Saturday, December 22, 2007

possible Sage sighting

At this time of year, we get what feels like about four hours of daylight. Which means that most of our family photos are artificially lit and either a.) red-eyed or b.) blurry. Sage's perpetual motion doesn't help matters.

islands in the street

I was wondering why this desert island had a traffic sign on it. Talk about excessive regulation. But Evan explained that it's a roundabout.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Evan: Recent Works

Cattails: pastel, 2007

Pencil: pencil and crayon, 2007

Sewage Treatment Plant: mixed media, 2007

Artist's Portrait

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

sky writing

We were running late this morning, but we hustled, and I was pleased that I still made it into work before 8. Then I noticed I wasn't wearing a belt.

In the car, Evan was admiring the colorful sunrise:

Evan: "Pink clouds. And some orange clouds."

Eric: "Yeah, it's a pretty sunrise."

Evan: "I love it when the sky is pink. It's so cute."

Eric: "Yeah."

Evan: "We should make up a song called 'Cute Sky.'"

Eric: "Yeah."

Evan: "Cute skyyyyyy, cute skyyyyyy, I love you so mu-uch. Cute skyyyyy, cute skyyyyy..."

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

the world's first funny knock-knock joke

Eric: "Knock knock."

Evan: "Who's there?"

Eric: "Clarence, the Interrupting Cow."

Evan: "Go away."

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Cranklin the Fat

About once a week, Sage and I have the following exchange:

Eric: "Sage, can you say 'Franklin'?"

Sage: "Kitty."

If it were any other 19-month-old, I'd assume that she simply found "Franklin" impossible to pronounce, with its tough combination of consonants. Evan called him something that sounded like "Plankton" for nearly two years. But Sage has never really had a sense of her own limitations. She is, however, keenly aware of her preferences. I suspect she's trying to rename him.

Evan may or may not have read my book

Evan's favorite thing to do with his puppet theater is to sit behind it and pretend to be providing some sort of counseling, a la Lucy in her Psychiatric Help 5¢ booth. Today he wanted to "interview" me, and I told him that I have an interview coming up for a teaching position and he could help me practice for that:

Evan: "So... I hear you've been writing some good poems about... um... 'Baby Bubbles' or something."

Saturday, December 1, 2007

winter wonderland

Today it snowed.

Evan (stepping out our front door): "Wow. It looks like Santa's beard exploded out here."

bad name

Evan is running around in his pajamas, playing robber. He says he robs "Citytown Bank" a lot, but never gets caught. Instead, the police always arrest a guy named Robert, because they think his name is Robber.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

same old same old

Eric: "Did you have a good day at school?"

Evan: "Yeah."

Eric: "What was the most interesting thing that happened?"

Evan: "Oh... nothing really interesting happened."

Eric: "Did you have fun at recess?"

Evan: "Yeah."

Eric: "Who did you play with?"

Evan: "Oh... just... the same people as always."

Eric: "What did you play?"

Evan: "Black Widow Army Tight-ropers."

Sunday, November 25, 2007

how we roll

Evan and I have been working on our freestyling. That's improvised rapping. One of the first rules is that you have to keep going — you can't stop to celebrate a cool rhyme you've come up with. Today, while we were driving along, I realized I'd forgotten to tell Evan this:

Evan: "Yeah, yeah, yeah. Me and my buddy Eric, driving down the street. ... We've got lots of things to eat. Hey! Street/Eat! That was a good rhyme! Did you hear that? Street/Eat!"

Later, we played a few games of Twenty Questions. Evan is still getting the hang of this game, too:

Evan: "Is it something that we eat?"

Eric: "Yes."

Evan: "Is it bigger than a car?"

Saturday, November 24, 2007

brace yourself

"This time I'm going to do something even awesomer."

Saturday, November 17, 2007


Evan seems to have inherited his mother's ability as a visual artist, which means there's virtually nothing his father can teach him at this point. He made this picture of the Mayflower at school. That's Sonja on the high deck, Sage on the main deck, and Evan and me in the dinghy, which Evan added this morning.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Monday, November 12, 2007


Sage has begun singing an abridged version of the ABC song. It goes:

"A, B, C, D ... Y, Z, cow, cow."

All together now...

Thursday, November 8, 2007


Evan: "Am I five and a half?"

Eric: "Yes. No. You're five and a third."

Evan: "So does that mean Sage is older than me, because she has a half?"

Eric: "No. Because the number that comes first is most important. Sage is ONE and a half. And you're FIVE and a third."

Evan: "Yeah."

Eric: "You know you're older than Sage. Because you can remember a time when she didn't even exist."

Evan: "Yeah. When she was just chemicals."

Eric: "That's right."

Evan: "Tiny chemicals that cried and pooped."

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

naming gift

Evan: "Daddy, come here."

Eric: "Hold on. I want to put that funny thing that you just said on the blog."

Evan: "What funny thing?"

Eric: "'When I grow up, I'm going to change my first name to Officer.'"

Evan: "That's NOT FUNNY!"

Men at Work

This morning while I was dressing for work (remember that detail), Evan told the following story:

"One time I was playing over at Benjamin's, and Joseph came up to us dressed kind of like a cowboy, and asked us, 'Do I look like a cowboy?' And Benjamin said, 'You look half like a cowboy, and half like a man going to work.' That was funny! Because Joseph was trying to look cool, and men going to work don't look cool at all."

Sunday, November 4, 2007


Evan (talking to an imaginary doctor about an imaginary person on an imaginary telephone): "Hello. Michael's going crazy. Please come immediately. With 25 ambulances." (Proceeds to simulate the sound of 25 ambulances coming.)

performance review

Evan: "You're pretty good at coloring inside the lines. Am I pretty good at coloring inside the lines?"

Eric: "Yes. You're much better at it than I was at your age."

Evan: "That's because I'm a perfectionist."

Eric: "Well, I'm kind of a perfectionist too."

Evan: "Yeah, but you don't do things perfectly."

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Then there was the time when, riding along in his carseat, Evan suddenly said, "Um, Rene Descartes was a France philosopher. But what did he philosoph?"

Evan is learning a lot at school

I love it when Evan, unprompted, repeats (or mis-repeats) things he's heard recently. Tonight, out of the blue, he announced, "Bill Gates is the richest and nicest man in the world."

Hello and Goodbye

Children between the ages of one and two love to say hello and goodbye -- to everything. Here are a few things Sage has either greeted or bid adieu to lately:

• The beep that the door makes at her daycare when you use your key card to get in: "Bye beep."
• Dave, whom she also calls "Beep," after our first visit with him on SKYPE: "Bye Beep."
• A fire in our fireplace: "Hi hot."

This reminds me of Evan at a year and a half, when he would say "bye bye" both to things that were going away and to things he hoped would go away. Once when I pulled him, kicking and crying, out of a bath he didn't want to leave, he screamed out through tears, "BYE BYE BUBBLES!" Then there was this famous dinner-time exchange:

Evan (in his highchair, with rice on his tray): "Bye bye, wice."

Eric: "No, Evan, your rice isn't going anywhere. You eat your rice."


Evan: "Bye bye, Daddy."

Sunday, October 21, 2007


Tonight we were watching a show about crocodiles on PBS. At one point the croc expert dove into some clear water and emerged holding a mature member of the smallest crocodile species in the world — about four feet long.

Evan: "It's cute, but it's very aggressive. Like Sage."

Saturday, October 13, 2007

right-hand man

Tonight Evan fell asleep on the couch, and I had to rouse him at bedtime. As he trudged toward bed he said, "That would be funny if you dressed up as a raising hand for Halloween."

Thursday, October 11, 2007


Evan (eating a shrimp): "When can we have krill for dinner?"

Thursday, October 4, 2007

at breakfast...

Evan: "What do you call Alabama when there's a flood in it?"

Eric: "What?"

Evan: "Flood-abama."

Eric: "Oh... What do you call West Virginia when there's a flood there?"

Evan: "Flood-iginia."

Eric: "No. Wet Virginia."

Evan (using a fork with scrambled eggs on its tines as a microphone and talking in a Guy Smiley voice): "Okay, that wasn't a very funny joke. You're not on TV."

Saturday, September 29, 2007

advanced speller

Evan: "What does H-H-L-I spell?"

Eric: "It spells 'hhli'. It doesn't spell anything, really."

Evan: "Oh. How do you spell 'holy'?"

Eric: "You mean 'holey', like it's got a lot of holes in it, or 'holy', like it's from God?"

Evan: "I mean like 'holy crap'."


Eric: "Sage, you are a pistol."

Evan: "Why do you call her a pistol?"

Eric: "Because she's *crazy*."

Evan: "Yeah. We shouldn't have bought her."

Eric: "Oh, but I like having her around."

Evan: "Why? She destructed all the buildings in the world. They all have to be rebuilt now."

Eric: "Yeah, but I don't mind all the craziness and destruction because she's also a very very sweet baby."

Evan: "At least when she's sleeping."

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

true enough

Evan: "If you hear a loud BANG somewhere in our house, it's probably Destructo-Baby."

Monday, September 24, 2007

Mysterious Team vs. Plan Team

I don't buy into most binary systems, but this one seems pretty solid. Everyone on Earth is a member of either Mysterious Team or Plan Team. At Evan's preschool, where this dialectic originated, it was purely a matter of gender. If you were a boy, you were on Mysterious Team. Girl, Plan Team. In the adult world, it's more complicated. It's entirely possible to be a woman and be on Mysterious Team, although men remain disproportionately represented there. Some of my grownup writer friends and I have chosen sides, and have spent a lot of time debating the merits of each. After several good-natured but slightly barbed exchanges, my friend Jason (a Man on Plan) pointed out that the two terms were being used as shorthand for "You guys are really boring" and "You guys are really flaky." The realities of Mysterious Team and Plan Team are, of course, infinitely more nuanced than that. In his poem "Under Which Lyre," W.H. Auden traces the lineage of both teams back to the Greek Gods:

The sons of Hermes love to play
And only do their best when they
Are told they oughtn’t;
Apollo’s children never shrink
From boring jobs but have to think
Their work important.

Related by antithesis,
A compromise between us is
Respect perhaps but friendship never:
Falstaff the fool confronts forever
The prig Prince Hal.

If he would leave the self alone,
Apollo’s welcome to the throne,
Fasces and falcons;
He loves to rule, has always done it;
The earth would soon, did Hermes run it,
Be like the Balkans.

But jealous of our god of dreams,
His common-sense in secret schemes
To rule the heart;
Unable to invent the lyre,
Creates with simulated fire
Official art.

And when he occupies a college,
Truth is replaced by Useful Knowledge;
He pays particular
Attention to Commercial Thought,
Public Relations, Hygiene, Sport,
In his curricula.

For my part, I think I've come up with even better team mascots than Hermes and Apollo, or even Falstaff and Hal:

Mysterious Team = Ernie
Plan Team = Bert

You can perhaps guess which team I'm on, and where my sympathies lie. Evan recently explained to us that Mysterious Team members *do* make plans. They just make mysterious plans. He added that "girls can be invited to be on Mysterious Team, and boys can be invited to be on Plan Team." However, he said, he would always be on Mysterious Team, and Sage, when she came of age, was going to be on Plan Team. This struck us as appropriate, since Sage was, well, planned, and Evan was a surprise (if not exactly a mystery).

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

weapons of minimal destruction

This is an oldie but a goodie. Someone in the neighborhood was clipping a bush, and Evan had gathered up a fistful of stems with pointy, glossy leaves on their ends. Naturally, he had decided this was a weapon, and was running around jabbing the air with it:

Eric: "What kind of weapon is that, Evan?"

Evan: "My AMBUSH!"

Monday, September 17, 2007

a hint of condescension?

Evan: "Sage is thinking ... with her little tiny baby brain."

where are your priorities, man?

Eric (tucking Evan in): "I could never love anyone or anything more than I love you."

Evan: "What about the world's biggest bus?"

Thursday, September 13, 2007

six degrees of separation

Eric (reading to Evan from "Ramona's World"): "... because in the state of Oregon..."

Evan: "Oh! So Ramona lives in Oregon!"

Eric: "Yes she does. And you know where in Oregon? McMinnville, I think. Because Beverly Cleary, who wrote all the Ramona books, is from McMinnville, and there are McMinnville street names in the books and everything."

Evan: "Yeah. So Ramona lives near Omi and Poppop."

Eric: "That's right. And you know who teaches in McMinnville? Uncle Stefan! He may even teach at Ramona's school."

Evan: "Yeah! He may even know Ramona. He's probably told her about me."

you got that right

We've joked so much about Sage mooching other people's food that now, when she sees someone eating something tasty-looking, she points to it and says, "Mooch! Mooch!"

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

roundup of famous Evanisms

"The reason I'm licking the baby is because she has cinnamon on her."

Eric: "Hey Evan, what's the name of your ant?"

Evan: "Um... Ant-o!"

Eric: "Oh. What's the name of your praying mantis?"

Evan: "Bill. Bill Pierce."

Eric: "Evan, stay out of the bathroom. I need my privacy."

Evan (coming into the bathroom): "I need my privacy too."

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Do I dare to eat a peacho?

About two years ago I visited Evan at preschool and brought him some Fig Newtons to eat with his lunch. He tried one and told me he didn't like it. I had forgotten all about this until today, when Evan came into the room where I was working and apologized.

Evan is incredulous that I've been working for three months on a short poem and still haven't finished it. To show me how easy it ought to be, he just dictated the following poem to me:

Peacho peacho peacho,
deacho deacho deacho,
I pick a peach from my peach tree
and I eat it.

Saturday, September 1, 2007


Today we took a hike:

Evan (on the trail through the woods): "I love these woods!.... Friend-love, not kissing-love."

And tonight:

Evan: "What does 'despair' mean?"

Eric (distracted and not up for nuances): "It means 'sadness.'"

Evan: "Oh. Why can't you just say 'sadness'?"

Thursday, August 30, 2007

my all-time favorite compound modifier

Evan was in an unusually affectionate mood tonight:

Eric: "Evan, you left your magnifying glass in the restaurant. Good thing I spotted it."

Evan: Oh! Thanks... um... loved-by-Evan Daddy!"

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

the baby's ringing

Today at 4:40 a.m.:

Sage (from her crib): "BwwaaaaAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!"

Eric (leaping out of bed while still more-or-less asleep): "I'll get it."


Eric: "I think 'shampoo' is about the funniest word there is."

Evan: "What about 'shampoop'?"

Monday, August 27, 2007

There's nothing quite like

being greeted, as you approach your house, by a five-year-old boy running up the block wearing a swim mask and waving a light saber at you. (Evan told me he was Luke Skywalker, and that the mask was essential gear "on the icy planet of Revenge.")

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Sonja and the kids have been down in Oregon for the past five days -- I hung back to finish up a big freelance assignment that's due next Monday. It's been, I think, the longest stretch of bachelorhood I've experienced since, well, bachelorhood, and the silence has been deafening. To help fill it, here's an Evan exchange I remembered from last Thanksgiving. We were visiting Grandma Sue in Illinois, and Evan came down with a terrible stomach bug. What frustrated him most (after he'd stopped throwing up) was that we wouldn't let him kiss Sage:

Evan: Well who can I kiss who's cute?

Eric: You can kiss me!

Evan: You are not cute to me! Who can I kiss who's CUTE and LITTLE?

Saturday, August 18, 2007

now there are two of you

Our next-door neighbor, Carol, is an identical twin -- something I didn't realize until the other evening when her sister was over helping her garden. Evan, who to my knowledge has never seen a pair of twins before, took it in stride. He pointed at them, said "Two Carols!" and went about his business.

Friday, August 17, 2007


One of Evan's Playmobil toys is a little yellow-and-red DHL truck. The real-life versions of these trucks are ubiquitous, yet nobody in this family has been able to figure out what DHL stands for. Well, last night Evan informed us: it stands for "Federal Way Rescue."

Monday, August 13, 2007

small wince

Last night Evan looked at his babysitter, an 11-year-old girl from the neighborhood with a sweet and somewhat rabbity smile, and said, "Wow, you sure have grown-up teeth."

the element of surprise

Tonight Evan asked, angrily, "Why do I have to do all the cleaning up around here?" It was a brilliant question -- I was completely unprepared to answer it.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Sage said it, not me

Eric (placing diaperless Sage on the floor): "Now don't you pee on the floor while I'm going to get you a diaper."

Evan: "She's thinking, 'That stupid Daddy. I'm going to go pee on the floor.'"

Eric: "Evan! That's not a very nice thing to say!"

Evan: "Well *I* don't think you're stupid."

Thursday, August 9, 2007

big daddy

Evan: "I ate my soup a lot faster than you ate yours."

Eric: "That's true. But I have a lot more soup than you had, because I'm a lot bigger than you."

Evan: "Yeah. I could probably fit in your stomach."

Wednesday, August 8, 2007


This morning, both Evan and Sage were crawling around on top of me, and I was trying to keep Sage from swiping my glasses and keep both of them from bonking heads and/or falling off. Eventually Evan said, "Is this a recipe for disaster?"


My friend Courtney has passed along some memorable Evanisms (she didn't want to post a comment because that would link readers to her own blog, in which she details her experiences as a mob informant). Here's Courtney:

Inspired by the fantastic grandfather comments in your previous post, here are a couple of my recent favorite quotable Evan moments:

At a sailing party I hosted last Sunday, Evan was full of compliments. When was the last time a 5-year-old boy complimented you on your hair or, better yet, your voice? And both compliments were delivered in such a simple, gentlemanly fashion. "Courtney," he said, "I like the way your hair looks." And, "Your voice sounds just like my friend Aurora's mom's voice, and I REALLY like it." The biggest crowd-pleaser was when Evan asked to be taken for a second sailboat ride and I had to explain that sadly, the wind and water were a little too gusty/choppy for small people on the sailboat. He said confidently, "Well, then, it's a good thing I am five. I can still go."

I remembered another favorite quote from Evan: The night Lloyd and I babysat, Sage was crying shortly after I put her down and I went to soothe her, and Lloyd said, "Let me do it!" I was hesitant because I hadn't seen his baby soothing-abilities, but I let him go downstairs (we were upstairs being jailed and whatnot). After a few minutes, Sage was still crying and I wanted to go help, but Evan said very calmly, "Courtney, Lloyd can handle it."

Monday, August 6, 2007


When Evan was a baby, he loved rice. Occasionally he'd even manage to ingest some. For a while, one of our nicknames for him was "Rice-In-His-Hair." (The other was "Little Big Mess.") But tonight at dinner, Sage managed to get more rice on herself than Evan ever did. When I lifted her out of her high chair, I realized I'd have to take her into the front yard and let the crows clean her off before carrying her to the bathtub. After I'd brushed every last grain from her front, I acted on a hunch and unbuttoned the bottom of her outfit. Another half-pound of rice fell out.

Evan has been reading a "Captain Underpants" book, and tonight announced that Sage's new name was "Captain Diaperpants."

su barrio

We were returning from a recent outing in the car. As we turned onto our street, I heard Evan say from the back seat, "Now we're back in the Evanhood."

If I ever rename this blog, it will be The Evanhood.

Sunday, August 5, 2007


This morning at about 6:30, Evan came downstairs with his security blanket, crawled into bed between Sonja and me, and said, "Daddy, I don't like the way your breath smells. Can you go brush your teeth?"

Saturday, August 4, 2007

recent poems by Evan

I think he thinks all poems have to begin with "When." Must be the influence of Larkin ("High Windows"):

When the sun shines
it seems like a piece of gold.

When it is cloudy,
it looks like there are big
snowballs in the sky,

but they are full of rain,
and snow.

When I look out the back bedroom window
and I see Benjamin,
I feel excited, because we always have fun together.
I run to the front door, and open it,
and I go out, closing it behind me,
and I run through the gate
and I start playing Playmobil with Benjamin,
who has brought his police van and a robber
and his police car and his police station
to my backyard.

just remembered this one

Also about a year old. (I'll be airing classic episodes until Evan's writers deliver some new scripts.)

Eric: "I think you gave me your cold, Evan."

Evan (sniffling): "No, I've still got it."

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

bugs are resourceful

Evan said this about a year ago, but I didn't have a blog then, so I'm reporting it now:

Evan: "Bethany is scared of mushrooms."

Eric: "Why?"

Evan: "Because once she saw a mushroom with antennae, and it was chasing her."

Eric: "Hmm. I don't think mushrooms have antennae. And I know they can't move. Maybe what she saw was a bug that looked like a mushroom."

Evan: "Yeah, or maybe it was a bug that was using a mushroom as an umbrella."


In China, a successful book often spawns a whole bunch of Coco Canal ripoffs. I remember reading, in Rachel DeWoskin's memoir "Foreign Babes in Beijing," that the popularity of "Who Moved My Cheese?" in China had led to the publication of dozens of Cheese-themed books: "Stop Moving My Cheese"; "Understanding Other People's Cheese"; and, most memorably, "Chinese People Eat Cheese? Who Moved My Meat Bun?"

So it's no surprise to read in today's NYT that Harry Potter ripoffs are rampant in China:

These include “Harry Potter and the Half-Blooded Relative Prince,” a creation whose name in Chinese closely resembles the title of the genuine sixth book by Ms. Rowling, as well as pure inventions that include “Harry Potter and the Hiking Dragon,” “Harry Potter and the Chinese Empire,” “Harry Potter and the Young Heroes,” “Harry Potter and Leopard-Walk-Up-to-Dragon,” and “Harry Potter and the Big Funnel.”

All of which is to say... I'm not sure what, exactly. Maybe that Evan is Chinese. Or that if you live in China, you should keep your eyes open for "Harry Potter and the Bombs of Voldemort."

Tuesday, July 31, 2007


I've spent the past 20 minutes with a chopstick in my right hand, portraying Ron Weasley in "Harry Potter and the Bombs of Voldemort."