Conversations with the kids

Christian and I have been reading The Hobbit together. He wasn't sure about it at first, but he is growing more and more engrossed with each chapter. A couple weeks ago, I picked up an invisible Bilbo toy for him. But I wanted to wait until we read about Bilbo finding the ring and discovering it's effects before I gave the toy to Christian. I figured he wouldn't have any frame of reference until then. Thursday night, we read about Bilbo slipping on the ring and disappearing for the first time while Gollum chased after him. He knew that I had a surprise for him but I wouldn't give it to him until after we read a certain part of The Hobbit. After we were done, I presented Christian with the gift with little introduction.

"What is it?" he asked.
"Well, it has big hairy feet and walks around barefoot all the time. Carries a little sword. Wears a coat and a waistcoat."
He looks at me, poker-faced. "OK."
"We have been reading about him a lot." I said.
"Oh," a smile and a look of sudden revelation spread across his face. "It's Bilbo. But why does he look like that?"
"Because of the ring." I said.
"Right." Christian still didn't understand.
"And," I continued, "When Bilbo puts the ring on, he turns ... "
"Into plastic?" Christian guessed.
"No! Invisible. Remember? We just read about it."
"Oh, I get it. But where's the ring?"
"He's wearing it. It's invisible too."

He was excited. As soon as he understood.

"Daddy," Christian had a special request while we were driving around town. "Make me laugh. Now."
"Um ... " I have a hard time being funny when put on the spot. "Christian, I love you like a fat kid loves cake."
He laughed. The loud and unmistakably natural laugh that only he does when he finds something hilarious. Then he said. "That was funny dad. But not that funny."
Then I laughed.
"See," Christian said, "now I was funny."

All three kids were arguing. JJ was insistent that he knew what his older siblings were talking about.

"JJ, you're not old enough to know what that word means." said Zu.
Sensing that JJ might have hurt feelings, I stepped in. "What word?"
"Affection." Christian answered.
"Of course he's old enough to know what affection means," I replied. "JJ shows affection all the time."
"See," said JJ, "I do too know what it means."
"That's right JJ," I said. "What does it mean?"
"It's what happens when you bump or scrape your arm or stuff like that," he answered.
"No JJ, that's affliction."

JJ shared his life's dream with me this weekend.

"Daddy, when I grow up, do you know what I want to be?" he asked.
"No," I said, "What do you want to be?"
"I want to be Iron Man when I grow up."
"Well, the first thing you'll need to do is get very very rich."
"OK," said JJ.

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