Charlie had all this to say on the way to school today--

We didn’t go to school because it was Martin Day. It was Monday, but we didn’t go to school because it was Martin’s special day. He did not live a long time, but he did a lot of good things. He told guys to be nice and use nice words. He made a speech about a dream and it was a very good speech. Martin’s color was black. He wanted good people to be nice to everyone. Someone shot him one day. He fell over and then he went to heaven. If I go to heaven, I can see him someday.
Rosa went to jail. She sat in a white man’s seat on the bus. But she was tired. When they said, “Get up!” She didn’t and so she went to jail. She was just tired. Now bus guys can’t say that. You have to be nice to everybody on the bus. If you go to jail, you won’t see Martin because he’s not there. He’s in heaven. And I think Rosa is in heaven, too, even though she went to jail because she is not a bad guy.


Tic Tac Toe

Having spent a lot of the last month entertaining themselves in waiting rooms, other people's houses, restaurant tables and on long car rides, my children have developed an affinity for tic tac toe. The desire to win and inability to develop sufficient strategy has them taking many approaches.

In Olive Garden one night, I'm playing TTT with Charlie. Now there are Charlie-imposed RULES to doing anything with Charlie, but especially this game.

1.) He has to have the green crayon.
2.) You can have 'any color dat you want to have' but it better be red.
3.) He is never the X.
4.) He always goes first.
5.) You have to help him see where he can block you if it's on a diagonal.
6.) You can never win.

Well, you had me til #6, kid. I have no problem with taking you down. I will try to have an even mix of cat games and maternal victories, but I'm not going to let you win.

After about ten games, he starts developing his strategy. He'll go, then I'll go. Then he hovers his crayon over each spot and looks at my face. I assume he's looking for a sign that I don't want him to go there so that he can pounce. (Signs that his therapies are working! Looking for facial cues! Woot!!)

Once I've given him several misleading looks of horror, he goes for a more direct approach. Before he makes his move, he asks me, "Where do you tink you are going to want to go next? I need to block you."

I tell him a few times before I start to lie. He 'does not love dat' approach. So he has a new idea, "I will go to turns, den you can go two turns, den I can go two turns and den win!"

Huh, that worked. And it was the exact number of turns before you win. Every time. Good thinking, kid.

Thankfully, the food comes before we have to go down any more paths.


On the long road trip to Oklahoma, Dixie was annoyed to find herself the only backseat denzien still awake and so she started playing TTT with her imaginary friend. Dixie's either very generous or not very bright, because the imaginary friend won every game.

Someday, that girl is going to have to take the comedy act on the road. I wish I could remember the dialogue she had with herself. I was laughing too hard to drive in a straight line to the nearest bathroom and more than one type of accident nearly occurred.


The girls were playing one day in a waiting room and decided to expand the game to be a 4x4 grid rather than a 3x3, but couldn't agree on if you'd then need 3 in a row to win or if you had to go for the 4. They were also having a visual discrimination problem with the larger grid, especially when it was hand drawn and slightly wonky. They never could forsee strategy sixteen positions rather than nine.


Melody has a different TTT hang-up than Charlie's obsession with the big win. She wants to know why the cat gets all the credit for winning, when he's not even in the restaurant.


Cocoa Puffs with the Dark Lord

Friday morning, I had breakfast in my kitchen with Darth Vader and a Clone Trooper. Melody had just discovered the book Scary Stories to Tell In The Dark and was reading them ghost stories while they ate Cocoa Puffs. Not only did the masks make it difficult, but, being a literal person, Melody had to read the stories in the dark.

We're back into the swing of things. School's been in for three days and, now that my computer AND voice work, classes are so much more productive than they were for the entire month of December.  Charlie's bus driver has requested that we arrive earlier, as he now has another kid added to his roster. Dowlan's still living and working in another town and, despite a few interviews right before Christmas, that doesn't seem likely to change soon. We did get to be together as a family for holidays and travels and it made it that much harder for him to leave again.

Today's Lazy Parenting Tip: My Pampered Chef pizza stone sits in the bottom rack of my oven all the time. It catches drips from the top rack and is easier to store that way. As an added bonus, any time I make prepared freezer kid foods like corn dogs, fish sticks, chicken nuggets or frozen pizzas, I just plop them on there to warm. No large bulky dish to wash. It's also convenient for quesadillas and grilled cheese sandwiches. 


Mornings with Charlie

This morning Charlie woke up, walked into the room and asked, "Is it morning?"

"Yes," Daddy answered as he made waffles.

"Is it Chwistmas?" he further inquired.


With that information, Charlie turned around and walked back to bed. If it isn't Christmas, it isn't worth getting up for.

Once he was re-routed into the kitchen, Dowlan finished a waffle. "Is that a good-looking waffle, Charlie?"

"Yes! It just needs chocolate and marshmallows and spwinkles on it! Huwwy, put it on quick before time runs out! But don't spill anything! Huwwwy, huwwy Daddy! You time is wunning out!"

Whew. The waffle wace was won.

Yesterday morning, Charlie found some stocking candy before he found the breakfast table.

Dowlan: What are you eating, Charlie?
Charlie: It tastes a little like watermelon. I do not know what it is called. I think I will call it 'Joey'.

Edited to add:
Charlie just told Dixie, "My bellybutton went on vacation."

Curious, I asked where his bellybutton had gone on vacation. Dixie leaned over and whispered, "Tell her 'Disneyland' so we'll have to go get it!"

One "-Land" is enough for this week and we've already been to Legoland Discovery Center. It rocked Charlie's little world (and Uncle Trey's)