen was five years old, it began to feel awkward requesting size 3 clothing from relatives for Christmas gifts. When he turned seven years of age, we joked about his preteen swag.  But in the back of my mind, I knew that it wasn’t a normal gait. Not on a seven year old boy.

Shortly after this came the night pain.  I would tell him it was just growing pains and send him back to bed but I realized that he was coming to me more often than any of the other kids.  And at this point, who was I kidding?  He wasn’t growing! What was once relegated to the dusty shelves in the warehouse of my brain could be stored there no longer.

That proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back came when Owen turned seven years old. Although he’d been in martial arts for three years already, I noted that he wasn’t progressing like his peers. I was his instructor and was pushing him to do his personal best but his attempts seemed to be lacking.  Later at home, I broke down a kick for him, asking him to replicate the motion. While I was trying to be gentle in my insistence for better form, he looked up at me with his deep brown eyes, tears now streaming down his little red cheeks, telling me, “I’m trying, Mommy!”  At that instant, my heart broke because I knew something was definitely wrong.

It started as a check up with our family doctor.  I told myself we were just checking to make sure that everything was OK.  I knew better – but couldn’t speak aloud the concern that now gripped me.  Our family doctor knew, too because he immediately referred us to a local children’s hospital for an MRI and x-rays and, soon after, to a pediatric orthopedic surgeon. “What are the findings thus far?” I asked our family doctor. “It’s either bilateral Leg Perthes or Multiple Epiphyseal Dysplasia,” came his calm response. “Once you see the specialist, you’ll know more.”

That evening I met with a group of friends for our Bible study.  I asked for prayer for Owen – and for a sense of peace for me. A dear friend reassured me that everything would likely turn out fine. After all, she said, if you hear hoof beats coming down the street, you wouldn’t automatically think, “Here comes a zebra!”  It’ll probably just be something that is easily remedied, she continued.

His appointment with the pediatric orthopedic surgeon, out of necessity, was set on Owen’s eighth birthday.  He was saddened that he had to go to yet another medical appointment, especially on HIS day – a day where he had requested a trip to the zoo and a birthday dinner at, of all places, White Castle. We fit everything in around his appointment where we were told he had Multiple Epiphyseal Dysplasia (MED) and referred to a geneticist.  Since I was expecting the diagnosis to be that of the more common Leg Perthes, I hadn’t prepared questions for this doctor regarding MED because I prepared myself for a horse, not a zebra! I was suddenly jumping mental hurdles the size of skyscrapers as I struggled to know what to ask him about MED.

In the course of the next six months, Owen endured many medical appointments and had more blood taken from him in one sitting than I suspected his small body contained. We cautiously curtailed his physical activity while we waited patiently for an answer; a final diagnosis.  When it came, it was again different and I was again unprepared.  It wasn’t a zebra … It was an entire herd of zebras.

Today we know what I think I always suspected – although I never suspected this diagnosis specifically.  Owen has a change on his COL2A1 gene which causes Spondyloephiphyseal Dysplasia Congenita, a rare condition that occurs in less than 10 people in 1,000,000.  It results in a short-trunk form of dwarfism – but it reaches so much further than his shortened stature. This collagenopothy will require him to have annual hearing and eye exams since people with SEDc typically have poor eyesight and hearing. Currently, Owen’s hips are not formed properly. While that gives him incredible flexibility that he likes to show off to his doctors, it also causes him to physically tire much faster than his peers.  Eventually he’ll need a bilateral hip replacement to help him live life without pain.  Additionally, his shoulder, elbow, wrist, and ankle joints are all affected and need to be monitored annually. Probably of greatest significance is the fact that this affects his spine.  While his entire spine is flattened, his C1-C2 cervical vertebrae are underdeveloped … meaning all contact sports are out for him as are things like bumper cars, somersaults, and active childrens’ games since even simple falls could be catastrophic for Owen due to his underdeveloped vertebrae.

While Owen does not appear overly compromised beyond his shorter stature, I think I always suspected that somehow he needed attention; something was different. In this, I am reminded that, as parents, we need to follow our instinct when it comes to our children.  I believe that God places a knowledge of our children deep within us, much like He foreknew us before He knit us together in our mother’s womb.  We know our children. We are their first line of defense. We are their protection. We are their guardians.  And while this alters some things in Owen’s life, our goals for our youngest son remain intact:  know God, love God, and be a good person.  And he’s totally on track despite these very earthly hurdles!

Did I suspect anything when we could carry this boy in a backpack? Yes, I did.

Did I suspect anything when we could carry this boy in a backpack? Yes, I did.

Owen runs a race with friends in the DAAA (Dwarf Athletic Association of America)

Owen runs a race with friends in the DAAA (Dwarf Athletic Association of America)


Counting Up


Today I begin. I begin to live with an attitude of gratitude. I tell my kids to be thankful all the time.  Then I wonder, do they need to be told …. or do they need to be shown?  Is gratitude something that is taught? ….. or caught?

It’s easy to get caught up in the daily to-do list around the house, running errands, wiping little noses, getting swept up in the scurry of BLESSINGS that are no longer counted as such.

That cluttered countertop? Be thankful. It means you have the blessings of modern appliances, the postal system as a means of communication, the funds to purchase coffee, and yes, toys for the kids.

Take a look around you. What do you see as you are seated in the comfort of your home? What does it tell you …. really, what does it tell you when you start seeing it as a blessing? It tells me I am blessed abundantly, beyond measure.

Today I begin.  May I challenge you, Reader, to start counting your blessings too? There are still 293 days left in 2013. Begin today. Count just three blessings a day and you will amass nearly 1000 blessings before the end of the year!  1000 blessings! So very much to be thankful for. Start.  Today.  Do it.

  1. 3/13/13:  I’m thankful for the blessing of the beautiful, bright sun filling my house with natural light  and warmth.
  2.  3/13/13: I’m thankful for the blessing of friends – near and far – who are there for me and with me as I navigate this wonderful life.  Hope to see you all in the next life!
  3. 3/13/13: OK. The clutter. Yes, I’ll be thankful for the blessing of the clutter too, because it tells me I lead a very FULL life.
  4. 3/13/13: And today I’ll be thankful for the time I’m given to CLEAN the clutter. I am a stay at home mom, afforded this time, and it is a blessing indeed!
  5. Just before the stroke of midnight on 3/14/13:  I am blessed beyond measure with an automobile that navigates well in the MN winters!
  6. 3/14/13:  I am oh-so-thankful for the gift of our 9 month old puppy, Dutch. He is a counter-surfer extraordinaire, but he loves us all, all the time – even when we are unlovable.
  7. 3/14/13: And today I am thankful for effective allergy meds since I’m not sure I’d manage well without them!
  8. 10/7/14: I’m thankful for the seasons and the gorgeous flaming fall leaves that dot the landscape.
  9. 10/7/14: I’m thankful for a loving husband who adores me and tries his very best to understand me.
  10. 10/7/14: I’m thankful for the ability to homeschool my youngest kiddos this year! We are having so much fun and they are seriously enjoying the learning process.
  11. 10/7/14: I so thankful to be part of a church that is alive, well, and proclaiming the GOOD NEWS of Jesus Christ!
  12. 10/7/14: I thankful for the unusually warm weather that we have had this fall.  The cold and snow are inevitable, but being able to hold them at bay for a while is absolutely wonderful!
  13. 10/7/14: I’m thankful for good friends in every walk of life!
  14. 10/7/14: I’m really thankful for my new pink and lime green (yes, you read that correctly) Bible! 🙂
  15. 10/7/14: I’m thankful that Halloween candy is not available year round. Those *fun sizes* can get me into so much trouble!
  16. 10/7/14: I’m thankful for the life of my littlest man, who actually didn’t make it through the birth process, but was later revived. We celebrate him on his birthday … in just a bit more than a week from now.
  17. 10/7/14: I’m thankful for the quiet of the late nights. It gives me time to reflect on and savor all my gifts in this life!
  18. 10/7/14: I’m thankful for my 18yo son and his quick wit. He keeps me in my toes, but in a happy way!
  19. 10/7/14: I’m thankful for the academic ability of my 20yo son. At just 18 years of age, he was halfway through his college career, having amassed 72 college credits.
  20. 10/7/14: I’m thankful for the caring heart of my 3rd born son. The love he shows others far outshines his quick temper!
  21. 10/7/14: I’m so thankful to have found a martial arts family that our family can embrace. We have received a gift in the new friendships that we have developed over the past three years.
  22. 10/7/14: With the GIFT of a smartphone this year, I am SO thankful that I am now beginning to feel organized! I’m missing fewer appointments … AND I can keep the littles entertained while AT the appointments! A double blessing!
  23. 10/7/14: I’m thankful for the new/used leather sofa that we found on Craigslist for only $20.
  24. 10/7/14: I’m so thankful that we got our tire replaced for free when I drove over a screw in the road two weeks ago.
  25. 10/7/14: I’m thankful that I still have eight healthy fingers after having broken two of them within six weeks at karate.
  26. 10/7/14: I’m thankful for our new homeschool co-op, River of Life in Lindstrom, where our children are establishing healthy friendships with other like-minded kids.
  27. 10/7/14: I’m thankful for my Bonsai Tree bought for me with love by my husband. Maybe this is one I won’t unintentionally kill. He demonstrates his faith in my each time he brings home a live plant!
  28. 10/7/14: I’m thankful for extended family. While I always wish I had more time to spend with them, I know they love me, near or far.
  29. 10/7/14: I’m so thankful for the abundance of books that we have, for it means we will never have to experience a dull moment.
  30. 10/7/14: I’m so very, very thankful for my new Vitamix Blender. We have had so many enjoyable smoothies in the past three months!
  31. 10/7/14: I’m thankful for my membership with our local food buying co-op. Because of that, our family is able to eat mostly organic food at very affordable prices.
  32. 10/7/14: I’m incredibly thankful for my new hobby – knitting – and my knitting friends.
  33. 10/7/14: I’m thankful that I have yarn (MUCH yarn) with which to create wonderful knit projects!
  34. 10/7/14: Did I mention my incredible Addi Turbo Click knitting needles? I’m really thankful for those. They make knitting so very enjoyable!
  35. 10/7/14: I’m thankful for – My avenue to my creative expression!

Math Word Problems (Or Forcing a Square Peg in a Round Hole)

My nine year-old has more homework than usual this week. That’s OK. Since I homeschooled my oldest sons, I know all too well how to teach a third grader, but every once in a while the explanation seems to elude me.  His weakest (and therefore most detested) subject is math, so I wasn’t surprised that he balked when we began the two pages of word problems. The conversation that ensued while we worked through the problems was actually quite comical.

Me (reading from the assignment): Write and solve a word problem in which you must find an unknown partner.

Aidan (a little confused): You mean like I have to do in gym?

Me (containing my smile): No, Honey. This is different. The teacher is asking you to create a word problem similar to the nine that we just worked through. Finding an unknown partner means you’re only given a portion of the information and you need to use math to find out the portion that you weren’t given.

Aidan: Does it need to be a subtraction problem?

[He sees no useful reason he should ever have to do subtraction, especially if it involves borrowing from the *neighbor*.  Wait until he opens his first checking account!]

Me: Let’s assume the answer is YES since the previous nine problems all involved subtraction.

Aidan (enthusiastically):  I know! There were 15 kids in costumes. Six kids wore ghost costumes.

Me (excitedly thinking he’d caught on quickly): Good, Aidan! I’ll write that part down for you. Now you need to end the word problem by asking a question. What would your question be?

Aidan (very confidently): The question part is really easy, Mom!  How many kids wore werewolf costumes?

Me (mental face palm): Ummm.  No. How could I answer that, Aidan, since there are still nine kids that I don’t know about?

Aidan: Easy. I could tell you.

Me (growing more confused than HIM!): Tell me what, Aidan?

Aidan: I could tell you that eight of the kids wore werewolf costumes!

Me: But eight werewolves plus six ghosts only equals 14 kids. I thought there were 15 kids in costumes.

Aidan (more than ready to make his word problem work):  OK. So let’s say that the other kid dressed as Darth Maul.


It’s fun to hear how Aidan processes things. He’s not a neuro-typical third grader since he navigates life with high-functioning Autism, but he is very academically adept. That said, our math lesson gave me reason to pause tonight to explain to him that somewhere in our conversation, he went off-course. It wasn’t about werewolves at all when we began the word problem, but once he introduced werewolves into the picture, he was focused on  making it work.

How often do we find ourselves doing the very same thing, whether it be with a school assignment, a work situation, or a life circumstance? After using a half page of paper on one algebra problem, it becomes obvious that the direction in which we are headed is not right. But who wants to rework that entire problem? It seems more time-efficient to chalk it up to a great, albeit failed, attempt and be thankful it was only worth five points while moving on to the following problem. At work, we find that the implementation of  a new product did not provide the company with the long-term benefits we anticipated. Rather than giving voice to this fact, we force the new product to fit into the business while we listen to our peers grumble under their breath. In life we find ourselves accumulating debt. As the interest becomes higher than the principle, we begin to realize that our credit card debt is too high, but it’s so much easier to open a new credit card and start with a zero balance than to reign in our spending habits and pay off the balance on the first card.

As we worked through Aidan’s math word problem that evening, we had to return to the base problem to ascertain how to best address it. Avoiding the problem, or simply adding new factors, was not working – no matter how hard he tried forcing that square peg into the round hole!

What are the square pegs in your life? Are you working through issues where you’ve introduced too many factors? Or are you simply ignoring that the issue exists at all? Unfortunately, the issues that are not dealt with remain, needing correction and seeking closure. Left open and uncorrected, they haunt us unceasingly.  Face the issues in your life; correct them; bring closure. It will feel fa-BOO-lous!

Philippians 3:13-15
Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.

It CAN Always Get Worse!


How was your week? Mine felt unbearably long and there were many times I was sure Friday evening would never arrive – or if it did, I would somehow miss it amid the chaos of life. The proverbial nail was driven into the casket this evening as my six year old spilled his milk on the peanuts I had just spent two hours shelling while our four month old puppy pounced excitedly between his rawhide bone and the sweet, dripping kitchen table unsure which way to run in the 1.5 square feet of space available. Admittedly, bedtime could not come soon enough – if not for the young ones, for me.

OK. It can always get worse. When I’m tempted to feel tapped, I try to remind myself of that fact. For example, Rasputin, the iconic Russian religious advisor to the Romanov family, definitely dealt with greater grievances. Hated by many in a country where he held significant influence and power (not an unusual feat in and of itself), he experienced trials and tribulations beyond what I’d wish on my worst enemy. Rasputin was stabbed, poisoned, shot three times, clubbed, and drowned – and with the exception of the stabbing, it all happened in one evening!

I can’t top that. More importantly I don’t even want to try! Incomplete homework assignments, piles of laundry, sticky floors, dinner dishes, spilled milk, and puppy poo all plague my week, but I can tackle those consistent challenges that attempt to derail my days. And much like Rasputin, I don’t go down without a good fight. But his life, and subsequent death, serve as a stark reminder that it can always get worse!

So how did you say your week went?

I’m Normal. What Are You?

After a full day of playing with Legos, Matchbox Cars, Wii, and various outdoor toys, the time had come for Owen’s best friend, Alex, to go home. As we  entered the van for the fourteen mile drive, Alex chose to sit in the far reaches, the very back seat – because providing additional challenges in a conversation can make it extra interesting, right? As I chatted with Alex over the expanse of empty seats, our conversations flowed easily, especially considering Alex is only five years old and doesn’t really know me very well. We were, however, trying our best to listen to each other over the noise of both the engine and the road.

When Alex told me he was learning Spanish, my curiosity was piqued.  See, Alex is Asian – but beyond knowing THAT, I have no idea what Alex’s heritage is, so the following conversation ensued:

Me (trying to peer into the rear view mirror to occasionally establish eye contact):  That’s really cool that you’re learning Spanish, Alex.  What is your ancestry?

Alex (pausing, not quite sure of the meaning of the word):  Ummmm ….. I don’t know.

Me (trying to help him out with both an explanation and a prompt): Ancestry means lineage or where your parents and grandparents came from. Are you Korean?

Alex (quickly): No.

Me: Are you Chinese?

Alex: No.

Me: Are you Vietnamese?

Alex: No.

Me (now floundering as I was running out of options): Japanese?

Alex: No.

[Since Alex was so sure these options were not part of his ancestry, it struck me that Alex might KNOW his ancestry and I need only quit prompting him. So I continued my line of questions in a new manner:]

Me: If none of those are part of your lineage, then what ARE you, Alex?

[Alex’s reply was quick as a wink and sure as a boy could be, causing me to really hear his answer.]

Alex (simply):  I’m normal.

Touche, Alex.

Pause for consideration, Reader. How do you see YOURself? It occurs to me that we all too often view our differences in a manner that set us apart from others, in both a positive and negative manner. If you’re seated across from a potential employer in a job interview, that may be a necessity to secure employment.  More often, however, we need to look for commonalities that enable us to be ONE with each other.  At the tender age of five, Alex seemed to understand that commonalities make for both a confident person and a more peaceful community. Additionally, it is what Christ calls us to do.

1 Cor 12: 24-26:  But God has so composed the body … 25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.

Are you normal, Reader? It IS a more excellent way!

Thinking Outside the (Crayon) Box

Owen, my sweet-as-pie six year-old, loves to be creative so it never surprisesme to find him sitting on the floor surrounded by crayons and paper, sometimes adding scissors and glue to the mix. Recently he invited me to join him as he conceptualized his next great feat of artistic expression. Quite often I look for an out, deferring him to one of his older brothers as a potentially better partner in craft. On this particular day, however, I decided to color with him, elbow to elbow.

Owen: Mommy, want to color with me?

Me: Sure, Honey. Could you bring the paper and crayons to the table please?

[He arrived at the table with the paper and immediately left the room in search of the crayons. It took him longer than usual to return and I will admit, I was growing a bit impatient as I sat there pondering what to make for dinner, thinking about the homework I needed to tackle with his brother, and feeling somewhat dismayed at the depth of debris stuck to my sock from the unswept kitchen floor. After quite some time Owen returned to the table with the crayons and a proclamation.]

Owen: Here are the crayons, Mommy! I broke them all in half so we wouldn’t have to fight over them!

(Sigh. We each took our half-set and began to color, him a bit more contently than me.)


The first thought to cross my mind as we bumped elbows and noses while we colored was that I would probably only fight to the death over the yellow and pink crayons, at least one color of which he would likely have no interest in using anyway!  The second thought to cross my mind was that we would soon be buying a new box of crayons. Fortunately this was just a small set that needed replacing.

Looking at Owen’s actions in hindsight, a few thoughts pop out beyond the fact that I happen to be bugged by the chaos created by broken crayons. Owen thinks much differently than I do. Given that there is a vast age difference, that doesn’t entirely shock me – but I also see a difference in how he thinks in comparison to how I thought at his age. Growing up in a small town in a one-income household, possessions were both few and treasured. To break something of value intentionally would have been far beyond my comprehension of sanity and respect for personal property!

In that regard, many children today show a lack of appreciation for the items they own. Elaborate gifts for birthdays and Christmas have become the new normal, the expectation rather than the exceptional blessing they should be. Because they happen to be part of the modern day culture, for example, many teens feel that iPhones, game consoles, and cars are inherent to who they are, essential for their happiness, and indispensable in their daily activities. As a result, the value of the expensive toys, iPhones, and game consoles is lost, as broken items are typically tossed rather than repaired. Even those broken crayons have value though. They just await an art project of new proportion and different dimension.

On the other hand, I absolutely applaud my six year-old for his ability to both anticipate a problem and create a solution before coming to the table! Owen saw his limited resources and realized immediately that product distribution might pose a challenge. That showed ingenuity beyond the capability of many adults who are no longer able to think outside the crayon box.

I held my tongue that day deciding instead to instill in his being a sense of harmony as we colored shades of scarlet and tints of teal, creating a masterpiece previously unparalleled in his short history.

Everybody Shut Up …. Please!

ImageUndoubtedly there’s nothing like a conversation with a young one to completely change your outlook on something, whether of substance or not!  I am blessed daily with comical conversations with my nearly-nine year-old, Aidan, and my soon-to-be-six year-old (tomorrow!), Owen. Today, however, we added to that mix with Owen’s best friend, Alex, as we drove him to our house for a play date. As usual, the backseat conversations did not disappoint.  Need to brighten your day?  Read on!

Alex (to me):  What is your name again?

Me (pretty relaxed with kiddos): You can call me Amy.

Alex: Amy, my family goes out for lunch after church every Sunday.

Me (sensing a HUGE hint in that statement): Oh! Wow! We don’t do that, Alex.

Alex (not skipping a beat):  You could START today!!

Aidan (changing the subject while proudly announcing):  Guess what, Alex? I’m half Hispanic!

[I’m not entirely sure where this came from since his roots hail largely from Germany, Poland, Norway, and Sweden!]

Alex (not to be outdone by Aidan):  Oh yeah? Well I have a friend that is half crazy APE!

[OK. I’m not even going to TRY to top that one!]

Since they were now on a descent-oriented conversation, this followed …

Alex:  Konnichiwa, Owen!

Owen (scratching his cute little head): Wha …. ?

Alex (taking on an air of higher education): It means “shut up”.

Me (trying desperately not to laugh): Ummm …. I don’t think that’s right, Alex. I’m pretty certain that it means “hello” or “good afternoon”.

[Suddenly raucous laughter erupts in the back seat as they all ignore me and start yelling out this newly discovered *command*, Konnichiwa! After a seemingly endless stretch of time, Alex declared that the decibel levels were decidedly deafening!]

Alex (commanding): Everybody … Konnichiwa!!  Please.

[Everybody shut up, please?  Well, at least he was polite about what he THOUGHT he was saying.]

Alex and Owen both attend Kindergarten in the same school district but are in different schools. They share the same crazy Kindergarten schedule …. All-day every other day and alternating Fridays. Believe me, there are days that I’M not sure if he should be attending or not!  Alex, much like our own family, comes from a home where some of the kids have been or are currently being home educated. When the conversation in the car came into more subdued volumes, he began to share more with us.

Alex:  Tomorrow morning when I wake up, I’ll be going to SCHOOL …. REAL school, NOT home school.

[HA!  My 17 year-old, sitting in the front passenger seat, shot me a look from the corner of his eye with a slight smile gracing his face. OK, I’m going to let that one go. After all, it came from a five year-old, right?]

The conversation turned to age when Owen announced that he’d be celebrating his birthday in one day. This often provides for good humor anytime an early elementary child and someone over the ripe age of 20 are involved. Today’s comical conversation was not an exception!

Owen (happily): I’m having a birthday tomorrow, Alex! I’ll be SIX!

Alex (about 5″ taller than Owen): Wow! Tomorrow I will still be FIVE and I think I’ll still be BIGGER than you, Owen!  (continuing on)  My brother is SEVEN already!!

Me: Wow! That’s really OLD!

Aidan (to no one in particular): Well, I’m going to be NINE in a MONTH!

Me (to Alex): And how old is your sister, Hannah, Alex? Is she 12?

Alex (with a slight sound of exasperation in his young voice): No! She’s a TEENAGER!  Isaac, are YOU a teenager yet?

[Evidently all ages from 13-19 are lumped together in one enormously scary category?]

Aidan (nearly nine but still trying to gain ground with Alex): I’m actually 19. I’m just small.

Alex (surprised): Wow! I didn’t know that!

Me (trying to encourage Aidan to come clean with the truth): You’re not 19, Aidan. Please don’t lie.

Aidan (calculatingly):  I’m NOT lying …. I’m tricking.

[Uh huh]

These entertaining exchanges brought us almost all the way home, covering matters at a five year-old level concerning tradition, descent, age, and language! Alas, the entertainment did not stop upon reaching our abode, however. After lunch, Alex was exploring a cheap, and thus broken, airsoft pistol when Isaac told him he could take it home.

Alex (to Isaac, sweetly):  I wish I had a brother like you at home.

[Isaac was momentarily thinking that Alex was a really great kid when Alex interrupted that stream of consciousness with the continuation of his declaration.]

Alex: Because then he would give me all his stuff.

Kids’ voiced-thoughts and conversations can be so awesome. Quite often, we are moving too quickly to actually hear them, however. As busy adults, we just need to slow down to catch the comedy, allowing them to both entertain us with their exchanges and imbue us with their innocence.  Everybody, shut up … please.