While playing at the park, right after coughing:
— I think I'm allergic to the cold.

While playing backgammon against Sophia:
— Hahahaa! Now you can't beat me up!

Benjamín: I'm sad, because Mami was angry at me, even though I said "I'm sorry".
Sophia: You know, Benjamín, sometimes it's not OK if you just say I'm sorry.
Benjamín: But I didn't know what else to say.
Nicolás: You could say "sorry, I didn't mean it".

Nicolás and Sophia got a pink slip at the school bus for not behaving. Apparently, they fought with each other and got another friend in trouble. Leslie told them to write an apology note that they were supposed to give to the bus driver the following day, as well as another note explaining what is it that they had done bad. Nicolás wrote the following:

I won't look back at Sophia. I will sit in my seet. I will not be fooling uround. I will consintrat on giting to school safely. I won't be bad. I will follow derecshons. I won't gite a pink slip. I will do the bus roles. I won't be a bad 9 year old boy. I will be respectfull. I will be resursibull. I will be open-minded. I will be well balensed. I will be knowligible. I will be prisipult [meaning principled]. I will be a communicator. I will be a inquirer.

It obviously starts OK, and goes downhill from there.

We had nearly finished dinner, which we regularly have at around 6:00 PM. This day, however, we were running a bit late. Nicolás took a quick look at the clock on the wall, and exclaimed:
— Wow! It's the beginning of seven already!

Yes, he meant to say that it was a few minutes past seven.


Sophia and Benjamín went to the boys' room, sat down at Nicolás' desk and started playing, which of course Nicolás didn't appreciate much because they could move his things around. So, he came up to us to complain and had a little Freudian slip:
— I don't want them sitting at my mess!

(April 2007)

— I'll be sure not to get obsessed with my anger.

(May 2007)

You know the way they say that nerds and geeks have a different mindset? Well, here is a good example. Nicol´s was recommending his siblings to go to the first floor of the house, where things were obviously much more conducive to accomplishing whatever it is that he wanted to do:
— It is real quiet downstairs, except for the occasional exchange of information between mom and dad.

As you can all imagine, what Nicolás described as an "exchange of information" would simply be a "a talk" to mere mortals.

(March 2009)

Nicolás: Wow! Grandpa's lake is still icelated!
Jesús: It's still... what?
Nicolás: Icelated! Covered in ice!

(April 2009)


Leslie: Please, kids, grab a piece of fruit because an apple a day keeps the doctor away.
Sophia: That's not true! One day I had to go to the doctor, even though I had been eating apples for many days every day. So, that's an old fashioned trick.

Nicolás: Quinn also says that his mother lets him take a mud bath every week.
Leslie: Well, some mothers do allow their kids to play in the mud. I know you don't like it because you have your dad's genes.
Sophia: So, Nicolás is wearing the same jeans dad wore when he was a kid?

Sophia refused to set the table with her brothers, and got angry when Leslie scolded her. She ran upstairs, took a little notebook and wrote a note to her mother titled Just a Note: Dear Mom, I wont too ran a waye.

Sophia had gone to a friend's birthday party, and in the meantime I went to get a haircut. When the party was over, I picked her up and we both went to the library to drop some books. On the way there, I asked her if she had noticed anything different with my hair.
Sophia: Yeah! You have more grey hair now!
Jesús: No, silly! I just got a haircut... by the way, you know, it's normal if people get more and more grey hair as they grow older. As a matter of fact, people who still have hair when they are very old tend to have it all gray.
Sophia: Wow! Then Mami is going to be in trouble!
Jesús: Why do you say that?
Sophia: Because she pulls out the grey hairs every morning after she takes a shower! If she keeps doing that, pretty soon she'll have no hair at all!

Benjamín: You know what? Today, when Grandma-grandma died and we went to her room, Nana was there and she was crying.
Jesús: That's because Grandma-grandma is Nana's mom. Wouldn't you be very sad if Mami died?
Benjamín: Yeah, I'd definitely be very sad because I love Mami very much. I love her so much I think she's a rock star.
Sophia: Ha! She cannot be a rock star! Rock stars have skinny bodies and pants that show their belly buttons. Besides, they sing cool songs, and Mami doesn't like rock.

Great-Aunt Paula: So, how is Jesús doing at work?
Leslie: He's starting to get tired of the place. They are having layoffs all the time, the company has been losing money for years now...
Sophia: I like Papi's work a lot: he has a pop-corn machine, and free coffee, and a doll by his desk... although I don't think he has any good restrooms, because every single day as soon as he gets back home from work he goes straight to the bathroom and stays there for a long time.

— I don't know why when I try to draw a circle on paper I don't really make good circles, but then when I do them on nothing [meaning while drawing on the air] I do them very well.

Benjamín asked how come we can see George Lucas' movies here at home in Minnesota if he lives in California, which is so far away. I explained we watch his movies on DVDs, which are made by his company. Benjamín then asked how come so many different people can watch George Lucas' movies at the same time, and I explained how companies burn many different DVDs and send them all over the world. Sophia quickly asked:
— Do they set them on fire?

Benjamín: It's not fair! I always have to play in Nicolás' world, and he never plays in mine.
Nicolás: That's not true. And if it is, it's only because you never ask me to join you. Sophie joins me in my world, and then you want to play with us because you get bored.
Jesús: Well, it seems to me that while Sophia does play in Nicolás' world, and so does Benjamín, Nicolás never plays in, for example, Sophia's world.
Sophia: Yeah, but that's because I don't like my world. I always like Nicolás' world better than mine, so I join him.

Nicolás: You know what? Carlos doesn't believe in Santa. He told me today that it's his parents who bring him presents.
Sophia: No way! That cannot be.
Nicolás: Well, that's what he says.
Sophia: Then, how do you explain all thos Bionicles you got last Christmas? They're expensive. There's no way our parents would spend all that money in toys.

Sophia absolutely loves to chime in when we are lecturing the boys, and show us all how responsible and mature she is. Of course, there are times when she overdoes it, as in this occasion:
Benjamín: How come we have to drink milk every day and you and Papi don't?
Leslie: Because we already have our milk for breakfast.
Sophia: Yeah, because, you see, we truly need the milk because we are growing but they are shrinking, so they don't need it anymore.

While swimming at the pool, Benjamín warned Sophia at the yell of "emergency, emergency!" that both an ant and a dragonfly were drowning in the water. Now, it turned out that during the complex rescue operation Nicolás continued jumping into the pool and making dangerous waves that threatened to wreck it. Of course, that had to prompt Sophia's immediate plea:
— Nick, can't you see I'm trying to save an ant's life here??

(August 2007)

We all went to the park to meet some friends for a picnic and, while they arrived, our kids went to play in the slides. After a few minutes, Sophia came back and sat down with us looking quite angry at her brothers. We asked her what went wrong:
Sophia: It's just that they are playing a game that I don't like.
Us: And what game is that?
Sophia: Run away from Sophie!

(September 2007)

Since I tease the kids so often by saying the opposite of what I truly mean, they have sort of learn to tell when I use a slightly different tone. So, when I recently said something outrageous in a plain, straightforward tone, they believe it. Once they realized I was just kidding, I asked them how they could have believed such a fantasy. Sophia knew the answer, of course:
— It's only that you didn't use your ironicky voice.

(September 2007)

Nicolás had watched Life Is Beautiful at school, and I was explaining to him the concept of a death camp. At one point, I stressed that while the Jews are perhaps the best known victims of the Nazi brutality, they also mass murdered gypsies, homosexuals, lesbians and leftists, among many others. At that point, Sophia had a comment to make:

Sophia: That means that a girl I met while I was taking tennis lessons would have been killed by the Nazis.
Jesús: Why? Was she a Jew?
Sophia: No, she was a lefty.

Hmmm. I had to quickly explain to her that there is a difference between a "lefty" and a "leftist". Not sure she understood anything though.

(February 2008)

Benjamín had been talking about animals getting married, so I decided it was a good time to teach to the kids that marriage is an inherently human institution that cannot be understood without the idea of law, which is eminently social. So, as soon as Benjamín made the comment, I explained that animals don't get married and asked if they had an idea why. Sophia quickly volunteered an answer:

— Because they don't have lips to kiss?

(May 2008)

Sophia sees me about to use some mouthwash in the bathroom:

— What's that? No, wait! Is that like deodorant for the mouth?

(December 2008)

I'm not sure how the conversation got started, but the case is that we were in the car driving up to somewhere and Nicolás asked about several -ologies:
Nicolás: For instance, geology is the study of the earth, egyptology the study of Egypt...
Benjamín: Then, penisology must be the study of the penis.
Leslie: Well, that would be urology.
Sophia: I don't understand that. Your-ology? The study of me?

(December 2008)

Leslie is spending a couple of months with the kids in Minnesota. They drive to Cub Foods to do some grocery shopping. Leslie parks the car, and the dialogue goes something like this:
Sophia: Can I wait in the car?
Leslie (hesitating because there are some unsavory types hanging around University Ave.): Well, OK.

Leslie turns the car back on to put the windows down a few inches, so Sophia can breath. They all get out of the car and, after a few seconds, notice that Sophia gets out too.
Leslie: What are you doing, Sophia?
Sophia: Well, I just asked if it was OK to stay in the car, but I didn't say that I wanted to stay in the car.

What the...?

(July 2010)

Sophia was playing a game on the iPad, when Leslie said:
— Leslie: Turn down the volume, please.
— Sophia: But I'm dying! [Referring to dying on the computer game, of course]
— Leslie: I don't care.
— Sophia: That's not very nice!

(February 2012)

Mientras nos contaba una historia sobre la escuela:
— En clase de inglés estamos leyendo Cien años de SOLIDARIDAD.

Al parecer, le ha dado la vena igualitaria y socialista. Jejeee.

(February 2014)


Benjamín: I'm so angry with Papi, I wish he were a pie!
Leslie: Why?
Benjamín: So I could bite him!

— Mami, I don't understand when people speak Spanish. Like, when they say things en español. See? I said en español, and I didn't understand what I said.

I was explaining the difference between príncipe and infante in the Spanish royal family:
Jesús: So, if you are a prince who will later become a king you are then called a príncipe in Spanish, but if you will not become a king you are then called an infante.
Benjamín: So, you mean I'd be an elephant in Spain?

During one of those sudden attacks of silliness that happen so frequently to kids:
Leslie: He's just cracking himself up.
Benjamin: Hahahaa! I'm cracking my head up!

While visiting the doctor for a regular checkup:
Doctor Jessica: so, are you going to tell us what would you like to be when you grow up?
Benjamín: no, it wouldn't be appropriate.
Doctor Jessica: pardon me?
Benjamín: I said it wouldn't be appropriate because it's not a good thing.
Doctor Jessica: oh, so what is it? It's OK to tell me. I promise I won't tell anyone.
Benjamín: I want to be Darth Vader.
The doctor ended up writing it right on his chart.

Leslie was trying to get Benjamín to understand why we have rules in society and why they are needed in the first place:
Leslie: so, why do you think we have driving rules on the roads?
Benjamín: because without rules people could have accidents and they could lose their arms, like Johnny's dad, and they will have to use a metal arm, and they don't work so well, so you won't be able to grab things.
Leslie: when is it OK to interrupt other people's conversations?
Benjamín: when you are on fire or bleeding a lot.

On a particularly bad day when all three kids were misbehaving and being silly, we told Benjamín to go pick up a few books he had left on the floor next to the closet. He continued doing silly things and never picked up the books.
Jesús: did you pick up the books?
Benjamín: no
Jesús: and why not?
Benjamín: because I was busy being funny.

Benjamín: I've seen a Bible man on the other side of the block.
Jesús: really? And how did you know he was a Bible man?
Benjamín: because he had short hair, and a nice beard and was wearing a cloak... but it wasn't the invisible cloak, it was a normal cloak.

This was the first day I took the kids to play tennis this Spring. We arrived to the place, I parked the van, Benjamín opened the door, and yelled really loud while bursting out of the van:

— We are freeeeee!

I'm not sure what the passersby thought.

The kids are getting ready to go outside on a beautiful Spring day. Lately, they have been taking their light sabers out there and playing Star Wars and, instead of taking on his usual role of the bad guy, it turned out that Benjamín had been playing the good role lately. Apparently, though, he couldn't take it any longer:

— Nicolás? Can I go on the dark side with you today? Because I'm tired of fighting.

What would Yoda have to say?

After a very busy day doing lots of homework, Benjamín felt the need to express how hard a kid's life is:

— Work, work, work. Even before I started going to school I had to do a lot of work. I wasn't even in pre-school, when I had to go to the mami class (i.e., ECFE, Early Childhood and Family Education) and do homework. Then, I went to pre-school and had to do homework, and now that I'm going to first grade I have to work even more. Then, when I become an adult, I'll have lots of stuff to do. I will only be able to finally rest in peace when I die!

Apparently, Sophia got angry and threatened to leave home. She just told the kids about it though, so Benjamín felt the need to share it with us. He wrote a note and gave it to Leslie:

Mom Sophia iz levin.

After a while, he wrote another note for Leslie:

but she is coming back win it is cold and at secret times.

Obviously, she had given it some thought and had reconsidered.

While looking at his own testicles:

— Mom, when boys grow up, do they get more balls? Like, instead of two balls, do they get three or four?

(April 2007)

In the past few months, we had to teach the kids how to distinguish when we are using irony from those other moments when what we say should be interpreted in a more straitghtforward manner. We have already told them several times that one of the most basic forms of irony is to say something when, in reality, one means the opposite. So, discussing the topic, I explained how, in general, dogmatic people tend to dislike irony, since they prefer to always take everything seriously and describe it in black and white type of terms. Of course, I had to ask the kids if they knew the meaning of "dogmatic" was, and Benjamín quickly volunteered a very original definition:

— Someone who likes dogs a lot?

(August 2007)

— Dad, why do people say that they caught you right-handed if I could be left-handed?

(May 2008)

Benjamín had a growing pain in a couple of spots, so Leslie gave him a pain killer. When he noticed she had given him a single pill, he quickly asked:

— Just one? But I have two growing pains!

I suppose we'll have to teach him about the dangers of over-medication.

(September 2008)

During a family trip to Gibraltar, we had originally thought to stay at a bed & breakfast (we later changed our mind). Benjamin, who had never heard of the concept, had the wrong idea of what a bed & breakfast might be:

— Wow! Does that mean that they will bring us breakfast to bed?

(October 2008)

Right before going into school on a day when he had to take a test:

— Hope me luck!

(December 2008)

During a conversation between Leslie and I about the habit of smoking, Benjamin came up with an interesting question:

Benjamín: Mom, is it possible for people to get smunked?
Leslie: To get what?
Benjamín: Smunked. To get smunked.
Leslie: And what's that?
Benjamín: You know, when people drink too much they get drunk... so, if they smoke too much, can they get smunked?

(December 2008)

While playing with the cats, right after one of them did something weird:

— Haha! The darn cats do those things!

He obviously meant to use the known idiom (cats do the darndest things, but something went wrong.

(December 2008)

Benjamín had been grounded without playing at the computer but, as he tends to do, continued begging us to change our minds and —much worse— sending his brother and sister to do the dirty work for him:

Sophia: Benjamín wants me to ask you if he is allowed to play at the computer.
Jesús: No.
Benjamín: Well, that's what he says. You have to ask mom. She is a better changer-minder.

No comments.

(June 2009)

During a boat ride to watch whales and dolphins at the Strait of Gibraltar things were getting a bit tough and the boat was rocking quite a bit. That didn't seem to bother Benjamin though:

— Haha! My penis tickles on the down stroke!

Errrr... OK. Let's just leave it at that.

(August 2009)