Monday, September 15, 2008

Fill in the Blanks

Adjective: Gooey

Noun: Plunger

Part of the Body: Elbow


Since moving here to Arizona, this is how many of our family dinners end. No, this is not a regional tradition or an activity mandated by some obscure state law. This is not out of observance of any religious activity. Nor is it because we have some strange vocabulary obsession. This is the result of a school book sale.

It all started about six years ago when my daughter brought home the first book order form of the year from school. With great joy and excitement - and fingers covered in pink marker - she handed me the form telling me about all of the things she wanted to buy. Of course there was the requisite princess book circled, as well as the sheet of butterfly stickers and the horse poster. There were kindergarten level computer games and the book "club", the one that sucks you into a trap of an endless cycle of automatic deliveries that is impossible to end and monthly charges on your credit card that are indisputable and the sheer feeling of helplessness that....(sorry, I may be just a bit bitter over this.) And finally a Mad Lib book.

After much consideration, lasting, oh about a second, I narrowed the list down to one. I figured if we ran out of books for her to read, we could visit the library. We didn't need another reason to sit in front of a media device, so the computer game was out. Not an inch of space left on her bedroom wall so ditch the stickers. The poster...nah! The club, oh no, not the club. So the Mad Lib it was.

After dinner on the day it arrived, we began our first linguistic adventure. Our family of five began taking turns shouting out words to fill in the blanks. Our conversation consisted of words like "toilet", "brazier", "tater-tot", and my husband's favorite,"duck". Each of us would hem and haw and try to find words that out-funnied the last person's words. Before I knew it, mixed in with the "port-a-potty", "neon-green" and "buttocks", there were words like "flamboyant", "amoeba" and "curmudgeon" coming out of my kids mouths. People walking in on our post consumption laugh fest would have thought we were crazy. But, we were there, we were communicating and we were happy.

This tradition has held for quite a while and created some pretty funny memories. For me, the memories it has created are watching my girls grow as their words got bigger, watching them laugh and enjoy each other's company, an six years of just spending time with my girls and my husband. What started out as just a book order, has become an incredible source of bonding for us as a family.

What traditions do you have that bring you closer to your loved ones? How do you spend those few moments when the family is together? What memories are you creating for yourself and your family?

Only you can fill in those blanks.....


  1. Since my kiddos are younger, we do a "best and worst" discussion. At dinner, each person has to tell the best and worst part of each day. Youngest answer is usually best - eating dinner with my family, worst - not going to the park. She's not real original :) My best - varies, worst - often youngest's tantrum of the day. Ah, three year olds...

  2. There are some times when I can get my kids to be that verbal about their days...usually, I can gauge how the day was by attitudes. Kudos to you for being able to get them to open up that specifically!

  3. Ducks are always funny. As are chickens. My two standards! Hopefully not a reflection of my vocab skills! :)


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