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 coach 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". 


My Cup Runneth Over

Vian is having lunch. I'm still making a plate for myself. He requests some water, so brought him a cup of water.

Vian: Appa, this is too watery. 

Me: I'm glad to hear that Vian. The water is supposed to be watery. 

Vian: No appa, I can't drink it.

Me: Why not?

Vian: Because it is too watery. 

I walked over to him to check it out. He was complaining because I filled the water to the brim and he couldn't drink out of it.

Me: I'm sorry Vian, I will fill it appropriately next time. 

Vian: Yeah appa, next time don't make it too watery.


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......

Answer Me!

It is no secret that both Sempi and Vian prefer their mom over me. Vian perceives me as the guy who lives in the same house and occasionally grabs him from his mom to change his diaper. 

If I happen to enter a room in which he is playing, he will preemptively declare "I don't need you, appa". Which is a wonderfully  heartwarming phrase to hear from your child. 

A couple of days ago, the entire family was in the living room. Yoshi was playing with the kids, I was working on my laptop. Yoshi stood up to leave the room, and Vian starts to get anxious. Yoshi reassures him that she'll be right back. I wasn't paying much attention to the surroundings as I was focused on my laptop. 

Vian says something to me. I half-heartedly acknowledge. Suddenly he yells at me, "APPA! Are you going to answer me?". I immediately sit straight, set aside my laptop and focus all of my attention to him. "I'm sorry, Vian. What were you saying, baby?". Vian replies "I was saying that I don't need you". 

Very well then, I'm glad you got my undivided attention to share that, <redacted expletive>.

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).

Ok Wiretap

We don't have any wiretap devices like Google Home or Amazon Echo at our house. So whenever we encounter on in the wild the kids get excited about talking to them. 

We went on a vacation where the AirBnB had a Google version of the wiretap. So Sempi requested it to tell him a story and was pleased with the results.

Vian decided that he will try his luck on this device. Pretty soon I heard him screaming:

"OK! DOODLE!" 

"OK! DOODLE!"

"OK! DOODLE!"

Poor kid, one of these days he will learn how to pronounce the "Ga" sound.