What the Kids Are Up To

Friday, June 02, 2023

A Friday Hodgepodge

Light/Irregular Posting Notice: Due to unusually heavy personal obligations, posting here may be sparse and at odd times from now until about June 20.

With that out of the way, I haven't posted about my kids in a while, so here goes...


1. Recovering from a nasty virus, my son perked up and started binge-watching Toy Story movies yesterday.

After observing Forky, the spork-turned-toy by a kindergartner, he presented me with his theory of what it takes to be "alive" (read: sentient) in the Toy Story universe: eyes and a mouth.

Image by the author's daughter. Reproduction with attribution permitted.
2. Mrs. Van Horn and I love our daughter's art. Reproduced here is my daughter's stippled portrait of a monkey.

3. My son started off as a picky eater, but likes tandoori chicken and often asks me to make red beans and rice or jambalaya so he can have it in his school lunch.

This might seem strange, but his maternal grandmother is picky and his mother is a foodie -- but occasionally can't eat something due to an off taste undetectable to me. (I basically quit using thyme, because it frequently tastes moldy to her.)

My theory is that the three are supertasters, and my son will end up having sophisticated tastes in food, while also sometimes being hard to please, like his mother.

Mrs. Van Horn is very particular about shellfish, and usually dislikes them if they've been frozen. My son doesn't have this particular objection, so when Mom goes out of town, the kids and I will often have crawfish etouffee for dinner on one of the nights.

Amusingly, putting this down reminded me of a quip my barber made about his pickiness way back in my St. Louis days to the effect that he "must have been an imperial food taster in a past life."

4. Lots of people bemoan the ubiquity of electronic devices like smart phones and tablets, but they're not all bad, any more than televisions and phones were when I was a kid.

My son uses his iPad to learn about things all the time, and my daughter, who is an anime fan, is using an app on her phone to learn Japanese.

The latter followed from a conversation about electives in school. She's in middle school now and was picking electives for next year one evening. We ended up telling her that in high school, you can even have learning a new language as an elective.

She immediately asked if she could learn Japanese.

We told her that that is very rare in America, and that she might need a private tutor for that, or maybe she could use an app some time if she's still interested in a few years.

I shouldn't have been surprised at her starting Duolingo sessions that evening: This is, after all, the girl who uses timers for everything and whom I never have to remind to do her homework.

-- CAV

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