Jantarada (Family Dinner)

(From across the table in English while the rest of the family converses in Portuguese around us.)

Hank:  Mama? I am filling up.

Me: Ok. Let me assess the damage. (inspects plate) Overall, good work on the eating, buddy.  One more bite of carne (meat) and seven bites of salada (salad) and you’re good.

Hank: Mama, watch me.  (mouth full) One..  carne (meat). (chewing) One…  Mama, help me count the salad.

Me: Gotcha: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5


Hank: I don’t think I want to eat my tomatoes.

Me: Ok, Mister.  I was quietly watching you eat tomatoes all dinner with no problem and that made me happy.  Remember when you didn’t like tomatoes? I think you should continue scoffing them.  Let’s think of all the foods you love made of tomatoes.

Hank (mouth full) Chili!

Me: Pasta Bolognese, many soups… KETCHUP! Oh, wait that’s me. Bwahhahah!

(Hank and I are rolling in laughter, interrupting the rest of the family’s conversation, but this is nothing new so they then start to giggle with no idea what is so funny beside the two blond family members giddy at the idea of KETCHUP!)

Pai: (smiling) Mãe (mom), focus.

Me: Ok. Whoosh…  okokok. Six and one more bite makes?

Hank: (last bite full of tomatoes) Seven!



Hank: Mama, what happens if you swallow gum?

Me: Stays in your belly.

Hank: No! Everything has to come out. You are kidding.

Me:  Not gum.  It sticks.

Hank: (getting nervous) what if I tell you I have swallowed gum before.

Me: I would say that gum is now stuck to the walls of your stomach.

Hank:  WHAT!?!

Me: Yup.  Ask your aunt Kelly.  She will tell you all about stuck gum in stomachs.

Hank: Will I die?

Me: Oh no, honey, but the next time we go to the doctor we should tell him so he can deduct the gum pieces from your body weight.


The Garden Story of Us


Hank:  Mama, you should write a story about gardens.

Me: Why?  There are already so many great stories about gardens: Planting A RainbowThe Good Brown EarthThe Carrot SeedMrs. Spitzer’s GardenThe Gardner.

Hank:  But those stories are not by you.  They are by those people.  You should write a story about gardens.  Your story.

Me:  Why?

Hank:  (thinking) Because only you can write your story.  And it would be good.  And I would know it.  Because I know you.

Me: I think we just wrote it.

Hank:  When?

Me:  Just now.  You and I.  This is a story about a garden.

Hank:  I will get my canetas (markers) you get the lapis (crayons).  You write the words.  I will write H-A-N-K and we will draw the pictures together.

Me: What should our story be called?

Hank:  (thinking)  Us.  The garden story of us.

Me: (writing it all down)