Not an iPad

conversations with hank


Me: (entering the living room with Molly in my arms)

Hank: (driving a Ferrari through Nice, France) Hi mama, hey sister. (sharp right turn)

Molly: Screams at the top of her lungs (Great! The big iPad is on)

Me: (putting Molly down) Amália, I’ve told you before the TV is not an iPad.

Molly: Shrieks (You’re crazy. Totally is.)

Hank: (virtually driving through lavender fields) Amália, não mexa (Molly, don’t mess)

Molly: Dhaah da-da-da-ah da scream (Listen, I am not stupid. This is totally an iPad.)

Me: Listen here little cannot tap, touch, swipe (removing her little hands from the TV screen) the TV.   There is not a touch screen on a TV. Não mexa, por favor. (Don’t mess, please)

Molly: Gah da-da-da-da (I don’t believe you.)

Hank: (driving along the cost) She doesn’t believe us.

Me: I heard. Excuse me, Amália Sofia…

Hank: Oh you better listen to her, Molly. (shifting gears) She used you second name.

Molly: Gah da! (Tell me)

Me: The TV is not a toy, neither is an iPad. Why don’t you and I go play on the veranda with your blocks and some cars?

Hank: Oh, that is a good idea. I want to play, too. (turning off the TV and his game)

Molly: Gaba! Da-da-da-dah  (Look. The big iPad is broken.) Bah ahaha ba ba dah da da ah da da (You can’t trust technology these days. Might as well play with blocks. Blocks never let you down.)



How to Choose a Book

conversations with hank


Me: (entering the hallway to find Hank sitting in front of the kid’s bookshelf) Whatcha doin, sailor?

Hank: (not taking his eyes off the books) I want a new chapter book to read until we find the Magician’s Nephew.

Me: I still have no idea where that book is!

Hank: Vanished.

Me: Fairies… only explanation.

Hank: I don’t think the fairies stole it, but I do think that asking Paige Portensia for help to find it is a good idea.

Me: I concur.

Hank: I don’t know what book to choose.

Me: Well, that is the great challenge for all readers, but I find the back of the book to be infinitely helpful. Have you tried that?

Hank: No.

Me: For example, here is a book that Liz and Rob gave you. It’s called The Mystery of the Burnt Cottage, by Enid Blyton. She was an extremely popular writer in England, but I never read her books growing up in America and if we look at the back of the book it says:

“Fatty, Larry, Daisy, Pip, Bets and Buster the dog turn detectives when a mysterious fire destroys a thatched cottage in their village. Calling themselves the ‘Five Find-Outers and Dog,’ they set out to solve the mystery and discover the culprit. The final solution, however, surprises the Fine Find-Outers almost as much as Mr. Goon, the village policeman!” (handing Hank the book)

Hank: That sounds good. What is a thatched cottage?

Me: A thatched cottage is one where the roof is made with a thick, complicated carpet of straw.

Hank: Can we look at one on google?

Me: For sure. And the most enthusiastic readers no matter how fascinated they are by the back of the first book they pick up always pick up a second to read as well. Would you choose another, please?

Hank: Um… This one.

Me: Right! This is a good one. This is called Stuart Little, by E.B. White. He wrote Charlotte’s Web.

Hank: I liked that book, but I cried. It was such a good story and so sad, but then you had to try and be happy again even though you were sad.

Me: True story. Charlotte’s Web is a lot like life in general: Super good, thrilling, nerve wracking, joyous, and at points devastating, but utterly worth it. Never judge a book by the last story the author told. If that were the case I would have never read another book by Thomas Hardy after the traumatic Jude the Obscure and I love Thomas Hardy’s books. Ok, let’s look at the back:

“Stuart Little is a mouse in the family of the Frederick C. Littles and is a pleasantly debonair little character, with a shy and engaging manner and a somewhat philosophical turn of mind. His size – just over two inches – does give him some trouble now and then. But on the whole his life is a happy one. His great adventure comes when, at the age of seven, he set out in the world to seek his dearest friend, Margalo, a beautiful little bird who stayed in the Littles’ Boston fern.” (handing Hank the book)

Hank: So now I pick?

Me: Yup.

Hank: Well, I want to read the mystery book. Have we ever read a mystery book?

Me: Nope.

Hank: And I want to read a book where someone is called Fatty. Who’s mother calls them Fatty? That is a mystery, too.

Me: Ha! I like how your mind works.

Hank: Me, too.



Treasure Awaits

conversations with hank


Hank: (Standing at the dining room table doing his homework)

Molly: Playing under the dining room table finds Hanks bare feet

Hank: (giggling) Molly, did you find my toes?

Molly: Screaming (Brother, are these your’s?)

Hank: Whatcha doing under there, silly?

Molly: Screeching (Come here and play with me.)

Hank: Mama?

Me: Yes, I heard. You may pause on the homework and play with your sister.

Hank: Thanks, mama. (abandoning his math)

Molly: Squeeling (Brother, you came! Welcome to my cave of wonder)

Hank: What are you doing under here, Ms. MaGoo?

Molly: Low guttural growl (I am adventuring)

Hank: That sounds like fun.

Molly: Dha-da-da-da-da-daaaaah scream (The best part are the adventures under the chairs.)

Hank: Oh, Molly. You are my best sister. I love you. I never thought I would have you in my life and I am so happy you’re here.

Molly: Growling, crawling to the far end of the table and waiting for Hank to follow her (Let’s set sail and find some treasure! Come on, brother)

Hank: Ok! Yes let’s go on an adventure in our pirate ship.

Me: Who’s the captain and who’s the first mate.

Hank: Molly is the captain, Captain McGoo. This is her adventure.

Me: (smiling) Indeed.

Molly: Ne-ne-ne-ne-ne-ne BrrrrrrrrrrRRAHHHH! Clapping (Raise Anchor! Set Sail! Treasure awaits!)