Thursday, September 12, 2013

Secret Identity(ies)

Originally uploaded by Ryan Claycomb
Do you have a secret identity? Do you ever worry that it will be discovered/uncovered? Here’s a tip: don’t stop at ONE secret identity . Get 12. That way, if people unmask you once, you’ve still got more secret identities to fall back on. Here are some that are already taken:
Red Sting-y Man
Zoom (he’s very fast!)
Mister of the Earth (no, not Master of the Earth. Mister of the Earth. He throws the earth at bad guys)
Fire Man
Water Man
Purple Arrow
Marshmellow Man (he throws marshmellows at bad guys, which may not sound bad, but they are marshmellows that are STILL ON FIRE)
and that all-American superhero, Mustard Man.
With the power of Magnificent Mustard and Ketchup Man at his side, Mustard Man seeks to free the world from the evil Robot Hot Dog.
Seriously, folks. We could not make this stuff up.

The Queen of Sunday School

Lilah eatin' noodles
Originally uploaded by Ryan Claycomb
Ryan and I volunteered to run a new Sunday School program at our church for kids in grades 4-6. We figured that not only do we provide the population base for this group ourselves, but our twins are too old to be coloring pictures of Jesus and gluing fish to them. Time for some serious Bible study. (Gulp.)
There will be more stories about this venture, certainly, but this is the first one: Picture four kids in a room with three adults. A blond boy with long skinny, scabby legs sits on the sofa with his arm spring-loaded to answer every question (yes, that’s Collin), another boy sits beside him, quiet, respectful, with a glint of mischief in his eye. A lovely, shy girl sits on the other side of the sectional sofa, her blue eyes watchful. And in a seat at the table with the teacher (who forgot to say that this was not an acceptable place to sit) lounges Annie Hall in all her menswear-sporting glory, slouched down, one foot cocked up on her opposite knee.
We do introductions, soft voices abounding, murmurs of, “My name is --- and my hobby is, umm, ----.”
Then it’s her turn (she makes sure she goes last, to pull off the big finish.)
“My name Lilah, but you can call me Awesome Sauce. My hobby is not eating breakfast. But when I do eat breakfast, I eat—(she waits a beat, because comedy is all about the timing) Awesome Sauce.”



So Collin, lover of football, Percy Jackson, and Harry Potter, is convinced he is destined for Gryffindor House at Hogwarts. He even proudly wears a shirt proclaiming as much these days. But sometimes I wonder . . .
For his birthday, Collin was given the option of a party with local friends or a trip to D.C. with mom and some special things with one friend whom he doesn’t get to see very often. He opted for D.C. and the plan was dinner out, a sleepover (in our hotel room!), then breakfast (pancakes! Bacon!) and a trip to a Lego store together.
When we learned that his friend Parker has a soccer game on Saturday morning, I explained to Collin that we could still do most things, but we’d likely have to end with breakfast (and do a lower-key breakfast than planned, so Parker didn’t pass out from sugar shock ON the soccer field). He thought about this for a minute.
“So he couldn’t go to the Lego store with me?”
“Well, we could go, but not with Parker, probably. The store isn’t open before his game.”
“How long is Parker’s soccer game?”
“Probably about an hour.”
“So, I could watch it and THEN you could take us to the Lego store together . . . and then maybe we could have LUNCH together even?”
“You really want to just sit and watch your friend play soccer for an hour just so you can take him to a store to buy him some Lego?”
(Shrug.) “Sure.”

Monday, June 18, 2012

Ian Claycomb is Three!

Ian Claycomb is Three!
Originally uploaded by Ryan Claycomb
Ian Claycomb celebrates being 3

Friday June 15

10:00 a.m. I have a cold! Get stool from the bathroom, carry it to the tissue box in the
living room. Remove as many tissues as I can before Mommy catches me.

12:00 p.m. Go to grocery store with Mommy. Run shrieking down the aisles: “You
can’t get me! You can’t get me! I running away!”

1:30 p.m.Refuse to take nap.

2:00 p.m.Refuse to take nap.

2:30 p.m.Refuse to take nap.

3:00 p.m.Make cookies with Mommy. Yumm! Eat chocolate chips whenever
Mommy’s back is turned. Then turn the mixer on while blade is up, not in
the bowl. Spray entire kitchen and myself with cookie dough. “Mommy!
I all sticky!”

3:15 p.m.Mommy says I can’t help make cookies any more. Get rolling pin out of
drawer instead. Attempt to roll cat flat with rolling pin.

4:00 p.m.Remove my diaper. Pee on the floor. “Mommy! I peed on the floor!
Clean it!”

4:15 p.m.Remove my diaper again. Pee on the floor and the sofa. “Mommy! I
peed again! I did! Clean it!”

7:30 p.m.Bedtime. Hit Mommy in the leg with Batman action figure.

7:31 p.m.Mommy says I get no books at bedtime tonight because I hit her. Time for
huge temper tantrum.

7:35 p.m.Mommy goes away and Daddy comes in to put me to bed. “No Daddy!
Not you! Go away!”

Saturday June 16

5:30 a.m.Wake up time! “Mommy, wake up!”

10:30 a.m.Fall off chair outside in back yard and scrape my arm. “It hurts! It hurts!
I need a bandaid! I need medicine! It hurts! No I don’t LIKE the
bandaid! It hurts! My very bad cut hurts!”

12:30 p.m. Stick pea up my nose. Try to get it out and push it up further. Mommy
gets a tissue and makes me blow my nose. The pea comes out. Daddy
says not to ever do that again.

1:00 p.m.Refuse to take nap

1:30 p.m.Refuse to take nap

2:00 p.m.Refuse to take nap.

2:30 p.m.Refuse to take nap. Accidentally lock myself in my room.

3:00 p.m.Scissors! I love to cut things with scissors! Can I cut the cat?

6:30 p.m.Dinner time. I eat waffle with sprinkles on it. Tip the waffle up so the
sprinkles all fall off into my mouth. Many sprinkles fall on the floor.

Sunday Jun 17

8:30 a.m.Eat muffins. Spill crumbs in six-foot radius around chair. Sit on
chocolate chip and get big smear of chocolate on my shorts.

8:35 a.m.Mommy takes my shorts. “Give them back! No! I need my shorts!”

8:36 a.m.Mommy puts my shorts back on me. They have a wet spot! I do not like
my shorts! “Take them off! Put them in the laundry!”

9:00 a.m.Pretend to be a giant. Stomp around the house shouting “Boom! Boom!”
Giants are bad. They hit things. I hit something! I hit Daddy.

9:01 a.m.Say sorry to Daddy for hitting. Daddy says to go play in my room. Go to
bathroom instead, get out Lilah’s lipstick. Paint lipstick all over myself,
my clothes, my diaper, the floor . . . the lipstick breaks off in a big chunk.
Lilah comes in. She says I was very naughty.

9:05 a.m.Take bath.

1:00 p.m.Refuse to take nap.

1:30 p.m.Refuse to take nap.

2.:00 p.m.Try to climb Mommy and pull both her and her chair over onto the floor.
Mommy screams and falls down. Lilah starts to cry. Daddy comes in and
says I was naughty. “What I do?”

3:00 p.m.Play board game with Collie and Lilah. Lie on game board and kick all
pieces in all directions with my feet. This is a very fun game.

4:30 p.m.Collie and Lilah and Mommy are on the porch. They are reading a book.
I want to read a book with them. Try to go out on the porch with them.
Accidentally lock them on the porch.

7:00 p.m.Take bath. Pee in the bath. Attempt to drink the bathwater.

8:00 p.m.Bedtime. Mommy snuggles in my rocking chair with me. She is sleepy.
I am not sleepy at all. I do not need to go night-night. I am not sleepy . . .

Thursday, March 1, 2012


Originally uploaded by Ryan Claycomb
Ian, aged 2.7 and Molly, feline aged 14, sitting on sofa.
Ian: (petting Molly gently, with tremendous restraint) I pet her!
Molly: (glowers)
Ian: (patting Molly’s back, again with a restraint unusual for him) I pat her back! I pat her fur!
Molly: (glowers)
Ian: (bending to peer into Molly’s eyes) She has lellow eyes! They are lellow!
Molly: (glowers)
Ian: (with great daring, bends further and kisses Molly on the head) Molly and me are getting married! We are getting married! I kiss her!
Molly: (glowers)


Originally uploaded by Ryan Claycomb
We love Collin. He is smart and funny and incredibly energetic and outgoing and polite and a huge fan of my homemade desserts.
But man, when that kid wants to have a temper tantrum!
The other night he gave me his Social Studies review sheet to look over. I noted that he had been asked to name 2 continents. This seemed a bit facile, so I asked him to name some more.
“Noooooo! I only have to name two!”
“But you can name more.”
“Well, on the paper you do, but I know you probably name all of them. Name a couple more. For me.”
“Mommmyyyy!” And he threw himself against the kitchen cabinets so dramatically that—get this—he lost his footing, slid down the cabinet face, caught his pajama top on the door handle and then split his own lip on the top edge of said door handle, promptly smearing blood all over the cabinet and the floor and bursting into tears.
I picked him up, got him some ice in a washcloth, and hugged him close. Then I leaned down and whispered, “Hey Coll? I’m still going to make you name more continents.”
“NOOO!” he wailed, drooling blood.
I didn’t say anything. He sighed.
“Fine. Africa, North America, South America, and Antartica.”
Was that so hard?


Originally uploaded by Ryan Claycomb
Notes from the first drama class:
So Lilah and Collin are enrolled in drama class this Spring. Collin was reluctant but seems pleasantly surprised at how much physical energy the class demands of him. Lilah is in her element. A story shall illustrate.
On the first day, the children were divided into two groups and each group did an impromptu rendition of a familiar fairy tale. They chose Goldilocks and the Three Bears and The Three Little Pigs. After some 20 minutes of practice that seemed to involved a lot of giggling, they presented these scenes to the watching parents.
The first group set the tone, which was mono, as it were. The children mumbled their lines (“This porridge is too hot.”) except for Collin, who employed a squeaky voice as Baby Bear. But they all seemed shyly pleased to be going through the motions. Goldilocks did a great deal of vague pantomiming of eating, sitting, then lying down, all at high speed, and at the end the bears gleefully chased her off the stage.
The second group started in much the same vein, with three diffident little pigs standing in a line and the first one shuffling a few steps away to begin “building” her straw house.
Then the wolf appeared.
Snarling, limping like a maimed serial killer, his face contorted and his voice a creepy blend of Russian gangster and cartoon villain, he approached the bewildered pig.
“Leetle pig, leetle pig, let me in!” he spat.
The pig shook her head.
“Then I weeel huffff and puff and blow your house eeen!” Cried the wolf, and proceeded to do so dramatically.
At the end of this skit, the pigs lit a fire in the fireplace and when the wolf slid down the chimney, he burned his bottom. He let out a whoop, clapped his hands to his rear end, and pranced off-stage.
I venture to say that I was not the only audience member struck by this stunning performance. The parents all around me were in stitches. The wolf was quite pleased with her audience response.
And thus, a star is born.