Sunday, July 31, 2011

In one week

In one week, my sister, the other half of my heart, is returning from Japan. We'll be in the same time zone for the first time in three years.  

For the past three years, my mind's clock has been set 13 to 14 hours ahead. My breakfast with the kids is her bedtime rodeo with hers. And vice versa. For a while, our standard greeting was "mor'vening, dearie." At any time of my day, I know what part of her day she is in.

I've spent three years and three months without her. Three Christmases. Three New Year's. Three Easters. Three Thanksgivings. Four birthdays -- hers and mine. Two baptisms. 

I've seen her once since she left three years ago. Three years have felt like an eternity, yet gone by quicker than I ever imagined they would. We dropped them off at the airport when they left. My husband told them as we hugged them goodbye, "Well, we'll pick you up here in 2011."  I drove their minivan, which is now our minivan, back to our house, crying the whole way.

My life is so different now than when she left. Danny was 16 months old, as old as my Owen is now. I was just weeks away from getting pregnant with Fiona. We were a family of three back then. Now we are five. 

I've had two babies without her. One of them she's met just once and the other she's never met. I was by her side when her youngest was born. I always assumed she'd be by my side for at least one of my births. I never imagined that I would be navigating my children's early years without her near and without them knowing her and their uncle and their cousins from day one.

I've gotten countless packages of what we affectionately call "Jackie junk," handed-down toys and clothes from older cousins that my kids love and remember that it was Aunt Jackie who sent them.

I've spent sleepless nights with crying babies on the phone with her at my 3 a.m.

I've spent endless days with restless, whiny children longing for the distraction of cousins. She probably has, too.

We've made scores of excited and exasperated phone calls to report milestones in our children's lives: first steps, first words, funny things they've said and done, not so funny things they've said and done, what they're learning, what they're not learning.

We've had scores of phone calls and chats interrupted by crying, fighting, needy children at all hours of the day and night.

She's talked me off the ledge and through potty training my oldest. She's kept me sane through the most sleep-deprived years of my life. Sometimes talking to her was the only thing that got me through the day. She's reminded me to breathe and to rest and to eat something and drink some water and get a shower and, by all means, to go easy on the boy. She's reminded me to trust my instincts.

All from 8,000 miles away. I'm not sure what I think will change when she comes back. When I tell my husband how excited I am that she's coming home, finally, he jokes that now we'll be able to talk every day for free. Oh, wait, thanks to the magic of Vonage and Facebook, we do.

My excitement over her return is tempered with sadness for her. It's never easy to say goodbye to the life you have. She lives in a tropical paradise. She's returning to the Washington, DC, area in the middle of the hottest of summers. She's done an amazing job creating a community for herself. And I know she'll do so again where she lands. I'm so grateful for the women and the families who have been her companions there. I know she's been in good hands. Of course, it's not like it's hard being her companion. She's pretty awesome. She's the best listener and most empathetic, articulate and diplomatic person I know. They're losing a great friend, even as I am getting my sister back, and I hope that their paths cross again one day.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


I skipped a week of Overheard. It's not that no one has said anything funny around here. Believe me, I live with a bunch of chattering monkeys. My 4-year-old couldn't stop talking if his life or my sanity depended on it. So, I'll let you guess at just how sane I am right now.

I can't seem to keep up with everything they say lately. And now that Owen is so mobile and has his own little life going on, my mind is going in three different directions. Most of his little life right now revolves around shoes, actually. He's obsessed with them. He brings me everyone's shoes. So nowadays I eat breakfast with six shoes in my lap. Notice I didn't say "pairs;" he just finds six random shoes whose matches I must later track down. Yet another reason I've not had time for blogging. I'm endlessly hunting down shoes. As if it's not hard enough to get out of the house with three kids.

In other news, we switched the car seats around in the van. Now Owen and Fiona sit on the back bench and Danny now sits behind the driver's seat. He listens to everything we and the radio say. And asks about it. There's usually a running commentary going on in the front seat about the news and the drivers and the weather and whatever else comes up.

It's gonna rain. The weather guy said it, Danny proclaims often. 

Why did you say "That sucks"? he asked one day.
I explained that a company was taking money that didn't belong to them. He made his "I'm going to get them" face and declared: I'm going to get them when I grow up to drive NASCARs. I'll take that money with my car's taker. 

This kid has ideas. Lots of them.

Now I should mention that his NASCAR, in his 4 year old mind, does a lot of things. It transforms, flies, retrieves stolen money, blasts off, shoots bad guys, chases down bad drivers, dumps blueberries on barren trees. It's like a magic car. And every time he mentions his NASCAR, his father mutters "YES" and pumps his fist. His mother winces and worries.

He's even interested now in what his sister will do when she grows up.

Fifi, what are you going to grow up to do something? he asks. His tongue and his brain can't keep up with each other.

We think she's going to be in the circus, actually. Sooner rather than later if I don't sell her to the next one that comes along. Or maybe a stunt woman. She's been hanging and climbing and jumping off everything. At the park this week, her head hit the ground after she jumped from a two foot ledge. Not a peep.

Push me on the swings again, Fiona asks Jim.
There's really nothing in it for me, kid. In his defense, he'd just spent the last 10 minutes pushing her on the swing. And he's right. That is why I hate swings.

There's no crying in handwashing, Jim tells Fiona.
Honey, there's crying in everything 'round here. How has he not noticed this yet?

Do you sit in the sink when you're thirsty? Jim asks me. Fiona was sitting in the sink and when she was caught that way, she said, I'm thirsty.

Danny, that's not nice, I tell him after he pushes his sister into the wall.
It's not? he asks. He actually sounded genuinely surprised.

No, no, I have that stuff in the blue jar to make me not sick, Danny says, pointing to the Vicks Vapor Rub. I was explaining to him why doctor's give shots.

Dad says I don't get the Kitty Hello Band-Aid. Actually, it's the Hello Kitty Band-Aid. His inversion of what we say explains quite a bit.

You guys are going on vacation, Jim tells them as we load them up for a night at Nana's.
What's vacation? Danny asks. Good question, kid. We haven't had a vacation now in at least two summers.
It's when you go swimming and sleep somewhere else.

What's Disney World? Danny asks while we're doing a puzzle. There was a picture of Epcot Center.
It's an amusement park. 
What park is it? 
Disney World. 
What's Disney World? 
It's a park in Florida. I really don't want him to know much about it, actually. 
Oh. We've got to talk about it differently. Oh, all right. So I told him about Space Mountain and Mickey Mouse. 

Oh, Danny, please stop asking questions, I tell him after a long day of questioning. I'm interrogated all day long.
No, I have to ask questions. 
I don't have any more answers.
But you have to have answers. 
But why? 
Because you have to. 
Why? Turning the tables is fun, isn't it?

Don't you lock that door, Fiona, I warn her. And I get the wide-eyed stare. She'd locked us outside a minute earlier.
Mom, she's thinking about it, Danny says.

You need to eat your dinner [before getting a cookie], I tell Fiona.
You eat it for me. So, this is my fault. One of my tactics is to tell the kids that I'll eat their food for them if they don't eat it. It worked on Danny.

I want to see Owen's poop, she tells me. She follows me up every time I change his diaper.
Why? It's gross.
I like Owen's poop. She's so weird.

What's breakable?
It's when something can break. 
You've got to use a different word. You mean I can't define a word with a word anymore?

You've got to pull your pants down first, genius, I tell Fiona. She tried to sit on the potty with her clothes on.
She's a genius, penius, says Danny. He likes to rhyme.
I don't have a penis, Fiona replies.

Have a good weekend.

Monday, July 25, 2011

A woman's real superpower

The controversy of late regarding The Breast Milk Baby makes me suspicious of the critics' underlying feelings about breastfeeding and womanhood.

Critics say the doll is over-sexualizing young girls or forcing girls to grow up too quickly. The company that makes the doll and its supporters say the doll is teaching young girls about a natural part of motherhood. Some critics have said the doll is too graphic. And yet another headline asked "Toy for Pervs or Sex-Ed Tool?" Of course, the doll is neither. And it's a lot less graphic than a gaggle of teen girls in skimpy bikinis.

This $90 doll includes a halter top with strategically placed flowers that allow the girl to breastfeed the doll. The doll even makes noises and mouth motions consistent with suckling.

Of course, breastfeeding their dolls is nothing new to young girls. My daughter does this routinely and, much like breastfeeding itself, there is no need for expensive gadgets to accomplish this. Her 2-year-old imagination and a $10 doll work just fine. Role playing is what my daughter and my son are doing when they imitate breastfeeding or anything else they see around here. It's exactly what they should be doing. It's called the work of childhood.

I suspect, though, that discomfort with the use of breasts for anything but voyeurism is behind this ridiculous criticism. I can tell you, as a mom who has breastfed three children and still is breastfeeding a toddler, that sexual is the very last thing I feel when a child is attached to my chest. What I feel is outgoing love, a sense of calm and confidence and pride in my body's ability to care for my children in this way.

People are so uncomfortable with the motherhood slice of womanhood but are perfectly happy to promote the sexualized version of women. They teach their little girls about the most superficial aspect of womanhood and ignore the most important parts. This is why we have Toddlers in Tiaras and girls dressing like Bratz dolls, princesses and pseudo rock stars. But when a doll comes along that mimics a natural function of a woman's body, people shudder. They would rather see little girls dancing in plastic heels, dolled up like princesses or streetwalkers, than see them taking on an empowering and natural role.

A princess in training is far less intimidating than a girl who is learning to be a woman. One is submissive, taking on a false identity crafted by a patriarchal society; the latter is confidant, taking on an identity born of instinct. And raw instinct that is encouraged rather than squashed is hard to control in a consumerist and patriarchal society. The instinct to feed your baby from your own breasts won't make formula companies any money and the woman who knows the power of her own body is less likely to be submissive.

What I want my daughter to know is that her body is exquisitely designed to grow, birth, nurture and feed another human being. Of course, girls and women do want to look and feel attractive. That is merely one slice of the womanhood pie.

I never felt like a woman until I carried children in my body, gave birth and nurtured and breastfed them. The years I spent wanting children and not having them, even those years before I met my husband, were agonizing. In my twenties, I felt like I was running out of time. After I was married, each month we failed to conceive was met with grief and sorrow in those years when we were waiting for our firstborn. I felt that I was being cheated out of an important part of being a woman.

Whether I buy The Breast Milk Baby or just stick with imaginary play, my daughter will get the message that she can sustain a life. And that is the most powerful and important trait of a woman.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

AiS: Watermelon Slushies

It's been a million degrees outside this past week. We've set some records here. Most consecutive hours  spent exclusively inside in one day. Most cups used in one day. Most water/lemonade/juice spilled in one day. Fastest I've ever seen the girl flush bright red in the outdoors (five minutes!). Closest I've ever come to hurling myself out a window.

Oh, yeah, and the temperatures hit 100 and above for five days in a row. So what do you when it's this hot?

You have a patio party, of course. We got ourselves a little pool at Target and grilled some burgers and dogs and brought out the wooden lounge chairs for the adults. It was a real nice set up. My husband kept saying things like, "Didn't there used to be a huge stump here?" or "Wasn't there a massive hole here [where he dug out the stump]?" Really, the transformation of this area is nothing less than stunning.

And, of course, when it's this hot, you need cold treats, such as slushies.

The Chef, my husband, gets those on the outside. This usually entails late night excursions and goose chases on Saturday afternoon errand runs to find the blue raspberry slushie that matches the one of his childhood memory. He's some kind of slushie connoisseur.

1:30 p.m. and it's shady. Awesome!
We have a blender, dude. And an ice machine that crushes ice. I was sure that I could figure this one out. But since there is no such thing as a blue raspberry in nature, as far as I know, I decided to make slushies that represented my son's favorite color, which is red. Plenty of red fruit in nature, right?

The Chef told me a slushie needs some citrus to achieve that tart flavor he's after. I eyeballed and taste tested this recipe so there are no measurements. But I can tell you that the blender was three-quarters full.

watermelon cubes/pieces
lemonade (I make mine with 1 cup Splenda, 1 cup lemon juice and 8 cups of water. We always have a 5 quart container of the stuff on tap in the fridge.)
crushed ice (add until it's the consistency you like)
a squirt of lemon juice (for added tartness)
About 2 tablespoons of Splenda (to balance out the tartness)

Blend. Taste test and add additional ice, lemon and Splenda until the taste and consistency suits you.

The Chef liked it, but he'll still get his slushies on the outside. The kids and I loved these.

Oh, and one more tip from the Chef -- to avoid brain freeze, eat the slushie in the front of your mouth. I really had no idea ...

(Added more photos of the patio here.)

Monday, July 18, 2011

The view from the patio

coffee and a view
My two biggest fears are that I'll be perceived as a narcissist for seeming to record every fart and belly scratch on a blog and that my children's years with us will slip through my hands undocumented. I seem to be at war with myself. You don't want to be in my head. It's a jungle up there.

I keep this blog as a record of their childhood, my perceptions and feelings about it, our daily lives and what we value. Because in the end, I want our children to know that our family is a place where they are always accepted and loved, as trite as that sounds (another fear of mine), and thereby a soft place to land when the world is rough. I want them to learn what we value and confidently take that into the world with them. We feel that only by being their sole home base in the early years will they learn to be confident in the world. Confidence starts at home. Not in a classroom. Not in a group setting. Not in being properly socialized. In fact, I saw my son's confidence erode when he was in a group setting. He's become so much more confident over the past few months, even in social situations.

One of my other challenges is not to be reactive in how I raise my children. I have lots of opinions about the status quo. I don't believe, for instance, that preschool is necessary. Or even traditional schooling institutions, for that matter. I want to be sure however, that I'm doing what's right for them based on, well, them and not what I don't like in the predominant system of education in this country. I don't want blinders on, but I do. I need to shut the world out to focus on them and what they need. But I also need to take the blinders off to ensure that I see what in this world will benefit them best. I am at war with myself, again. The jungle is quite thick up there.

One of the reasons I write is because I think. A lot. It's actually one of the things I can do that the kids can't touch, disturb (except on those days when I can't really hear myself think), lose, flush down the toilet or otherwise destroy. They can steal my breakfast, but they can't take my mind.

the putting green
I'm not even sure why I chose to start writing this morning. Maybe it's because I'm alone with my laptop and my thoughts on a beautiful patio that my husband built over the weekend. The view is stunning from here. My husband's putting green (yes, he built himself a putting green) and flowers and herbs and my vegetable garden. All my husband's vision. All of it embodies what we value. Hard work, vision, slow and steady progress, doing for ourselves. The restructuring of the side yard was several years in the making. Click here for more photos.

Instead of hiring someone or renting a stump grinder to remove an enormous stump in the way of the new patio, my husband chopped away at it with an axe for a whole year.

Instead of bringing in extra dirt to fill in the raised beds for the vegetable garden, we shoveled in the rich dirt from the previous garden.

Instead of bringing in extra dirt to fill up the holes between the beds, we used the dirt removed from the patio area.

In fact, instead of hiring someone to do it for us, he did it himself and it took over a year to clear and level the area. He did it after a full day's work and on weekends and while doing all that being a father and husband entails.

And, of course, as I wrote those last few lines, I worried that you would think I'm bragging. The jungle is extra thick today. I don't want to brag. I just want to tell you how wonderful my husband is and how much I appreciate the way he thinks. He's the kind of man I want our children to be like.

Friday, July 15, 2011


So, here I am at the end of another week. The kids are at PMO for the morning. I have some time to myself finally to finish up some blog posts, do some editing, clean the house. Clean the house? Just kidding. That's actually what I told my husband I was doing this morning. 

During the week, I often jot down the things they say. And when he asked me what I was writing down, I told him: It's your permanent record.

I think I may have to change the name of my blog to "The Permanent Record," especially since my kids won't likely go to a traditional school and have the traditional permanent record.

Owen had his first sleepover at Nana and PopPop's house. He did great, but did miss his morning snuggle time with mommy.

As for Fiona and Danny, they are either fighting or conspiring. Some of their collaborations have been downright scary.

Guess what your daughter did today?
She went down the stairs in a laundry basket. 
He grinned and asked: How did she do?

Danny loaded her up with a few of his stuffed animals and pushed her down the stairs. There are 14 of them, by the way. No broken bones, this time.

No jumping off the ladder.  The ladder is the only downside to Danny's new loft bed.

I'm trying to fly around in circles.
[deep breath]
Here's a tip: People can't fly. 
No, no, Fi Fi flew in the laundry basket. 

I later found out that she did indeed fly in the laundry basket. My husband spun them around in the laundry basket after bath time one night -- the night I wasn't home, of course.

Dan, I'm going to have to put you on hold, Jim says while we're driving in the van while he and I were trying to talk.

A few minutes later ...

Can I put you on hold? he asks me. Yes, Dan?
We're driving right into a thunder cloud.
Well, why didn't you say so? Were you on hold or something?

I've got to stop that thunderstorm, Danny tells us.
How're you going to do that?
With sticks. Go for it, kid. Just make sure they're not metal, 'kay?

MOM, MOM, THERE'S GEESE. YOU JUST GOT TO LISTEN TO ME, Danny says while I'm trying to talk to Jim in the van.
You know, you can talk to your sister, right? Jim asks. And they didn't talk to us for the rest of the ride. It's as if this never even occurred to him.

Did you just pee in these? I asked, holding up some underpants.
You know we have a toilet, right?
What's a toilet? he asked. Sometimes I don't know if he's joking or not.

Hey, mom, catch. No, thanks Captain Oblivious. I'm DRIVING.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

So long, Sadie

There have been some heavy conversations around here this week. Our neighbor's dog, Sadie, died. She was 12 years old and had bad hips. She was a friendly, sweet black lab who was the neighborhood greeter. Everyone who walked by with their dogs strolled up our neighbor's driveway to visit Sadie. 

Our neighbors put out a sign with a picture of Sadie and a message proclaiming her death and her love for all those who stopped to visit her over the years.

"Why did Sadie die?" Danny wanted to know.

"Well, because her body was old and sick and it couldn't work anymore."

"I know," he says, finger in the air. "We can call Jesus." As if Jesus is on the other end of the Mr. Fix It hotline.

"Well, sometimes Jesus does help fix people who are sick. But other times, he can't fix them and thinks it best that they come to heaven to be with him."

"We can go there," he says.

Oh boy. Luckily, he lost interest when he saw a bird out the window. This is when short attention spans are rather convenient.

Later that day, he wanted to go across the street to see Sadie's sign. I read to him what it said. Among other things, it said that Sadie went to doggie heaven and is chasing squirrels with her perfect hips. He peered behind the sign that also held her collar.

"Is Sadie back there?" he asked.

"Sadie's DEAD," Fiona barks. She's so oblivious.

"No, honey, she's not back there. She went to doggie heaven."

He's got a lot to think about. And so do I. When I told him that sometimes Jesus fixes sick people and sometimes he doesn't, I was so glad he didn't ask why.

I wish that I knew. About two and a half months ago, my uncle died. He was one of my favorite people in the whole world -- a joyful, fun loving person who treated everyone with kindness and dignity. He never made me feel like I was just a kid -- even when I was one. And he had a laugh that would fill a bottomless pit. I loved to hear him laugh. I don't agree with Jesus' decision to not fix his body and let him stay here on Earth. I wish there was an appeals process.

It sounds almost trite to say this, but I know he's up there watching. I just wish it wasn't through one-way glass. I think of him at least once a day when I pour my coffee and dribble a little from the pot. He's up there saying, "You see, Josee, you have to be smarter than the coffee pot."

And I usually say out loud, "Not today."

Monday, July 11, 2011

On any given day

Walking into my house could very well be like walking into an alternate universe some days. To an outsider, much of what goes on around here makes little sense and appears to defy all the so-called rules of parenting. In fact, people have asked me, "Is it okay that the baby is climbing onto the sofa?" or "Is her shirt on backwards?" or "Is that your phone in the dishwasher?" And the answers are, respectively, yes, of course and isn't that where you keep yours?

So on any given day ...

... if the kids are running around with little to no clothes on, it's not that I haven't done laundry in a while. Making clothing optional is just easier than wrestling them, physically or mentally, into clothes.

... if the fridge or freezer door is open and the baby is gnawing on whatever he can get his hands on, it's not that I forgot to feed him. This is just the easiest way to distract him while I cook meals.  And besides the fridge has a built in timer so ...

... if you hear a beep and me, or my little shadow, Fiona, say, "Fridge time is over," then, well, Mommy is about to close the fridge and it's about to get ugly. And loud.

... if the living room looks as if it's been ransacked with sofa cushions strewn about the floor, don't worry, we haven't been robbed. The kids are just working out their energy on our 20 year old sofa set.

... if there are empty food boxes on the kitchen floor, it's not that I'm a slob. My kids enjoy playing with empty boxes, moreso than the toys we have for them, actually. They actually fight over who'll get the empty butter or pasta boxes.

... if my daughter or son are dressed in mismatched and/or backward clothing and you just have to ask about it, I will proudly tell you that my children dress themselves. Yes, she is only 2. No, I don't lay out clothes for either of them. And, no, I'm not the least bit embarrassed by this.

... if my kids are eating frozen vegetables for a snack, it's not that I'm too lazy to cook. My kids think eating frozen vegetables is a treat. (I know, they're weird. But at least they're eating their vegetables.)

... if my kids are playing with a hand-me-down ball tower that's more than a decade old, rather dirty and has been repaired using the lid from a coffee can, don't feel sorry for them. It's their favorite toy and has outlasted dozens of others with bells and whistles. (probably because mommy and daddy banished most of the toys with bells and whistles.)

... if my son is rolling cars down a book propped over a rolled up rug, it's because we're way too cheap to buy him fancy racetracks. Besides, he just ends up using them as weapons.

... if my 1-year-old is running up and down the couch, don't panic. He has never fallen. And I've just given up on the whole no running on the furniture rule. The only place I can actually restrict running is up the walls because it's physically impossible. For now.

Oh, and that phone in the dishwasher? It's actually the decoy phone -- a defunct phone that fools no one but me on a regular basis. The phone the kids are running around with? That's the real one.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Danny vs. the Mosquito

It's 9 p.m. on a Thursday.  The kids are in "bed." Every night at this time, we sit down, sometimes for the first time all day. Every night, we really believe that we're done with the kids.

And then we hear the voices.

I need water. (There's water on your bookshelf.)

I itchy. (I've already put your lotion on. Scratch.)

My nose is running. (Get a tissue from the bathroom.)

I need my car. (No. You don't.)

And this Thursday?

There's a fly on me. There's a fly on me, Danny cries.

Jim throws his head back and sighs loudly, then yells from his chair, "Go to sleep."


Jim goes up and looks around. No fly. Danny is up in his bed swatting at the back of his head. Jim checks for ticks. 

Just relax, Danny, Jim says.

Five minutes later ...


Jim goes back up.

Okay, buddy. I'll stay right here and wait for the fly. What were you doing when he showed up?


Okay, just keep reading. We'll wait.

Five minutes go by. And then, from the corner of his bed, behind his pillow ...


And out came a mosquito and headed straight for the back of the kid's head.

WHAP. Jim tapped the back of Danny's head.

The kid wasn't kidding. 

Thursday, July 07, 2011


My husband and I have barely spoken to each other this week. It's not that we're on the outs with each other. It's that every time one of us speaks, the children drown us out. It's not that they are continuously loud, either. They actually start speaking or babbling shortly after we open our mouths.

And lately, living with Fiona is like having a carnival barker around the house. How loud is she? The only way to convey just how loud she is in writing is to go beyond bold all caps and actually change font size. And the loud gets louder by the end of the sentence.

I ATE YOUR LUNA BAR [PAUSE] ALL GONE, Fiona informs me. And then she laughed.  She had snuck down during "nap time" and helped herself.

Go away, Fiona, I tell her while I'm in the bathroom. I was teasing, actually. I felt that turnabout was fair play. And she actually "got it" because she smirked and said, No.

I'VE GOT TO GO PEE PEE, Fiona hollers as she runs to the bathroom.

Those flowers are sad, dad, Danny remarks about a stand of withered daisies. They're sad and they're looking right at me, he continues. I guess they were at about his eye level.

I spilled my Fresca. Now I need a ginger ale, Danny tells me.
No, dear, you need a rag, I reply.

He chewed the pavement. Ooph.
When you're having trouble walking through the house, it's time to stop and clean up, kids, Jim tells them. Good rule of thumb.

What's up, scarface? Jim greets Owen. The boy took a pretty nasty spill in the driveway this week.

Are you peeing? I caught daughter peeing on Danny's pee pee tree. Her underwear was still on.

Are you trying to pee in that cup? Seriously? Another of Fiona's pee pee experiments.

Are you trying to ride Bob? She had climbed up on his back and wrapped her legs around his body. And she's strong enough to hold on for a few seconds, too.

Don't ride Bob.
Because he's a dog. I was grasping at straws here.
You can ride dogs, Danny informs me.

Don't pull his tail, honey. 
That's part of his body and it can hurt him.
We can just cut it off. Okay, so empathy is not his strong suit yet.

Look at the time, kids. It's 8:15. Way past bedtime, Jim tells the kids.
No, you turn the clock back, Danny tells him.

What's in your pockets, Fiona? Jim asks. She loves pockets.
My hands are in my pockets, she replied. Well, duh, Daddy
Have a great weekend.