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Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Papaya
When our son Daniel was a year old, we went on a cruise. Daniel loved fruit of any kind. If our Portugese waiter served any kind of fruit, chances were I wouldn't get any of it. One evening, Angelo gave me a small dish of papaya slicess. I promptly gave it to Daniel so I could eat my own dinner. I'd only managed a few bites before he was done with his papaya and wanted more. I asked Angelo for another dish of it, as my son had eaten mine. Angelo looked surprised, but brought me a second. Naturally, Daniel ate that too.

When I asked for a third, Angelo looked a little shocked, but without protest, he brought a third dish. It was only then that I took my first bite of papaya, and discovered that it had been dipped in RUM!! And my one-year old son had delightedly chowed down on two dishes of it. No wonder Angelo was surprised!

Daniel slept very, very well that night. Naturally, we taste-tested everything else before giving it to him. Despite his early cravings (whether for papaya or for rum) he grew up just fine, and is actually graduating from college next month. So at least my moment of heedlessness didn't scar him for life.
posted by Jeanette Cottrell @ 4:26 PM   0 comments
Sunday, April 09, 2006
Drawbridges

Speaking of tradition—my oldest son, Daniel, has one that he and his friends have observed every Christmas for years. He and his friends pile into Ryan's basement for a 24 hour period to play computer games. Ryan's sister, they declared, was a nuisance, so blocking her from the basement became part of the tradition.

Mind you, all of these young men are in their twenties, and Ryan's sister moved out of the house a long time ago. But it wouldn't be a tradition if it didn't persist.

As years went by the plans for blocking her, but not her mother (who had the cookies, after all), became more and more elaborate. This year, in addition to the required draperies of blankets, and secret knocks, Daniel designed a drawbridge. This involved an old screen door, pulleys, and counterweights of two-liter pop bottles filled with water. The 'secret' way to open the drawbridge was to tap gently on a particular spot, helpfully labelled 'tap here'. How this deters the sister, I don't know, as she's been able to read for over fifteen years.

Daniel, being Daniel, developed official blueprints for the design before he came from college. He demonstrated it to his father and me in academic-Daniel fashion. He'd discovered a design flaw which irritated him considerably.

"Well, you see, I guessed that coefficient of friction between metal and string was 0.2." He shook his head in disgust. "It's probably closer to .25."

I had no idea what he was talking about, but I'm a mother, I tried. Comfortingly, I told him that I would've made the same mistake. After all, wouldn't you?

posted by Jeanette Cottrell @ 1:17 PM   0 comments
Saturday, April 01, 2006
My son, who plays with sharp objects.
It's wonderful having a son who's into martial arts, especially if you're a writer. Last night, I was stymied while writing a troublesome fight scene. Then my son Kevin happened to walk into the living room.

"Honey," I said, "let's say a monster appeared behind you, and wrapped its tentacle around your throat. What would you do?"

Kevin stopped, one foot frozen in mid-air. I don't know what he'd been planning to do, but he discarded it instantly, as he always does to the questions like these. What boy wouldn't?

"Do I have chain mail on, or armor?"

"Just a gorget, and leather armor. But you're a good fighter."

"Oh. Well, I'd grab my sword--"

"No sword. And you have to die at the end."

"Well, then, I'd grab my dagger, and spike up behind me like this . . ."

In no time, he'd fleshed out quite an involved battle, ending with a backflip off the castle wall, all of which he managed to demonstrate. --In spite of the fact that our living room doesn't have a castle wall.

"Great honey. Could you do it again in slow motion?"

Unfortunately, as fights involve more than one person, he can't always do the choreography on his own. I have to keep reminding him not to hurt his mother. Once he moves out, I'm going to have a really rough time. Thank heavens for unlimited phone calls between family members!

Jeanette
posted by Jeanette Cottrell @ 3:29 PM   1 comments
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