The terrible thing that happened to me
Whose idea WAS this?

Learning along the way

One of the advantages of having multiple children is that the younger ones naturally pick up information from the older ones. When Tre was a toddler I spent careful hours teaching him his colors and numbers and letters and such. By the time Raphael hit that age randomly quizzed him on such things in passing, and was always surprised when he knew the answers.

“Hey, Raphi, what color is your shirt?”

“BLUE, Mama.” (Said in the tone of one who is humoring a very stupid child.)

“Hey, very good.”

“Your shirt is pink.”

“Yeah, thank you, I actually knew that.”

“An’ that cup is yellow.”

“Look it’s not that I didn’t KNOW…never mind.”

Recently one of the boys rented a Bill Nye the Science Guy video from the library. All Tre and Max seem to have gleaned from it is the theme song, which they sing over and over and over and over and…


However, Raphael is learning actual SCIENCE from it, and likes to tell me what’s what. The other day I sat down at the breakfast table. Raphael was enjoying a hardboiled egg. He held up the yolk and intoned seriously,

“This is like the Earth’s cork.”

“What?” I responded intelligently (it was MORNING).

“He means the Earth’s core. The shell of an egg is like the crust, the white is like the mantle, and the yolk is like the core,” Max explained.

“Oh,” I nodded, “I see.” Raphi gestured at me again with the yolk.

“If we were this close to the cork, we would DIE,” he said.

“Because it’s so hot,” Max explained.

“I see,” I repeated.

“So,” Raphael sighed, “I sure can’t eat this.” And he dropped it on my plate.

Today we were driving home from a rollicking visit with some cousins when Raphael piped up from the back seat.

“The dinosaurs lived sixty five million years ago.” The way he said it I could tell he was mimicking a line from somewhere. He repeated for emphasis, “SIXTY FIVE MILLION YEARS AGO.”

“That’s a long time ago,” I agreed, impressed with his knowledge.

“And there are no volcanoes living here.”

“Uh…right. I mean, there are no active volcanoes near us.”

“Because they live with the dinosaurs! Sixty five million years ago!”

I was silent for a moment, trying to figure out the most…accurate response to that.

“Mama? Can we go there? To sixty five million years?”

“Well, no, not really.”


“Yes, so I’ve heard.”

And then, because I didn’t know where to begin on setting him straight, I left him like that, believing that dinosaurs live with volcanoes in a place called sixty five million years ago.

I don’t think that makes me a BAD mom, exactly. I think the thoughts I entertained about threatening to send him there if he doesn’t behave…THAT’S what makes me a bad mom. Rotten to my cork.



It reminds me of an episode of Friends, in which a boyfriend of Monica's says he used to believe that gunpoint was an actual location and wondered why people would go there if they kept getting held up.

Laura GF

Your posts crack me up -- what a great way to start the day. I always look forward to your stories about your boys. Thanks for sharing them with us. You are such a great writer!


Rotten to the cork... Oh. MY. Goodness.

Kira, you are so the next Erma Bombeck. Can I BE you?


You make me look forward to my little girl growing up!


Glad to har Raf has a new reason not to eat egg yolks thank to Bill Nye...he's actually a pretty awessme educator... At a visiting lecture he gave once in the education dept. I have to admit I was thrilled when.....he found my keys! Yup, I left my keys in the auditorium and Bill Nye himself grabed them and came to find me in the lobby. A very nice guy, :)


I absolutely cannot wait for your cork to arrive here, for there is MUCH MERRIMENT to be had and WE NEED YOU.

No, that doesn't have anything to do with this entry, really. But did you know that the dinosaurs live in 65 million years ago? I heard that somewhere.

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