Archive for March, 2012

Mark and Sunday School warmongering

Whatever the topic, Mark manages to work mayhem into the conversation at Sunday School.  Yesterday, for instance, the rooster that crowed 3 times during Peter’s betrayal of Christ became a Warrior Chicken, attacking bad guys with its badass pecking.

Which was not as disturbing as the week before.  In which Mark created a giant sea serpent out of paper, whose job it is to keep peace on earth, apparently by frightening everyone into doing as they ought.  I gather Mark believes Jesus could use a hand with that.  Or a scaly coil.

It’s just that for those of us already convinced Mark is a reborn Viking, having him invent the Midgard Serpent is a tad disturbing.

Another Peril of Teenage Brothers

On the way home from school:

Mark (beatific grin):  “I am a hacker!”

Me:  “What?”

Mark:  “I was supposed to be using the computer center for reading practice.  But I went to”  (the wicked smile again) “I am SUCH a hacker.”

Sure enough, there was a note in his backpack, asking me to remind him NOT to use the school computers to go to


Kate and the Two-Wheeler

She’s had the training wheels off twice before.  Apparently the third time is, indeed, the charm.  Or, more likely, the charm is sheer bullheadedness after realizing every one of her friends in the neighborhood, even the two younger girls, can ride their bikes without training wheels.

Hence Saturday’s stubborn, parentally unassisted launch into training-wheel free bike riding.

Mark seizes the lion’s share of parental time and attention, it’s true.  But every once in a while his sister reminds us it’s not a good idea to underestimate her.  Her layers of stubborn are just as thick, if tending to be utilized more covertly.

Mark Goes to the Doctor

So Mark’s birthday’s coming up.  Yup, the wee beastie turns six in less than week.  He’s been looking forward to his birthday cake since roughly one week after he turned five.  He’s the only one of the children to choose ice cream cake, so it’s a once a year thing, which for a little kid is a Very Long Time.  For grown-ups, of course, it’s a different matter.  We think dreadful things like “Oh my god, it’s almost Christmas again!?” and “Where the *#! did March go?  Wasn’t it just January?”

Anyway, birthdays are great–cake, presents, etc. etc.–but they also mean:  Well-Child Checkups.

Mark was no mood for a Well-Child Checkup.

For the doctor, he mostly pretended even the slightest touch tickled, writhing like a python as the patient young doctor tried to hear his heartbeat.  Seriously, Mark’s new pediatrician is the closest I’ve ever seen in real life to George Clooney’s ER character.  But the doc got off easy.  Mark saved the bulk of his wrath for the nurse.

Nurse:  “I just need to get your blood pressure…”  (straps on the cuff)

Mark:  “Ow!  Ow!  Oooowww!”  (tries to wrestle it off)

Nurse (catching his hands):  “Just a bit more…”

Mark:  “You know, there’s a _reason_ I’m called the Undefeatable Master.”


Mark and the Science Fair

So Mark and Kate both decided to do projects for the science fair.  Kate had done one before, so she’s an expert this year.  Mark, however, as a kindergartener, is new to it.  Nonetheless, he settled on a project fairly quickly, deciding to plant watermelon, pumpkin, zucchini, squash, and carrot seeds and see which one sprouted first.  The time between when the Science Fair was announced and the date it took place was tight–two weeks–but fortunately the carrots managed to sprout in time, answering Mark’s question.  Whew!

Everything was fine until we actually got to the Science Fair.  The kid next to Mark had a project involving a volcano.  Not a real volcano, of course.  A baking soda and vinegar one.  But he’d turned the vinegar reddish-orange with food coloring and it was pretty impressive.

Commence meltdown.

Mark (literally holding his head in anguish):  “My project is terrible!”

Me:  “It’s plants.  Plants are important.”

Mark:  “Look!  HE has a volcano!  I have plants.”

Me:  “It’s not a real volcano.”

Mark:  “Plants!  PLANTS.  Plants don’t destroy ANYTHING.”

Me:  “But without plants, we couldn’t eat.”

Mark:  “Arrgggh!”

Eventually he calms down enough to realize parents, older children, and the judges are coming around, asking questions about the projects.  The drama dries up, replaced instantly by Future Politician.

Mark:  “Hi.  My name is MarkPatrickNolandButler and my project is about plants.  Plants are important.  We couldn’t eat without plants.”

When the crowd thins he disappears for a bit and returns, tugging one 5th grade girl by the hand, three others following.  He gets them queued up before launching into his spiel.

This was one of those non-competitive, everyone wins kind of science fairs, where every kid gets a medal.  I have some concerns about doing science fair this way.  The next generation’s going to return to the moon and cure cancer by feeling good about themselves?

Maybe, as it turns out.  Mark has worn that medal every day since the science fair, like a decorated war hero.  I rather expect he’ll be interested in doing a project again next year.

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