- 14:28 4-yr-old epistemology: "Some people don't believe in Rudolph. I DO believe in Rudolph, but I CAN'T believe he has a red nose."
A multimedia extravaganza starring Zeke (born January 2005) and his little sister Talia (born December 2006), lovingly put together by their father!
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Posted 2:55 PM
A few days ago, I overheard the following discussion between Zeke and his best friend K. We were all in the car.
K.: I wish I could have my sister's bed. I want to have my own room and sleep in my own bed. But I also want my mommy to be there with me so I can hug her in the night.
Z.: Hm. Well, you could dream something up. You could (pause) ... you could build a ramp. And if in the night you felt like you wanted a hug, you could (pause) ... you could walk on the ramp and go into your mommy's room and get a hug.
Tonight Zeke was asking me about why some big trucks have bunks above their cabs. I explained that it was so the drivers could sleep if they were taking long trips. He then wanted to know how the trucks kept driving while their drivers slept. I explained that they didn't. He was, it seems, thinking about the image of a driver climbing up into a bunk above the cab of his truck and looking out those little windows. He thought for a minute and then remarked:
Daddy -- wouldn't it be funny if there was a window in your head, and you could climb up into your head and look out the window? And then your head would be bouncing around with you in it.
Zeke was in fine form at bedtime tonight. He asked me a series of questions, more or less as follows:
We were driving home after nightfall, and I made some comment about
how we were driving through the dark and it was kind of spooky. Zeke
asked if we wanted him to tell a scary story. Talia and I said yes.
His voice got really low and he began reciting a long, incantatory,
ex tempore poem. All I remember is this:
Storm clouds! Skeletons! And ghost deers!That's it.
Point a rock and throw you dead.
Broke you to a flaming
Posted 9:06 PM
Well, the annual Dogwood Festival has come and gone, which was a lot of excitement for everyone. Zeke actually stood on the porch, pointed to the rides as they began to set up, and -- being too excited even to form words -- let loose shrieks of pure joy and anticipation. In other news, Talia fell down on the front stairs and knocked two of her front teeth loose. One of them now seems to be turning black, which I guess means the nerve is dead, but so far it doesn't look like it's going to fall out. We're waiting to hear from the dentist.
A couple of recent favorites:
On radical hair:
K. (from next door): Does my hair look radical?
Z.: What does "radical" mean?
K.: It means all messy.
Z.: No, your hair doesn't look radical. It looks like a girl's hair. Kind of... (pointing towards his shoulders) down.
K.: Oh. Okay. Good.
Z.: Daddy, are you going to die?I'm still kind of mystified by this one.
Me: Well, everything that's alive dies some day. So, yes. Some day I'll die.
Z. (slightly tearful): But I want to stay with you.
Me: Well, hopefully, it won't happen for a very long time. Years and years.
Z.: Well, we die when we tell God we're ready to die. Right?
Me: Uh... who told you that?
Z.: (after a long pause) God.
Me: Um... ah... I see.
Z.: Daddy, why did you hide the cookies?He's got a point, I suppose. Not that he's allergic to anything else, either, as far as we know.
Me: Because I didn't want you to ask me for one. Every time you see cookies, you ask for one.
Z.: That's because I'm not allergic to sweets.
Posted 3:09 PM
Pete Seeger turned 90 on Sunday, May 3, 2009, and a huge birthday celebration was held at Madison Square Garden. Bruce Springsteen was one of the headliners. He had this to say about Pete Seeger's legacy.
As Pete and I traveled to Washington for President Obama's inaugural celebration, he told me the -- he told me the entire story of "We Shall Overcome," how it moved from a labor movement song and, with Pete's inspiration, had been adopted by the civil rights movement.
And that day, as we sang "This Land Is Your Land," I looked at Pete. The first black president of the United States was seated to his right. And I thought of -- I thought of the incredible journey that Pete had taken. You know, my own growing up in the '60s, a town scarred by race rioting, made that moment nearly unbelievable. And Pete had thirty extra years of struggle and real activism on his belt. He was so happy that day. It was like, Pete, you outlasted the bastards, man. You just outlasted them. It was so nice. It was so nice.
At rehearsals the day before, it was freezing. It was like fifteen degrees. And Pete was there, he had his flannel shirt on. I said, "Man, you better wear something besides that flannel shirt!" He says, "Yeah, I've got my long johns on under this thing." I said -- and I asked him, I said, "How do you want to approach 'This Land Is Your Land'?" as it'd be near the end of the show. And all he said was, "Well, I know I want to sing all the verses. You know, I want to sing all the ones that Woody wrote, especially the two that get left out, you know, about private property and the relief office." And I thought, of course, you know, that's what Pete's done his whole life: he sings all the verses all the time, especially the ones that we'd like to leave out of our history as a people, you know?
At some point -- at some point, Pete Seeger decided he'd be a walking, singing reminder of all of America's history. He'd be living archive of America's music and conscience, a testament of the power of song and culture to nudge history along, to push American events towards more humane and justified ends. He would have the audacity and the courage to sing in the voice of the people.
Now, despite Pete's somewhat benign grandfatherly appearance, you know, he is a creature of a stubborn, defiant and nasty optimism. He carries -- inside him, he carries a steely toughness that belies that grandfatherly facade, and it won't let him take a step back from the things he believes in.
At ninety, he remains a stealth dagger through the heart of our country's illusions about itself. Pete Seeger still sings all the verses all the time, and he reminds us of our immense failures, as well as shining a light towards our better angels in the horizon, where the country we've imagined and hold dear, we hope, awaits us. And on top of it, he never wears it on his sleeve.... The song that... Tommy Morello and I are about to sing, I wrote it in the mid-’90s... [I]ts last verse is the beautiful speech that Tom Joad whispers to his mother at the end of The Grapes of Wrath. It says, "Wherever there's a cop beating a guy, wherever a hungry newborn baby cries, wherever there's a fight against the blood and the hatred in the air, look for me, Mom. I'll be there." Well, Pete has always been there.
I’ve roamed and rambled and I followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts
And all around me a voice was sounding
This land was made for you and me.
This land is your land, this land is my land
From California to the New York Island
From the Redwood Forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and me.
In the squares of the city, under shadow of the steeple
At the relief office, I saw my people
As they stood there hungry, I stood there whistling
This land was made for you and me.
A great high wall there tried to stop me
A great big sign there said private property
But on the other side it didn’t say nothing
That side was made for you and me.
Posted 12:43 PM
Zeke wrote his first "book." You can view it below, or if that doesn't work, follow this link. To make the image larger, click in the little rectangle in the top right of the gray viewing box below (or on the linked page).
Zeke's first book (fingerpaint and dictation)
Presumably many of my three or four readers will be familiar with Theodore Geisel, b.k.a. Dr. Seuss, and maybe also his well-known graduation present book, Oh, the Places You'll Go. We have a copy of this lying around and Zeke has taken a liking to it. He has been asking to have it read to him a lot. But yesterday he decided to "read" it to Talia. I didn't get it all down, but here's a reasonable chunk of it.
When you're on earth, it's not much fun.In the original, there are a lot of pages that begin, "Except when it's not," or "Except when you don't," or things like that. Just in case you're wondering. Also, Zeke has suddenly gotten interested in outer space and asks lots of questions about planets. Someone at preschool must have mentioned the fact that Pluto has been demoted to, what is it now, a planetoid or something, because he has been asking me why Pluto used to be a planet and isn't any more. He wants to know if it shrunk.
You're on the outside of the earth. You're done.
Oh, let's go, to the places you'll go.
It's in space. In outer space, you know.
You might catch, or you might score,
On the greatest one of all. One hundred. Or.
Except when it's not, there's a game you can't win.
The photos with the crown are from Talia's birthday. The photos with Zeke and his grandmother are from Christmas. Zeke got a few hand-me-down pink footie pajamas from his friend Carmen and, if he could, would never wear anything else.