(While eating breakfast, the kids noticed Google is recognising Peter Carl Fabergé’s birthday…)
LR: Peter Carl Fabergé, he turned 166 today! Look at these eggs! They’re beautiful!
RJ: I love that blue one!
LR: I guess he isn’t making them any more.
RJ: Unless he’s a ghost, or a zombie.
LR: I bet he’d hide little brains inside!
RJ: They’d have to be small, like turtle brains or squirrel brains.
LR: RJ! Do you know how small a turtle brain is? They’re tiny. It would have to be squirrels.
RJ: He probably has a squirrel farm where he grows them, then off to the brain factory to get the brains out…
(Later while skipping to school…)
LR & RJ: (chanting together)
Zombie Carl Fabergé,
Couldn’t come outside to play,
All his squirrels ran away,
So he can’t make more eggs today!
(while getting ready for bed)
RJ: Dad. I know what would be the worst thing ever!
Dad: What’s that?
RJ: Being allergic… to yourself! You would try to walk around and then just fall over everywhere. You would just be fainting all the time.
(RJ falls to the floor dramatically and starts flopping about.)
Dad: Yikes! You’re not allergic to yourself are you?
RJ: Nope. I’m not allergic to anything!
Dad: You know, lots of people get red and super itchy and swell up when they’re allergic too.
RJ: Yeah! You’d be puffy and scratching AND fainting all the time and you wouldn’t ever get better!
We’d better watch out for people with red cheeks!
There are some people that say that you don’t choose your pets; your pets choose you. In this case, they may be right.
The morning started fairly normally, breakfast for the kids, lunches being packed, and a somewhat bizarre conversation about how useful it might be to have a magnetron embedded in your robot arm.
Benefits: The ability to quickly prepare hot beverages and to shoot popcorn into your enemies eyes…
We wonder why every robot doesn’t have one…
As pieces of fruit were selected for their lunch boxes, we noticed a rather grim looking pear in the basket. Closer inspection revealed that a family of fruit flies had recently taken up residence. The pear had turned to the dark side. As it began its brief journey to the rubbish bin, RJ spoke up:
RJ: I… Can I have that?
Dad: This? The rotten pear?
RJ: Ummm. Yes? I need it.
Dad: What on earth for?
RJ: I… I want to do an experiment.
(He’s crafty, this one. He knows that science is the ultimate trump card in our family.)
Dad: What kind of experiment?
RJ: Well… I want to breed some some mutant fruit flies.
Dad: And how do you plan to do that?
RJ: First, I need to extract some carrot DNA, and then I’ll feed it to them. And then…
Dad: Hold up! That wont work! I eat banana DNA all the time and I’m not a yellow bellied mutant. Stomachs break down DNA when they digest it.
RJ: Curses! What if I just put it on the eggs? Before they hatch? Before they have stomachs?
Dad: That might just work.
RJ: And then I’ll have mutant orange fruit flies! And I can take over the world!
Dad: Okay. But your evil plans have to wait until you get home from school. You’re still in your pajamas, Dr. Doom.
This is the tale of a lizard, a fairly ordinary garden skink, just 2 or 3 inches long. The lizard had been living a quiet happy life, basking in the sunshine, chewing on the occasional millipede, doing lizardy things with his buddies. He had dreams of a long life filled with sunshine and tasty insects, but there was a problem with his plans. He chose to live out his days in a schoolyard; a schoolyard that included several precocious young children with very quick hands.
On its own this may not have been a problem, but these kids were quite young and not always as aware of their strength as they might be, especially when weighed on the scale of a lizard. One afternoon, the lizard was caught by one of RJ’s friends and as he attempted to wriggle his way to freedom he was… squeezed.
Now most parts of a lizard are probably reasonably squishy and flexible, so this might not have been a problem, except that the child had the lizard by the head. Lizard heads are typically not so squishy and they contain a lot of things that are important to a lizard’s general success in life. The end result was an ejected eyeball, a small trickle of blood, and a rather unresponsive lizard.
Most children, after identifying that the essential essence of lizard had been released, would have abandoned him then and there but, as we know, RJ can rarely be classified in the group of “most children.”
RJ, moved by the lizard’s plight, rushed to the scene with an emergency response team and attempted to resuscitate the poor creature. No effort was spared. A sock was removed, moistened in the sparkling, clean waters of a nearby drinking fountain to clean the lizards wounds. An empty lunchbox was brought forward, complete with a selection of different food scraps and a piece of bark for shelter. Gentle soothing words of comfort were spoken, but to no avail. The lizard remained unresponsive.
Undaunted, RJ remained convinced that “Thin Lizzy” just needed some time to recover and brought him home. The afternoon was filled with constructing an appropriate habitat, clean sand, bark, rocks and a delicious assortment of insects, millipedes and other arthropods — truly a delightful lizardy nirvana. It was surely just a matter of time before Lizzy recovered. At the end of the day, RJ carefully placed Lizzy on a warm rock and left him for the night.
The first thing the next morning, RJ rushed downstairs to check his patient… and… and… It was a miracle! Lizzy had moved during the night! He was now laying on his back beside the warm rock! Triumphant, RJ declared that Lizzy would be coming to school that day to show everyone the amazing recovery. Admittedly, Lizzy was still rather “lethargic” (some would say comatose or deceased). This fact was not lost on RJ. As he carefully placed Lizzy back up on the rock he announced that “Lizzy is just playing dead. He is really VERY good at it.”
Several times during the day, Lizzy would craftily bide his time until there were no observers and then scurry off around his enclosure, only to resume his dead lizard act when others showed up. RJ’s classmates were amazed, particularly by Lizzy’s unprecedented resolve to remain motionless in the face of close-proximity screams and prods with fingers. Lizzy returned home to continue his convalescence.
For the next few days, Lizzy was an ideal pet. He didn’t require a lot of attention (or food, water or air, for that matter). He kept within his enclosure without making any attempts to escape. He wasn’t even venomous, as many of our previous pets have been. If you look past a few highly unfortunate events, Lizzy really seemed to have a long, bright future ahead of him.
Despite how well he had integrated into our daily life, Lizzy’s tenure as RJ’s own personal pet was not long lived, and it really was his own fault. Three days later as the weather warmed up a bit, Lizzy learned a new trick. Not content with an occasional leap from his warm rock, he replaced his silent contentment with a new cry for help.
A terrible, foul, stinky cry for help.
Thin Lizzy moved out that afternoon. He lives across the street at the park now. We’re sure he’s happier over there.
Besides, RJ has some new pets now…
(to be continued)
(RJ helped sell some things on ebay, and in exchange was allowed to buy something for himself… Instead of getting an actual bird skeleton, something that he’s wanted for a while, he settled for a metal bird-skull on a chain.)
RJ: I can’t believe it! It’s finally here! It took two whole weeks!
Dad: It actually looks good, too. Solid.
RJ: I know! It’s really pretty cool. I think it’ll be pretty popular at school. I bet everyone will want to check it out. That will last about a week, maybe ten days. Then it will be a bit boring again. After that, you know, something else will be cool and who knows what that will be.
Happy Mother’s Day, everyone! We hope all you Mom’s had a terrific day. Around here, the kids woke up early, putting together a great breakfast for Mom and tried to let her have a quiet, relaxing morning — before going on their normal weekend rampage.
(The kids have been making toys and figurines out of polycaprolactone, a non-toxic plastic that is malleable in hot water… While LR has been rapidly expanding her collection of bouncy balls and tiny dinner sets, RJ invented a new superhero… He has wings. He has a unicorn horn. He is simultaneously awesome, majestic, and devastating, and has an unparallelled ability to smell out truffles. He is… Unipig. )
RJ: Unipig soars through the air ready to fight evil!
Oh no! His ultimate enemy Doctor Zhu Zhu, an evil mutant mosquito, is attacking! He flys out of the darkness of hell to battle Unipig.
Luckily Unipig has his amazing watering trough of justice, the only weakness of evil mutant mosquitoes and Doctor Zhu Zhu drowns… Arrrgghghglurglurgblurblurrbglurrrghhh. (dramatic drowning noises).
RJ: … Most people don’t know this, but Unipig is allergic to cheese. No salty southern cheeseburgers for him. They make him throw up.
Update: Polycaprolactone plastic is pretty amazing stuff and it isn’t just for the kids. We got one of the big containers from Plastimake. There are lots more ideas on how to use it at their website. Highly recommended!!!
(Discussing a school council meeting at our house…)
LR: My teacher will need to bring her kids along, because she’s divorced and she doesn’t have a husband to watch them.
RJ: What!? No husband? Then how did her kids get fertilized?
LR: She used to have a husband, but they got divorced.
RJ: What happened? Did she kill him?
LR: No, RJ! They got divorced so she wouldn’t kill him!
(At the end of a long day)
Dad: You look worn out. Long day?
Mom: Yeah. Exhausted.
RJ: Poor Mum. She always works so hard.
Mom: I need a job where I’m not at a computer all day. It’s soul destroying.
RJ: (suddenly REALLY interested / concerned) Cell destroying!!? How does that work? Do they get exploded?