Good people

Sempi and I read bedtime books together and discuss the story before he goes to sleep.

The story we read had a mention of illegal drugs. Apparently he didn't know what drugs were. So we discussed what drugs were and how some bad guys can sell drugs to victims and why it is illegal.

Suddenly Sempi drops this nugget of wisdom.

People are always born to be strong and good. No one is born to be weak or evil.

Friends who know me well, know that I strongly believe "people are generally good". I guess that belief is a genetic trait.

Got Problems?

Sempi (my 6yo son) and I have this tradition of sharing our problems and asking each other's opinion on how to solve it. We do this while we walk to his school. We've been doing this since he was 3. Here's an example from Portland.

Me: When I bike to work, I have to wait a long time for the elevator.

Sempi (3yo): You should just build a ramp to your 28th floor, so you can just bike all the way up.

Me: Alrighty then.

Back to present day, I was discussing a problem with him about my work.

Me: I have this big presentation coming up and I'm nervous.

Sempi: Why?

Me: There's going to be VPs and an Executive attending this presentation. So I'm anxious about it.

(Sempi thinks for a while)

Sempi: There is a fire pole at the playground and I get nervous about going down that pole. What helps me is, I don't think about it, I just do it. So you should do the same. Don't think about it, just do it.

Me: Whoa! You know that's actually pretty good advice.

I'm happy to report that I took his advice and I kicked butt.

Relatives

Some nights I read a book about Gandhi to Sempi for bedtime. There is an incident in Gandhi's life when he's thrown out of a first-class couch in South Africa because he is not white. I told Sempi that it was an injustice and it doesn't happen anymore.  He listened intently and nodded approvingly. The next night I'm reading a comic about superheros and he asks me, "How come everyone in Justice League is white?".

I stuttered to come up with an answer at that moment, cursing myself for introducing him to the concept of race.

Since then he's asked me to read the Gandhi book many times and we talk about the struggles, non-violence and civil disobedience.

Recently, his elementary school teacher did a fantastic job of introducing the struggles of Martin Luther King Jr. He was excited to learn about MLK and how he learned some of the techniques from Gandhi and Thoreau. So naturally, we bought a new bedtime book about MLK.

One night we had this exchange.

Sempi: Appa, how did the first person came into existence.

Me: (I was gearing up to talk about evolution, Adam and Genesis).

Sempi: Appa, if there was a single person in the beginning, then we all came from that person.

Me: (excitedly) That's true. Everyone in the world is related. You're probably related to Ms. Cochran (his elementary shcool teacher).

Sempi: (giggles) Hehe. It also means that Martin Luther King could be my relative. Hehe.

Me: Absolutely!! You know MLK and Gandhi were probably your great great grandfathers.


That's my son. :D

What do you say?

One of the ways we trained Sempi to say "Please" and "Thank you" is by asking him "What do you say?" after he receives a favor from someone. With that context in mind, this conversation happened in the car. 

Vian: Can I have that monster truck, Sempi?

Sempi: Here you go. 

Vian takes the truck. Sempi being the responsible older brother wants to teach Vian good manners. 

Sempi: What do you say, Vian? 

Vian: Vrooom, Vrooom.

Sempi just shakes his head and mumbles something that vaguely sounds like "Kids these days". 


Mom by any other name

It was a cold Sunday morning. Sempi doesn't want to leave the house. I'm trying to convince him to go out for family brunch. Yoshi is still getting ready.

Sempi: I don't want to go. I want to stay home and play legos.

Me: If you want to stay home, that's fine. I'm going out for brunch.

Sempi: Ok.

Me: I'm taking Vian with me.

Sempi: Ok, you can take Vian and I'll stay with Amma.

Me: Nope, I'm taking my wife with me. 

Sempi: Ugh! Appaaaa ...... Fine. We'll all go.

Me: Alright, hurry up and put on your shoes. 

Sempi: Hold on, let's wait for our wife.

Me: Hey! She's my wife, not our wife.

Sempi: Apppaaaa......

I'm batman

Sempi's new obsession is playing police. Every chance he gets, he recruits me and Vian to play police. 


Sempi: Appa, let's play police. You can be the bad guy and I'll be police

Me: Ok! Vian, what are you going to be? A good guy or a bad guy?

Vian: I'm batman. 

Me: I see, so is batman a good guy or a bad guy? 

Vian: No appa, I'm batman. 

Me: Alrighty then. I'm glad we settled that.


Hot Cocoa

It is freezing outside. We bundle up and go out to explore. When we got back to our lodging it was warm and cozy. Yoshi decided to make everyone hot cocoa. 

She brings the cups of hot cocoa and the bag of marshmallows.

Yoshi: Vian, how old are you?

Vian: Two!

Yoshi: You can have 2 marshmallows for your hot chocolate.

Vian: Yay! (and proceeds to grab a handful of marshmallows and dumps it into his hot chocolate).

What is your superpower?

Sempi is really into superheroes and police. The other day I was walking him to school and he tells me, 

Sempi: Appa, can I tell you a secret? 

Me: Yeah. 

Sempi (whispers): My secret identity is (redacted). 

Me: Wow, really? Why didn't you tell me sooner, I could have used your powers to crush the boxes in the recycling bins.

Sempi: You can't tell anyone. Well, maybe just amma, but no one else. 

Me: What about Vian? 

Sempi: He's too young, he might tell someone. Maybe when he grows up you can tell him. 

Me: Do you think when he grows up he'll also get superpowers? 

Sempi: Yeah. Even you have superpowers appa. You can be police.

Me: Really?

Sempi: Yeah, you can be police who stays indoors and we'll contact you for instructions when we're fighting bad guys. You know, since you're good with computers. 


*sniff* My son thinks I'm good with computers. It is the highest compliment I've received in my life.

Fun with dosas

I love dosas. Dosa is a south Indian dish. A better version of a crepe (shots fired) or a ridiculously thin pancake. Sempi (5yo) is also a huge fan. 

I'm making dosas for his breakfast and he requested that I make the dosas into shapes for him. He requested a police car. I was happy to oblige. 

Sempi: What is this?

Me: A police car. 

Sempi: It looks like a spaceship. Next time add some wheels to it.

Me: I'll see what I can do.


Words, Words, Words

Vian has been picking up a few words courtesy of Sempi. The words he has picked up so far are the ones that Sempi uses with forceful emotion. 

STOP:

Whenever Vian tries to take Sempi's toys, Sempi yells "STOOOOP" with conviction and distress. So that's the first word that Vian decided to pick up. Now he uses it with us generously. He can't quite pronounce the sound "ssss" so his STOP sounds like "TOP".

It's a catch all phrase for stopping anything that is unpleasant. So far he has used it to stop me from giving Yoshi hugs in front of him (jealousy). It is hilarious to watch him command his toys to "TOOPPP" when they keep sliding off of the couch or the table where he's playing.

NO:

This is the second word that he's picked up from Sempi. But the twist is, Vian says NO with a tinge of joy and pride. We've asked Sempi to ask Vian's permission before taking toys from Vian's hands. Sempi being the older, more responsible brother will ask politely "Vian can I please play with the toy you have in your hand?" and Vian responds "NO" with a smile and enthusiasm. It looks absolutely savage when witnessed in person.

READ:

This one, I'm very glad he's picked it up from Sempi. Sempi is a total book worm. He asks us to read a book as soon as he wakes up, while eating, while lounging, right before bedtime, even while driving (instead we listen to podcasts while driving). Now Vian has picked up on this and he demands that we read to him while he eats. He can't pronounce "R" or "D" so it sounds more like a "WEE", "WEE". He get so excited about this that he would keep asking us to read even while we're reading him a book.