7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 27)

— 1 —
This week Daniel and I sat down together, just the two of us, so he could pick the baby photo for his preschool family tree project. There were plenty of pictures, especially since my children consider a “baby” to be anyone who is younger than they are.
We looked at pictures of baby Daniel before we met him in China, and we kept looking through the days when he had first come home and was playing with his big brother. But Daniel quickly settled on two photos—and, even though his teacher just wanted one, he insisted that we had to submit both of them. They were both taken on the day we met him. One you may have seen before on this blog because it doesn’t show his face, but he couldn’t stop talking about the colorful chairs.
The other shows a sleepy, uncertain 20-month-old with his head snuggled on his father’s shoulder. In the photo John is beaming and wearing a red Natty Boh shirt. I am not surprised that Daniel picked this photo. It shows him in his Baba’s arms.
Would I have chosen either of these photos? Not for this project. But they’re perfect. I wonder what Daniel’s classmates’ photos will look like.
— 2 —
We’re closing on our house next week, and I called more than a week ago to schedule phone and Internet installation. Then yesterday I had a sudden realization. I had never called to set up electric service. Neither had John. We won’t have much luck getting online if we don’t have electricity. I wonder what else we’re forgetting.
— 3 —
We’ve had only three nights of kindergarten homework, and I’m already tired of it.
It’s not the quantity. Leo’s adored-and-often-quoted teacher assigns very little. It’s that we get home just in time for dinner, which Grandma has on the table awaiting our arrival. (Why are we moving out?) And Leo is tired. He’s had a long day of school followed by time in his after-care program, and by the time I get to him he has been socializing all day and is ready to eat and play and read books and sleep. And then there’s homework. And with kindergarten homework, the idea is that the parents are supposed to be involved. But we’re all tired. Some of us might even be a bit grumpy. It’s not much fun.
A former-teacher friend tells me I should feel free to send a note some days to explain that it was more important for our son to play or rest or spend time with his family. I am keeping that in my back pocket for the day when we might. But I bet Leo would be appalled.
— 4 —
Halloween is coming, so the costume conversation has begun. Leo wants to be Darth Vader. We’ve always worn handed-down or assembled costumes before, so buying a costume would be a new experience. Still, with our house move this fall, it might be a good year for us to resort to purchased costumes.
So then the dilemma is whether to buy it now and let Leo wear it a million times before Halloween and hope it doesn’t disintegrate or wait a few weeks and realize there are none left to buy.
Daniel can’t decide what he wants to be, but don’t worry. He will be just as excited about his costume as his big brother is. What I don’t know is how our little boy will feel about trick-or-treating alongside a masked Darth Vader.
Trick-or-treating in handed-down costumes in 2012
— 5 —
I bought a new digital camera, and I ordered a lanyard so I can wear it around my neck when we’re out and about. Maybe, just maybe, I won’t drop and break it. As Leo likes to say—and he’ll tell you he’s quoting the Berenstain Bears—“There’s a first time for everything.”
Now I can take more photos like this one.
I was surprised to discover that the camera didn’t come with a cord so I can upload the photos. Does everyone have a card reader now? Am I the last person who uses cords? And why aren’t all the cords the same? Why doesn’t the camera plug directly into the computer’s USB port the way Flip video cameras do? For that matter, why don’t cell phones have plugs on them so they can plug directly into the wall? Or, as a friend suggested the other day, why aren’t they solar-powered so we wouldn’t need to charge them at all?
And do you believe charging a smartphone might use more electricity than running a refrigerator? Yeah, me neither. I’m still reeling from the news that there may never have been a Triceratops.
— 6 —


My sister and her four children came to visit last weekend, and we had all kinds of fun. One of the highlights was when Grandpa pulled out a hose and bucket and invited them to help him wash the cars.
Grandpa ran out of car-washing enthusiasm long before Daniel did, so I’m hoping maybe he can be a professional car washer one day.
“What do you like about washing cars?” I asked him.
“I like getting all messy!” he said.

— 7 —
Especially after seeing Snow White, my boys desperately want to learn to whistle. They think my feeble instructions are hilarious, which I know because they have started giving each other their own whistle lessons.
“Put one hand on the top of your head and your other finger on your chin and spit!” Leo says and they explode into laughter.
“My turn!” Daniel says. “Put your lip here and your other lip there and go ffffft!”
We need some expert advice here. How do you teach a child to whistle?
See more quick takes at Jen’s blog.

Catholic Review

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.