Kelly Almost Snorts a Worm

Kelly and I have Spring Break this week and we’ve a good size list of honey-dos we’re working through.

Kelly at the Mailbox. She helped pound the post.

First on the list was installing a mailbox. Our local mailwoman is terrified of our dogs (Lena in particular goes nuts with barking – even with a bark collar). After a couple of firm (but polite) letters from local post office…not to mention going without mail for days (DOGS OUT written across letters), we decided to put a mailbox a couple of feet outside the dog fence.

The dogs still bark and the mailwoman is still jumpy (the invisible fence is sorta like faith), but we’ve gotten our mail finally.

Also on the list is prepping our garden for summer. We’re doubling the size this year, that means digging out sod and filling it with a good mixture of compost, top soil, and peat moss. Not that there’s much of a science to it, but the Vander Veen family is getting good at creating compost (even if the kitchen compost is mostly egg shells and coffee grinds).

Anyway, digging out sod turned up a lot of gooey earthworms that the robins loved. Today Kelly found a huge earthworm trying in vain to climb out of the garden pit.

“Cooooool Papi!” she yelled.

Seeing what was bound to happen, I said, “Kelly, please don’t taste or smell the earthworm.” (See sense cycling).

Sometimes with Kelly the verbal (corrective) prompts arrive way too late to compute against the quirks hardwired in the mind. In her brain, I was already tardy in my request.

Picking it up, Kelly managed to (just) not lick the squirming worm. She did, however, cup it in her hands and take a good snort. For a brief second I envisioned a slimy earthworm plugging up her nostril – a wormy mustache of sorts. But no, having snorted, she threw the worm towards the woodpile.

“Kelly,” I said. “I need you to stop sniffing things. Please.” She was having a particularly sniffing day. By afternoon she had sniffed concrete, asphalt, grass, a mailbox, and a weed-wacker.

“Okay Papi!” She said with the biggest smile.

That’s the thing, it’s exasperating but cute at the same time. And a little funny.




There are few more head banging, frustrating, pull-out-your-hair UGGHHH moments than trying to teach your child a SIMPLE concept and them positively, absolutely, rapturously and completely NOT getting it.

Ren and I have spent 3 hours¹ teaching Kelly to read the word the.

THE is a black-hole in the neurons of Kelly’s mind. She uses it every day. Correctly. She just can’t read it. It becomes THIS, THEY, and (weirdly) WHATHOW.

We strategize. We plead. We threaten (I know, bad parents). I come up with funny faces and song notes (this helps, a little). We praise when she gets close (whathow).

But sometimes that mental block just ain’t moving.

So we try again tomorrow. And she’ll get it right on the first knock.


¹This is not an exaggeration.



Kelly hates broccoli (Monica’s not fond of it either).

Kelly also has food issues. She asks, regularly, what’s next for breakfast, lunch, or dinner (I know, sometimes this makes me want to cry.)

After asking, like, the 400th time, she and I started this game.

Kelly: “Papi, what’s for dinner?”

Papi: “Your favorite. We’re having pan fried Broccoli!”

Kelly – with lots of laughter: “Noooooo. I hate broccoli. What are we really having for dinner.”

Papi: “Broiled broccoli!”

And continue in a fun manner.

Now please don’t think bad of me, but I recently viewed Jimmy Kimmel’s I gave my kids a terrible present part 2 and completely busted out laughing a few times. Broccoli is a very bad Christmas gift.