Parental Blather, 6/14/2005
Posted on June 14, 2005 Posted by John Scalzi 14 Comments
Not as if anyone really has any doubts as to whether Athena is really my kid or not, because oh my God, she’s so like me, but even so, allow me to present another bit of evidence:
Yes, I’m tickled pink about this particular award. And if I’m correct about this, I do think this story had at least a little to do with it (but not, I should note, my entirely fatuous commentary on it).
Not that I’m expecting Athena to follow in my footsteps, mind you (I think she’d prefer to make her own footsteps, and in any event, she’s only six), but she does enjoy making stories, and at one point she told me and her mom she wanted to be a writer when she grew up. Of course, the week before that she wanted to be a fire fighter and the week after she wanted to run a hot dog stand, so by all means, let’s keep this in perspective. It’s still neat, though.
I’ll share an amusing Athena story with you from yesterday. Athena and I are out on the swings and she starts to whine about something.
Me: Don’t whine. You know we hate it when you whine.
Athena: Yeah, I know.
Me: Well, if you know we hate it, then why do you do it?
Athena (shrugs): Short-term memory loss?
See, this is where my mother would have whacked me upside the head for being a smartass. But I just think it’s funny as Hell.
When you laughed, I’ll bet she stopped whining and laughed with you. Am I right?
Yeah. She knows I find her amusing.
Once, when my son was three and still talking in sentence fragments, we took a weekend trip to Ashland to let him experience SNOW. He doddled as we left a restaurant one evening. I told him, “Hurry up and get into the car before you freeze your ass off.” His reply: “Freeze your penis off!” followed by hysterical screaming laughter.
That’s my son. Barely verbal, but he knew the word ‘penis’, and could use it appropriately in a snappy come-back.
That’s pretty clever. The best my Lily can do when I upbraid her for something is to huff and say “Very well, fa-THER.” I suspect her future lies in acting, not writing.
Yesterday I had my family signing signature strips for passports. You have to sign in a little box with a blue border, and if you touch the border even a tiny bit, they will reject it. It took my wife three tries to do it without touching the border. My eleven year old son did it first try, then turned to his mother and said, “in your face!”
Awwww. That’s so awesome. I love seeing kids express themselves like that.
My friend’s daughter is almost three years old, and she can not only read, she can start up a Linux GUI on her machine. She also likes to play Quake, which she calls “Daddy’s game”. She first saw my friend playing it and wanted to play too. Daddy also makes video games, and he worked on Mercenaries, so that’s also “Daddy’s game.” She went to go play Mist, since her parents were trying to broaden her gaming horizons a bit, but she didn’t like it nearly as much as Quake because you couldn’t rocket jump, or well, even jump at all. She spends a lot of time in her paint program too, so who knows…maybe she’ll become a game developer like her dad.
The story that my family likes to tell regarding my precocity/smartass-ness goes thusly: I am four, and Dad is making up a story for me. He tells me about how he was riding on a train, and a bank robber boards the train and yells, “Give me all your money or I’ll blow your brains out.” And I look up at him and very seriously say, “But he can’t do that, Daddy. You haven’t got any brains.”
Is Hell capitalized in funny as hell? I say no.
My “I was a smartass kid” story involves a set of Crayola marker pens. There were 8 of them, and it was possible to stack them end-to-end. When my mother gave them to me, she told me “Don’t draw on the walls or the floor.” Being a smartass kid, I immediately stacked them end-to-end and drew a series of 8 parallel lines on the ceiling, one in each color. When my mother discovered this, I defended myself by saying “You never told me not to draw on the ceiling.”
My mother, bless her, acknowledged the truth of my defense and let me get away with it. I think this explains a lot about how I turned out as an adult.
that’s wonderful! you must be so proud.
Of course what she probably will say later is, “Dad, it’s not all about you.”
“at one point she told me and her mom she wanted to be a writer when she grew up.”
So, she’s not really that much like you, John. I mean, not if she’s planning on growing up.
Hey! I grew up!
That’s because it IS funny as hell. Just in case you were wondering.
Plus, I’m calling bullshit on the not expecting Athena to follow in your footsteps. I’m a writer, married to a writer whose three brothers are also writers, etc., etc., etc. And hell YEAH I’m expecting at least one of my kids to follow in that direction, probably my 7-year-old daughter, because she’s the too-verbal-for-my-own-good kid. However, I should note that she has not yet won herself a creative writing award. Hmmm…I think I need to go beat her a bit. After all, why have kids if they’re not going to fulfill all your fondest dreams? (Kidding, KIDDING.)
Smartass kid story (busting on my sis’s kid):
Magnolia was 5 or so when her mom (my sis) married Russ (not Mags’ bio-dad – relevent too this story only in that Mags calls him Russ and not Dad). Sis and Russ were, like most lovebirds, pretty hot and heavy and as a result, sis was (very) preggers when she and Russ got married (that one was Russ’) and after Hannah was born they decided that two kids was plenty.
However, when sis went in for her final checkup before getting her tubes tied she found out, to her dismay, that she was (yes) pregnant, again, much to the amusement of the family.
During one combined family get-together, during which the pregnancy was being discussed and sis was being chided about her state of obvious amour, Magnolia (being all of 6-ish by now and precocious like all the girl-childs in this family) took the opportunity of a momentary lull in the conversation to comment with drop-dead perfect timing and deadpan delivery, “Well, if Russ would’ve slept with his pants on, we wouldn’t have this problem.”
After which bombshell, I believe, several family members had to be hospitalized for busted ribs and hernias from laughing so hard.
Like myself and some other family members, Mags is definitely carrying the family’s entertainer genes.