Who Knew You Could Mess Up Instant Ramen?

, , , , | Related | March 1, 2021

My eight-year-old nephew has just learned to make the “add water and microwave” ramen bowls. His eleven-year-old brother figures, if his little brother can do it, how hard can it be? After popping one in the microwave, he falls back on one of his favorite Sibling Activities, gloating.

Older Nephew: “Look, I know how to cook ramen better than you!”

[Younger Nephew] looks around his brother at the microwave and says, completely deadpan:

Younger Nephew: “Your ramen is on fire.”

We quickly put the fire out to find that [Older Nephew] had neglected to actually read the instructions and hadn’t added water. It took three days for the smell of smoke to go away and we had to buy a new microwave.

At thirteen now, his cooking skills haven’t improved much, but at least he learned not to gloat about them. We also learned to keep a closer eye on him in the kitchen.

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They Did Better Than We Would Have!

, , , , | Related | February 3, 2021

My niece’s mother is a big believer in being honest with her children. For instance, she told my niece Santa wasn’t real when her daughter asked who he was. This also applies to giving age-appropriate explanations about “private” topics like where babies come from and private parts. The idea is that if you don’t shush kids when they ask about this stuff at a young age, they feel more comfortable asking important questions, like how to get and use birth control when they’re older and really need to know how to protect themselves.

As such, I’ve been given explicit permission to answer any of my niece’s questions, even about “sensitive” topics, and I know she wouldn’t approve of my not answering her daughter’s questions. For what it’s worth, I generally agree that it is the best policy, but that doesn’t mean it’s always an easy one.

At the time of this story, my niece has just turned four. Since she was conceived using a sperm donor, her mother has already explained the process and my niece has been able to tell others about it for nearly a year now. This is her latest explanation of the process.

Niece: “The penis makes sperm, but I don’t know how the sperm gets out of the penis. Then, when the sperm is put in the vagina, it can find the tiny eggs in the mom’s belly, and that makes the baby start growing.”

My niece turns to me and looks at me questioningly before reiterating:

Niece: “But I don’t know how the sperm gets out of the penis.”

I’m tempted to avoid the topic since she didn’t technically ask me anything, but I know it goes against the spirit of honest communication her mother believes in to avoid answering the implied question. So, I suppose I’m on the hook for answering her.

Me: “Well, do you know how your baby brother pees?”

Niece: Oh! The little hole on top of the penis! Oh, never mind. I figured it out now!”

My niece then wandered away, content with her new knowledge, and I couldn’t help but feel like I’d just dodged a bullet. I figure it doesn’t count as dishonest to skip over any other steps involved until she is a little older.

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I Learn To Scream Coherently For Ice Cream!

, , , , , | Related | January 25, 2021

My mother and I are watching my toddler nephew for my sister. My mom is scooping ice cream for all of us and has just put a large scoop in my nephew’s bowl.

Me: “Careful, Mom, you don’t want to give him too much.”

Nephew: “Me want too much!”

That was one of the first complete sentences he ever managed to say.

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Anything Can Happen On A Landline!

, , , , , | Related | January 11, 2021

My grandmother just turned ninety but lives alone and is in excellent health. After my grandfather died a few years ago, she joined an exercise group of other widows at the local senior center and they all got to be good friends and had excursions together. (This was before the health crisis.)

My brother and my two-year-old nephew stop by for a visit. [Nephew] finds Grandma’s phone — an actual corded landline — and manages to hit redial, calling her best friend. He babbles at her for a bit and then hangs the phone up and comes back into the other room where the adults are.

We find this out because the best friend calls Grandma back ten minutes later.

Best Friend: “[Grandma]! Are you okay?!”

Somewhere over the course of “conversation,” she became convinced that either she or my grandma was having a stroke because the words just didn’t make sense! It took a few minutes for my brother to put two and two (and two-year-old) together and figure out what had happened. Grandma now has a funny story about her precocious grandchild, and my nephew will be able to tell his grandkids someday that yes, one time he DID use a phone plugged into a wall.

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I Certainly Hope Not!

, , , , | Related | January 3, 2021

My sister is visiting, and the conversation has turned to a surgery I’m scheduled to have soon. As we’re talking about medical things such as what procedures will be done, my five-year-old niece speaks up. 

Niece: “Are you going to get euthanized?”

She was looking for the word “anaesthetized.”

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