Monday, December 10, 2007

Smith's Brain Cells

For Thanksgiving, the Colorado-Romneys road-tripped to Utah. It was relatively painless, even though Highway 6 was closed, forcing us to take a long and winding road from Helper to Duschesne. Before that detour, we stopped for gas in Price. It was bitterly cold outside, so when I got out of the car, I tried to work fast. Once I hurried to get the credit card worked out, informed Chevron that I did not want a car wash, and got the pump into the car, I leaned back and waited with my hands in my pockets, trying to keep warm.

At that point, I heard a wistful voice from behind me say, "I love this smell. . . ." I looked over my shoulder and saw Smith sniffing gas. By "sniffing gas" I mean his nose was pressed up against the metal nozzle of the gas pump, right next to the hole in the car where the pump is inserted, while he inhaled deeply through his nose. "Smith, STOP!" I yelled. I was expecting his eyes to roll back, and for his body to go limp. Instead, he grinned and said to me, "Dad, I really . . . like the smell of gas."

Smith was pretty quiet for the remaining few hours of the drive.

Sunday, November 4, 2007


There seems to have been a lot of talk in our house lately about birthdays. Smith has been invited to a few parties lately, and Smith's cousin Chase had a birthday while he was here visiting last week. On Saturday, I was taking Smith to another of his buddy's birthday parties and I think Smith got to wondering when it would be his turn to have a birthday party again.

"Dad, the next birthday party is going to be for me, right?"

I replied, "Actually, your birthday is a long ways off. We have to celebrate Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Easter, the 4th of July, and a few other holidays before we will celebrate your birthday again."

"Oh . . . what day is my birthday?" Smith asked.

"September 11th."

Right then, we arrived at the party. There were about 50 people in attendance: 20 kids and 30 parents, all crammed into the old CU bowling alley. The host of the party greeted us, as did a few other parents and friends. I said hello, but Smith's head was still stuck on picturing his own birthday party, so he returned their greetings by screaming out, "I LOVE SEPTEMBER 11TH! I LOVE SEPTEMBER 11TH! I AM GOING TO HAVE THE BIGGEST PARTY IN THE WORLD ON SEPTEMBER 11TH!"

I think every head in the room turned and stared at us. I am sure my face turned a deep shade of red . . . maybe purple. I was able to explain to tell those within close proximity that September 11th is Smith's birthday and he is already looking forward to his next birthday party; however, the rest of the people at the party may still think we are terrorists.

Monday, October 22, 2007

No descriptive explanation needed

"Sorry mom, I thought it was a toot . . . but it was a poop-toot."

Thursday, October 18, 2007

O'Thank You Poppie!

Poppie, in case you are wondering, is Grandma Clark. A few days back, Smith wanted to tell Poppie thank you for letting us stay with her at the cabin last week. Smith loves the cabin. Like every kid, he loves seeing wildlife, playing in the rocks and dirt and going on hikes (which he calls "hunts"). The cabin is really the best of all of his worlds. So, the other day, Smith and I set about writing Poppie a thank you card.

But before I tell that story, I have to provide some background information. Since Smith has become interested in learning to read and write, he has made it crystal clear, on numerous occasions, and with exceeding emphasis, that his favorite letter is "O." If there is an O within Smith's proximity, he will identify it. If presented with pen and paper, Smith will commence by writing the letter O. When attempting to spell most words, Smith begins by writing the letter O; this includes the spelling of his own name. Whenever he sees his own name in writing, he will write an O in front of it, like this: "O'Smith." We have recently noticed that the artwork and projects that come home from church and school are signed by the teacher, "O'Smith." He can be very persuasive.

So . . . back to thanking Poppie. On the thank you card, Smith drew a black sand monster robot. I asked him to sign his oeuvre. "Dad, I can do it myself!" Fine, go ahead buddy. Smith gripped his pen and began to write with such concentration and force that he could have etched it into stone. Once completed, Smith handed me the card with his name written prominently at the bottom: "OSHITM."

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


The other day, I was sitting in a chair feeding Laine from a bottle. I was cradling Laine in my left arm while holding a burp cloth under her chin with my right hand and the bottle was propped up against my chest with the nipple directed downward into her mouth. Smith walked over and looked very excited. "Dad! Are you feeding Laine from your abs?"

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Happy 4th Birthday Smitty

Whitley put on a great birthday party for Smith. Here are some highlights:

1. Here is the crew. Yes, it was a superhero birthday party.

2. Pin the spider on Spiderman.

3. Smith blowing out candles, but what I really like is the sneaky Spiderman over his shoulder trying to do the job himself.

4. Two nice pictures of Smith, but the best part is the rogue Spiderman scaling the wall in the background.

Imaginary . . . Friends?

Lately, Smith has been referring to what could be described as imaginary friends. There is not a specific imaginary friend, like I had as a kid (his name was Kenny), but imaginary things that Smith seems to interact with regularly.

This began a few weeks ago when the family went on a Saturday hike around Estes Park. On the hike, Smith caught several imaginary wolves, tied leashes around their neck, and made Whitley and me hold the leashes throughout the duration of the hike. Anytime we relaxed our hand from the leash-holding position (which, for the uninitiated, means arm down at your side, elbow bent at a 90 degree angle, with your hand positioned as if gripping the string of a helium balloon), Smith called us to task. Throughout the hike, Smith gave the wolves orders, sent wolves on hunting expeditions, and released those wolves who did not behave. After the hike, Smith helped the wolves into the back of the car, and they have been there ever since.

Next . . . how do I put this . . . Smith began referring to his brain in the third person. For example, we were walking into Blockbuster, and there was a poster for the movie "Wild Hogs" on the front window. Smith explains to me, "Dad, wild hogs are motorcycles, not pigs." Impressed, I ask, "How did you know that?" Smith explains, "My brain told me." "How did your brain do that?" I wondered. "My brain tells me lost of things." Then just yesterday, Smith drew an excellent depiction of "Brown rabbit alien that is nice, not mean." When I asked how he knew what a rabbit alien looked like, he explained, "My brain told me. Brain tells me everything. Brain tells me to drink some orange juice. Dad, can you get brain and me some orange juice?"

Finally, Smith regularly plays with imaginary teenage mutant ninja turtles. For those who have had the pleasure of learning the finer points of the ninja turtle lifestyle, you know that ninja turtles live in the sewer. Smith is very keen to this fact. Somehow, he has interpreted the ninja turtles sewer dwelling to mean that ninja turtles deserve preferential treatment in the bathroom. Confused? Well, when I take Smith into the bathroom, and the ninja turtles are accompanying us, Smith opens the lid, and says, "Okay, first, its the orange guy." Then he waits about 15 seconds, and says, "Now its blue's turn," and on he goes until the red and purple ninja turtles have also had their turn. But not until the ninja turtles have each had their turn at the toilette will Smith acquiesce and finally just go.

Friday, September 21, 2007

It's too early for the "birds and the bees" discussion, but. . .

Smith: Dad, do you have a band-aid on your belly-button?

Me: No.

Smith: I do.

Me: Really? Did you hurt yourself?

Smith: No, I cut a hole in my stomach to see all the babies. And Laine was in there.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Terrifying words from a three-year-old with arms too short to reach his bottom

Setting: It is 6:45 p.m. in Superior, Colorado, Dad has just gotten home from work, and the entire family is rushing out the house for a 7:00 appointment.

Whitley: Smith, do you need to go potty before we leave?
Smith: No. I already went poop.
Whitley: What? When?
Smith: This day . . . in the morning time.
Whitley: Who wiped you?
Smith: I did.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Irrational Rage

When I came home from work yesterday, Smitty was completely exhausted from a sun-baked day at the pool. The moment I saw him, I knew he was on the brink of collapse--and his state-of-being was bringing our home to an emotional boil. It was when I heard Whitley say something about retrieving her .22 and rubber gloves that it occurred to me to take Smith upstairs with me while I changed.

As is my routine, I changed into shorts and a t-shirt and headed for the bathroom with Smith yapping at my heals. I raised the lid of the toilet and saw that Smith hadn't flushed his no. 1 from earlier in the day. No biggie. I've seen him do this; in the bathroom I can tell he is thinking that he can't waste time on frivolities like flushing the toilet, especially when he is building the biggest Lego tower in the world in his room. Nevertheless, I yelled to him, "Smith, you forgot to flush! Next time, remember to flush!" And then I went no. 1. And then Smith exploded.


And that was the end of Smith's day. Bed time.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


How should I put this . . . in our family, we are not comfortable saying the "P word." Heck, I refuse to even type it. So instead of teaching our children the actual names for their body parts, we have resorted to awkward monikers. In our family, we have done this by changing the word "private" from an adjective to a noun. Get it?

A few nights ago, I was reading to Smith at bedtime. We were reading "Where the Wild Things Are," which surprisingly, he doesn't really like. One would think that a kid like Smith would relate to Max and get into bossing around huge monsters, but for some reason, Smith has never really liked it. Anyway, for some reason, he chose it that night. We read about Max refusing to eat dinner, being sent to his room and his room turning into a jungle. Then, I read the following line to Smith, ". . . and an ocean tumbled by with a private boat for Max and he sailed off through day and night."

Smith blurts out, "What the . . . Dad, what is a private boat?" I don't understand why he is confused, and I quickly say, "Smith, it's a boat just for Max." Smith has an unsatisfied look on his face. "What?" he asks, and repeats the question. "A private boat Dad . . . what is a private boat?" I still don't get it. I turn and look at him face-to-face. "Smith, a private boat is a boat just for Max. It is a private boat." But as I say the words, I realize what is going on.

Smith contemplates my answer. Then, he says, "Yeah, my private is a boat too. This is so cool. . . . Dad, my private boat is sooo fast."

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Bug bite

I came home from work the other day and tout de suite went about the usual routine of kicking off my shoes, untucking my shirt and bracing myself for immediate impact from a charging Smith . . . when I noticed something. Smith's right ear was about twice the size as his left. Not his entire ear, but the top of his ear was red and had ballooned like Martin Short in "Pure Luck," Will Smith in "Hitch" or that guy's pierced tongue in "Rat Race."

"Woah! Smith!" I said, "What the heck happened to your ear?"

Smith immediately lowered his head and covered the offending ear with his hand, hiding it from my view. "It got swallowed."

"What?" I asked.

"It got swallowed dad. A bug bit my ear, and swallowed it."

(Moment of stupor)

"Whit, what happened to Smith's ear?" I needed a second opinion. "A bug bit his ear, and now it is swollen," said my disturbingly indifferent wife.


Seriously, life must be so confusing for three-year-olds.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

He's Back!

Getting into the van:

Me: "Hey Smith, are you going to climb up into the car on my side or on yours?"

Smith: "Up yours, dad."

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Gospel Q&A with Smith

Smith's primary teacher found me after church one day and told me about the answers Smith gave that day in class. (Before I continue, let me just say that this was not the first time this woman has come searching for me. Once, she stopped me after church and said that while the children were trying to practice some songs for the Mother's Day program, Smith decided that he did not want to participate, so he put his fingers in his ears, and began yelling, "LA-LA-LA-LA-LA!!! She wanted me to "address the issue" with my son.) The first three Q&A's were related to me by Smith's primary teacher. The fourth is from something Smith said to Whitley today.

Q: Who lived in the Garden of Eden?
A: My dad and Eve.

Q: Who did Noah bring on the Ark?
A: All kinds of animals, and two Santa Clauses.

Q: Who gave you your body?
A: Not Jesus. It wasn't Jesus.

Q: What is your favorite primary song?
A: "I Am a Giant of God"

Monday, May 21, 2007

A New Low

A while back, we were driving to a favorite restaurant, when we passed a Ford dealership. Smith saw the Ford insignia and said, "Dad, there is American Idol!" Oh, the shame.

I promise we don't watch that show . . . much.

Steel Trap

On Saturday, Smith and I were at Sports Clips to get him a haircut. The only book they had in the waiting area was a Sports Illustrated NFL 50th Anniversary picture book. We opened it up to a picture of Peyton Manning. Smith saw the helmet and said, "Hey, I know them. It's the horsey team! But I wanted the Bears to win."

In case you forgot, the Colts beat the Bears in Super Bowl XLI, 29 to 17.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Deep Thoughts

This morning, within 15 minutes of waking up, Smith uttered three deep, profound thoughts:

Thought One: "Dad, when we go camping, let's get a tent that has robot fingers and big tires."

Thought Two: While Smith and I sauntered along the sidewalk (yes, we were the first ones at the park that morning at circa 7:15 a.m.), Smith asked, "Dad, what is that!" It was a huge bird poop on the sidewalk. "Bird poop? Wow . . . I love bird poop. . . ."

Thought Three: "Dad, can you lift that tree up over your head? No? Shrek can."

Monday, May 14, 2007

Never Talk to Strangers

We own a children's book entitled, "Never Talk to Strangers." As you would guess, it teaches kids not to talk to, or go with strangers, even if the stranger appears fun or nice, or invites the child to do fun things. I think Smith has learned the letter-but not the spirit-of this lesson.

Friday night we went to a barbecue at a friend's house, located adjacent to a large public park with a playground. At one point, Smith, along with a slew of other kids, went to the playground with the father of our friend. Twenty-or-so minutes later, I realized I hadn't heard Smith's uncanny shrieks and shrills for a while (an unusual occurrence), so I decided to go and check on him. Smith was just fine, and was being pushed in the swing by our friend's father.

When I approached to relieve him, he told me that Smith had gone up to every other parent at the park (there were about 15), tugged on their finger or shorts, and asked, "Can you swing me, or are you a stranger?" According to our friend's father, none of the parents knew how to respond. They said things like, "Where is your mommy?" or, "Well, I am a stranger, but I'm a nice stranger."

I wonder if the children's book, "Never Invite Strangers to Play" has been written yet. . . .

Taking Notes

A while back, I was watching something on tv (probably Sportscenter or MSNBC) and Smith said something like, "Dad, this is a very interesting show. I need to take notes." He went to the kitchen and found a small pocket-sized notebook and pen. He returned to the family room, pushed his red rocking chair up to the coffee table, sat down, opened his book and assumed note-taking position with his pen. He watched the show for a few moments, until something struck him, causing him to put pen to paper and begin writing, carefully and deliberately. As he wrote, he slowly spoke the few letters for which he knows the names: "A . . . E . . . S . . . O . . . S . . . I . . . O . . . M . . . O . . . ." What he produced appears below.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Quel chanteur!

Here is a movie of Smitty showing off his singing skills.

Fertilizer Anyone?

Last weekend, we were in Salt Lake City for a wedding. On Saturday night, one of Whitley's friends invited us, along with a bunch of other people over for a barbecue. There were oodles of kids wriggling around the yard, screaming, shouting, crying, laughing, fighting, etc. At one point, Smith became so overcome with excitement that he had an accident, of the second variety. In other words, he did a little poop in his pants.

Whitley's friend's husband thought of a way to remedy the situation without ruining the fun. He brought out the Super Soaker Water Volcano. The idea is simple: you plug a hose into the volcano, pressure builds and builds as the volcano's eyes get wider and wider, and then, the volcano erupts, blasting water over 15 feet in the air.

Once the Water Volcano was unveiled, it took Smith about two seconds to get completely naked. We dared Smith to sit down on the volcano, which he did, only a little hesitantly. I bet you can imagine the rest. A mutually beneficial outcome resulted: clean bum on the ride home for us, fertilized lawn for them.

Monday, April 23, 2007

One good laugh

This movie doesn't really do it justice, but during the recital, Smith was able to get one good laugh out of the crowd. During one of the songs called, "Dance as Fast as You Want to," the vocalist says, "Now freeze like a statue!" Because Smith is absolutely incapable of standing still, he shouted out, "I am a walking statue!" after which, he stiffly shuffled across the stage, which induced a few laughs. After Smith's walking statue impersonation, there is about 15 seconds of the kids jumping around on stage.

First recital

On Saturday night, Smith's preschool held a fundraiser and a recital. I used to wonder why parents and grandparents are so awestruck by seeing their kids on stage . . . but I wonder no more. It was hilarious. Since Saturday, I have caught myself in the middle of the day thinking about those kids on stage, and have started laughing out loud. Here are some highlights:

I can assure you that Smith and his buddy Jimmy were singing as loudly as it appears.

Three very proud and handsome little dudes.

Here, Smith warmly offers Jimmy some singing tips. Okay, I am kidding; Smith and Jimmy just weren't very good and keeping their hands to themselves.

I am not quite sure what Smith was up to here.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Translation: More Vocabulary

1. Because
2. What did you say?
3. Champion
4. Computer
5. Vlasic pickle
6. Humongous
7. Cartoon network
8. Pretend
9. Pretty please
10. Hawaii

We Should Be Ashamed

Tonight, we ate Whitley's famous white bean chili for dinner. Yum. As usual, Smith had a hard time focusing on his food. Although we goaded and prodded him, Smith only managed to eat a couple handfuls of corn chips by the time Whitley and I reached the bottom of our bowls. Then, inspiration struck my wife.

Whitley put down her spoon and turned to Smith. "Smith, I want to tell you a secret about beans. They make you toot." Smith froze. His eyes widened, and a smile began to form on his face. I saw an opportunity. "You know Smith, I ate all my beans, and my toots are going to be a lot bigger than yours tonight." In case you have missed it, Smith has a competitive streak unsurpassed by any three-year-old in history. "And unless you finish your chili," I continued, "your toots won't be as loud or big as mine."

And that was all it took. Smith grabbed his spoon with conviction and dug in. He ate his chili in heaping spoonfuls, cramming his mouth with beans until sauce dribbled down his chin. After every few bites, Smith stood up on the couch, clenched his fists, flared his nostrils, and flexed his tooting muscles. "Watch this," he dared me. Right then I thought to myself, "this is parenting at its finest."

Just a Joke

Smith has many strengths. Compliantly brushing his teeth is not one of them. Even though it is part of the nightly routine and he must know it is coming, more times than not Smith ardently resists brushing his teeth. A few nights ago, it was getting to be that time, so I took Smith by the hand and we made the long walk up the stairs to the bathroom. Smith turned to me and said, "Dad, can we brush teeth first?" I should have immediately known something was wrong.

We got to the bathroom, situated ourselves next to the sink, and procured Smith's teeth brushing implements: a Spiderman toothbrush and the Superman sparkle toothpaste. Smith said, "Dad, this time I want LOTS of toothpaste on it." "Well, okay," I said, dumbly. I generously lathered the toothbrush. Then Smith said, "Dad, this time I want to do it by myself. You go sit over there." "Well, okay," I said, dumbly, again. I went and sat on the edge of the bath tub. Smith grinned from ear to ear. He put the toothbrush in his mouth, and began brushing, and he began laughing. He brushed faster and faster, while laughing harder, and harder, until his mouth, cheeks and chin were covered with blue foam. Then, he took the toothbrush out of his mouth, cocked his arm back, and rifled the toothbrush at me hitting me squarely on the forehead. Used, frothy toothpaste splattered across my shirt and face. It was one of those moments when my temperament changed from calm and ordinary to a jaw clenching, teeth-gritting fury in an instant. And Smith was laughing hysterically.

I was about to open my mouth and let the rage erupt, but Smith interrupted. "Dad, Dad, Dad, wait. I've got to tell you something. It was just a joke."


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

"Monsters and Boys" by Smith

Once there was a little boy and he found a yellow monster, and he didn't eat him up.

Then there was another boy who didn't have a name. Then there was a monster.

Then there was another boy and he was walking in water, but not mud water.

Once there was another boy who was walking, walking in the mud water because there was a monster.

There was a caterpillar monster and another boy.

This is a monster. This is a boy.

Once there was a monster and a boy walking on a big snake (that wasn't real) and a mean monster.

Trick or treat. There was a boy and he was hanging upside down.

There were two monsters. There was a little boy walking in sinking water mud. He hopped out and there were two monsters.

These are bug boys. Once there [was] a bug boy who was flying who ate a worm. And he chomped and chewed, and there was a lighthouse.


Sunday, April 8, 2007

More Vocabulary

1. Uhcuz
2. What you said?
3. Champylin
4. Pewter
5. Blasick
6. A mungus
7. Cartoon neck wurt
8. Fortend
9. Prilly please
10. Why-eee

First Signs of Easter

Whitley: Smith, did the easter bunny come this morning?

Smith: Yes, he did!

Whitley: You haven't gone downstairs to look yet, so how do you know?

Smith: Because we got new haircuts, and I am wearing clean underwear.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

I Think He Is Mocking Us . . . .

Part One
Smith: Dad, she is such a butt. Oh, sorry Dad, I said butt. I'll stop saying butt.
Me: Okay, Smith, just stop.
Smith: I know Dad. No more saying butt.
Me: Fine, Smith.
Smith: Right, no more butt.

Part Two
Smith: Dad, I just went to the bathroom, but I don't need to wash my hands because I didn't touch my wiener. Uh oh . . . I just said wiener.
Me: Smith! Where did you learn that???
Smith: I dunno. Is wiener funny?
Me: No!
Smith: Okay Dad, I won't say wiener any more.
Me: Stop!
Smith: Dad, I already stopped saying wiener in the first place!

Part Three
Smith: Oh damn . . . um . . . I didn't just say damn. I'm not saying damn.
Dad: Smith, you are still saying it.
Smith: No, Dad, I don't ever say damn.
Dad: [confounded silence]

UPDATE: Finger Quotes

Whitley, my self-appointed editor, critic, and voice inside my head (thanks Whit!), brought to my attention that Smith began forming finger-quotes at approximately the same time he spent six straight days with his cousin Chase. Chase, for his age group, is officially the world's foremost expert in all things dinosaur. In this vein, Chase adopted what I call the "two-finger T-Rex slash." Chase executes the two-finger T-Rex slash by tucking his elbows tightly into his sides, raising his forearms to imitate the T-Rex's disproportionately short arms, forming claws with his index and middle fingers, and then slashing repeatedly across his victim's torso.

Whitley believes that instead of forming finger quotes, Smith has actually been imitating Chase's two-finger T-Rex slash. According to Whitley, rather than speaking animatedly with his fingers, Smith has actually been pretending to be a dinosaur. I am not convinced-but not because I don't think Smith copies Chase. For example, I attribute the following phrase, which Smith said to me the other day, to cousin Chase: "Dad, I am the dinosaur and you are the meat. [Chomp, chomp, into my stomach.] Now, here comes the blood. . . ."

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Finger Quotes

Last week, I noticed Smith doing finger quotes. That's right "finger quotes." In mid-sentence, Smith raised both hands, formed peace signs with his fingers, looked me right in the eyes, and uttered a phrase while simultaneously bending his fingers. Yes, finger quotes.

Although Smith's keen observation skills allowed him to catch on to the finger quotes phenomenon, Smith failed to master their proper usage. I have seen him use finger quotes in three situations, all incorrect.

1. When he thinks you didn't hear him the first time. (E.g., "Dad, I said I wanted a (open finger quote) QUE-SUH-DEE-UH (close finger quote)."
2. When he is telling a secret. (E.g., In the softest voice Smith can muster, which isn't very soft at all, "(open finger quote) Dad, just take my pull-up off and (fingers still bending and extending) put on my Batman underwear (still going) without Mommy seeing us (close finger quote)."
3. When he experiences extreme excitement. (E.g., "Yes! Dad, we (open finger quote) KILLED (close finger quote) the bad guy!")

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

It's what's for dinner

Smith: Hey Dad, lions need claws. They need claws to get sticks for their dinner.

Me: Sticks for dinner?

Smith: Yes. Lions eat stecks for dinner.

Me: Stecks? Steaks? Lions eat steaks?

Smith: Yes, lions eat steaks.

Me: Where do lions find steaks?

Smith: From the zebra's bum.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Today . . .

Whitley caught Smith with her breast pump suctioned to his chest.

Monday, March 19, 2007


Since Whitley has been staying home from church with Laine, Smith has resisted going to church each Sunday. Yesterday was no different.

I explain to him, "Smith, we go to church on Sundays. That is just the way it is." "No, dad. We don't!" Smith humphs and folds his arms. But I do not relent. "I'm sorry Smith, but that is just what we do on Sundays. We go to church." Exasperated, Smith brings me up to his level. "Dad, we go to church on snowy days and cloudy days, but not on Sun-days. Let's go to the park."

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Yankees and Red Sox

Smith and I were at the park yesterday, and Smith was donning his Yankees hat. Another dad approached the swings with his son. The other dad was wearing a Red Sox hat and sweatshirt. I directed Smith's attention toward him. "Smith, that guy is wearing Red Sox stuff!" Smith scowled, pointed, and yelled at him, "HEY YOU STINKER CRACKER!!!"

Time to move to the monkey bars.

Straight talk about tooting


"Smith, did you toot?"

"Yes, s'cuse me. Dad, do you like to toot?"

"Um . . . if I am in the bathroom, I do."

"Dad, I like to toot everywhere."

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Evolution of Art

It is another ordinary day, another blank page, another random assortment of markers. Smith selects a marker and begins furiously moving his arm, back and forth, pressing as hard as he can. He stops. He realizes he can do more than just dig this marker into the paper until it bleeds through, staining Mom's eggshell white table. He draws two circles. He pauses. A light bulb turns on. "Those are eyes! I can draw eyes!" He adds two small dots as pupils. What is next? A mouth, yes, he draws a mouth. But this is only the beginning."Mom, Dad, I can draw a cat!" He is on to the next blank paper and the next marker. He begins his oeuvre. He begins to draw his cat, and provides verbal play-by-play of each step; "First I draw the eyes, then the mouth, then the head," et cetera. The astute observer will also see whiskers, ears, a tail, fierce claws, and two disjointed legs.
When the work is complete, Smith tilts his head back and rubs his chin, "I think this is a mouse. Squeek! Squeek!"

Thursday, March 8, 2007

TV Channels

Last Thursday, I settled down in front of the TV, turned it to channel nine, and prepared for my weekly ritual of watching "The Office." From the corner of my eye, I saw Smith coming my way. He took one look at the TV and said, "Not NBC! I hate NBC!"

Lucky guess . . . perhaps . . . but he has correctly identified NBC three times since then.

Smith also regularly requests his favorite channel by name, "pbs kids dot org."


In the course of potty-training Smitty, I sometimes resorted to offering him the incentive of a light saber duel . . . if you know what I mean. I now regret this. Each time nature calls, Smith drags me into the bathroom, yelling, "My light saber is going to be BIGGER, MEANER, GREENER, BADDER, and COOLER than yours!" It has been going on for a few months at home, and happened yesterday at sacrament meeting, during what felt like a very quiet moment.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007


"Dad, I want a blasick."


"A bla-sick."

I have no idea what Smith is talking about. Smith perceives as much, and decides to take matters into his own hands. He walks to the fridge, opens the door, and begins excavating. I am as curious as he is determined, so I don't intevene. Finally, Smith attains the outer reaches of the bottom shelf, and hefts out a huge bottle of pickles.

"Dad, I want a blasick." I open the jar, and hand Smith a Vlasic, dill pickle, wrapped in a paper towel. He takes one satisfied bite, and says in a matter-of-fact tone, "Blasicks are juicy and crunchy!"

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Heaven, we have a problem.

In previous posts, I have described how Smith garners some misplaced feelings for Jesus. I am not sure what to do about it.

Smith says our dinner prayer just about every night. He usually does pretty well for about three or four stanzas, and then he'll open his eyes and look to Whitley or me for a cue. Last night, after his usual intro, he looked up at me for help. I said in a prayerful voice, ". . . and please bless Lainey." His brow furrowed. He looked back at me and said, "No. Don't bless Lainey and don't bless Jesus either."

Advice? Anyone?

Deodorant Dive

This morning, Smith was in the tub while I was at the sink getting ready for work. We were engaged in our normal morning banter when I began to put on my deodorant.

"What that does?" Smith blurted, pointing to my armpit. "What does that do." I said, paternally. "What that DOOOO????" "Well," I explained, "It makes it so I'm not stinky." Smith was immediately overcome with ecstasy. "I wanna try it!" I couldn't think of a reason why he shouldn't, so I passed him the deodorant.

Smith reached out and grabbed the deodorant. But instead of directing the deodorant to his armpit, as he had just observed me do, the deodorant changed course to a downward angle, and plunged into the bath water. Exactly what transpired at that point is somewhat unclear. Bath water, you see, becomes milky after bodies have been washed in it. What I can tell you is that my deodorant was aimed in the general direction of Smith's rear end, and that Smith contorted his body into a position reminiscent of a break dancer. There, the deodorant remained for enough time for Smith to apply the deodorant, in generous proportions, to his bum (or so I suppose).

Finished, Smith handed me the deodorant, which was now not only water-logged, but contaminated. The expression on my face must have begged for an explanation, because he surprisingly gave me one: "I just tooted."

Monday, February 26, 2007

Mad at Jesus . . . again.

Grandma Poppie recently stayed with us for two weeks. At some point during her stay, presumably on a Sunday getting ready for church, she told Smith that Sunday was Jesus' day. Smith has not taken kindly to this.

Tonight (like every night), Smith insisted on saying the prayer. He began this prayer like he begins every other:

"Heavenly Father, thank you for the day. Thank you for my family. . . ."

Then he paused. He unfolded his arms, opened his eyes and started yelling. "But not the baby, and not Jesus! It is not Jesus' day, or the baby's day. It is my day! Jesus doesn't have a day!"

Smith might grow up to be an evil dictator. If he does, I'm blaming Poppy.

Marveling at the Power Rangers

Due to the influence of one of Smith's Cleveland friends, Smith unfortunately loves Power Rangers. We don't let him watch it, or play it on the computer, but he regularly pretends to be a Power Ranger. For the uninitiated, the Power Rangers is a TV show adapted from a Japanese program. In the show, the Rangers morph from humans into superheros wearing brightly colored battle suits featuring helmets to pretect their secret identities. In superhero form, Power Rangers fight like ninjas, punching and kicking everything in sight. They are irritating beyond description.

Smith and I often play computer games together and tonight, we were perusing the Disney website looking for new games we may not yet have tried. Accidently, I clicked on the Power Rangers link. Lights began flashing, loud music with a heavy asian beat blared from the speakers, announcing our entry into the Power Ranger portion of the website. Oh no.

I looked at Smith. This was his lucky day. I couldn't go back now. He looked at me with excitement, then turned his head back to the screen. His jaw dropped in wonderment and awe, taking in every flash of light, and every kick, punch and karate chop. "Dad," he said, "I think my mouth is going to fall off."

Sunday, February 25, 2007

At least he is paying attention?

Smith was very attentive today at church. Here are two examples:

1. During the sacrament prayer, he got stuck on the word, "thee." He looked up, turned to me, and asked, "Vee? Dad, what is vee?" I looked at him and enunciated, "Thee. Smith, he is saying thee." He blurted back, "Dee? Vee-Dee? Dad, what is Vee-Dee?" I gave up and tried to divert his attention.

2. I received a calling today. In sacrament meeting, when I was asked to rise for the congregation's sustaining vote, Smith stood up on the bench right along with me. We were in the last row of the chapel. When the congregation raised their hands to sustain me, Smith's hand also shot upward. Then I heard him yell out, "YES!" Heads from every row, all the way to the front of the chapel, turned to look at us. Thanks for the vote of confidence little man.

Lick the Wall

This morning, Smith asked why Mom and Laine were not going to church. I explained, "Laine is a brand new baby and could get sick at church, so she is staying home." Smith replied, "When we get to church I am going to lick the wall so that I can get sick, and can stay home from church."

Video Savant?

A few days back, Smith and I went to Blockbuster. At the checkout counter, he said to me, "Dad, today we are getting a kid show, but not a mommy and daddy show." This was indeed true. We were renting some Scooby Doo movie for him, and nothing for Whitley and me. Then Smith said, "Last time, we got a kid show but not a mommy and daddy show. But the time before that, we got both a Smith show and a mommy and daddy show." I thought about it, and he was right. But I had to think pretty hard, because that was four or five weeks ago.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Big Gulp

Smith and I did some male bonding yesterday. We went to the park, pushed around some rocks and dirt, played baseball, and ate burgers. While devouring in silence, Smith suddenly stopped and said, "Dad, watch this." He seized his chocolate milk and took one big swig, filling his cheeks with liquid. We made eye contact, and then he threw back his head as far as it would go. His chin was directly above his Adam's apple, like a bird when choking down a worm. After a dramatic pause, he swallowed the whole mouthful in one big gulp, emptying the entirety of his mouth. I could see his little Adam's apple slowly and deliberately move up and then down. He slowly lowered his head, looked at me and uttered an exaggerated, "Aaahhh . . . ." Smith then turned to me and said, "I've been practicing that for years."

Monday, February 19, 2007

Got Milk?

"She needs some milk!" Smith exclaims to Whitley and me. "Laine is hungry and needs milk!" I think to myself, "So, he gets it already. There is at least one conversation I won't have to have with him." Smith continues, "She needs milk from Mommy's tummy. Mommy has milk in her abs." Smith points, indicating Mommy's supposed milk-filled abdominal muscles. "I have abs too, see? Dad, do I have milk in my abs?"

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Big Brother

On Friday, Smith became a big brother. His sister Laine was born at 6:06 p.m., weighing in at seven pounds and five ounces, and stretching out to 19 inches long. She is beautiful, sweet, and precious.

For months now, Smith has been calling the baby "Flash" after the superhero. Initially, Whitley and I thought this was because he wanted to name her Flash. Cute, right? Telling this to our friends and family was always good for a cheap, polite laugh.

When we found out the baby was a girl, Smith was with us in the doctor's office. The ultrasound nurse told us the baby was a girl, and Smith was enraged. "It's not a girl! It's a boy! It's FLASH!" After this episode, Whitley and I thought, "Okay, so Smith doesn't just want to name the baby Flash, he actually wants a little brother!" Smith, after all, is captivated with all things masculine (punching, baseball, kicking, trucks, fighting, wrestling, dinosaurs and other various meat-eating entities), so we thought it natural that he would prefer a brother to sister. To avoid conflict, Whitley and I decided to find ways to refer to the baby by gender-neutral appellations. Problem solved.

Flash forward (pun intended).

At approximately 7:00 p.m., on February 16, 2007, Smith arrived at the hospital with his grandma Poppie to meet his baby sibling. I was sitting on the couch across the room from the door, holding Laine. Furtively, Smith peeked around the bed at the bundle of blanket in my arms. "Is it Lainey, or is it Flash?" he said quietly. He inched forward, leaning ahead to try and catch a glimpse of what I was actually holding. "Is it Lainey, or is it Flash?" When Smith arrived at my side, he met his sister for the first time. He looked in at her face. The excitement drained from his face and body. He shoulders dropped. He put his head in his hands. He fell, face forward, onto the couch with a soft weep. Whitley and I discovered that Smith didn't want to just call the baby Flash, nor did he just want a little brother. He explained to us, "It's Lainey. It's not (sniff, sniff) Flash. She can't run fast, and she's not wearing a red costume." He wanted, well, Flash.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Talkin' Baseball

"Hey dad, where's your glub? Oh, there it is. Dad, where is my glub? Oh, right there. Okay. You are Callrado, and I'm the Ankees. See, I'm wearing my Ankees hat. I'm battering up! I'm battering up five times . . . ten times! Dad, don't throw your heater. What's the other kind of ball? Oh yeah, throw your curball. I'm ready! Yeah! I hit it! Now I'm running the bases . . . don't tag me . . . I'm safed!"

Scary Strawberries

Mom: Smith, did you have a bad dream?

Smith: Yeah.

Mom: What was it about?

Smith: Stawberries.

Mom: What?

Smith: There were scary strawberries. And they had spikey things. And they were cutting each other. . . .

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Do you speak Smith?

How proficient is your smit-cabulary?

1. Bideo
2. Movie veeder
3. Pocks pickle
4. Some pin
5. Over dare
6. Wummer woman
7. Moodie (not moody)
8. Miss or Piff
9. Gund
10. W, X, Y and G!

Friday, February 9, 2007


Yesterday, when Whitley dropped Smith off for school, Smith ran over precisely to where he had hidden two prized toy dragons, two days earlier, for safe-keeping. I guess it looked as if he had schemed it for days, which I am sure he had. His teacher said, "Yup, Smith is one of our detail-oriented ones." What an interesting choice of words. Then, when she picked him up a few hours later, a different teacher told Whitley, "he is our most detail-oriented kid." Is "detail-oriented" a preschool teacher code word for problem child?

I must admit, Smith's detail-oriented-ness is not a revelation to me. Smith has always a bit, shall I say, persnickety. Since he was a one year-old, he has played with his matchbox cars by lining them in laser-straight rows. At bedtime, he makes me read the copyright and title pages of each book we read. And he has a bathroom ritual (which I won't describe in detail) reminiscent of a superstitious baseball player's sequence of gestures and maneuvers performed each time it's his turn to bat.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Polyester pleasures

Smitty got a new sleeping bag yesterday. It is made out some splendidly silky, polyester material that is very slick when slid on carpet, especially with a body inside (perhaps you can see where I am going with this).

Last night, from 7:00 until 8:00, I took Smith to the top of the carpeted stairs, put him into the bottom of the sleeping bag, closed off the top of the bag with my fist, and then ran down the stairs as fast as I could, as Smith bobbed and thudded behind. Some thuds caused Whitley to croon her head around the corner to make sure all Smith's teeth were still in order. Each time we reached the bottom, I heard Smitty's shrieking, wheezing laugh. As soon as he could catch his breath, he would scream, again!

This continued until he laughed so hard, he peed his pants.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Today's Headlines

"Hey Smith! What did you do today?"

"I went to school. And I went to the park. And I went pee in my pants."

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Potty Talk

Whitley is eight months and 23 days pregnant. Approximately 184 times per day, her body is contorted in unnatural ways. To cope, she often is forced to hunch over or curl up, grab her knees and moan for extended periods of time. This morning, she was thus suffering in the bathroom. Smith was outside the bathroom door and could hear his mom in agony. Smith consolingly said to his mom, "It will be okay mom. Just push really hard with your stomach. Pretty soon, it won't hurt to go poo."

Never let it be said that I failed to teach my child anything of use.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Mad at Jesus

Yesterday at 11:10 a.m., I was holding Smitty in the church's foyer. Per usual, we were late. Smith had just been asking strangers to write their names on a piece of paper, when out of the blue, he crossly said, "Jesus doesn't decide, I DO!" And again, "Jesus doesn't decide!"


So I asked him, "What are you talking about?"

"I am (pregnant pause) angry with Jesus . . . . I want a boy baby," Smith muttered. "I decide, not Jesus."

I later discovered that Whitley had told Smith that Jesus decides whether a baby comes out as a boy or a girl. Way to go Whit. Now our son is mad at Jesus.

spreading the smitty word