5 For Friday: Go Ask Daddy About DaVinci Paintings, Salmonella Spritzers and Fishy Sensory Issues

My kids are, like, worldly.

Not worldly, in the sense that they eat caviar and listen to NPR. They know stuff. Or at least, they know stuff to ask about. Heavy stuff, like, art. And things that lead to salmonella. And inquiries of arachnid origin.

OK, so maybe that doesn’t make them worldly. But Elise did almost invent the iPhone, Marie organized a stamp-out-school-lunch petition, and Grace learned to play the recorder with the wrong hands in the wrong places, and re-learned it all to put her right hands in the right places.

These are the kids who wondered about horses’ safety in water polo, didn’t know San Francisco was in California, and laid down with me to watch a movie on the couch, then asked, “dad, why is everything sideways?

“Because you’re sideways, lovey.”



Let’s get to questions.

1. Where is the Mona Lisa?

She’s all the heck over Pinterest, as a frazzled-haired teacher with bugged-out eyes, a toothy rendition titled “Mona Teetha,” and even a picture of her with milk jug in hand and milk mustache, captioned, “Got Milk?” The painting has been stolen and had acid thrown on it over the years.

Because this Leonardo Da Vinci painting is so famous, it’s often parodied and targeted. This is not unlike Beethoven’s ninth symphony, final movement, which has been used to pimp everything from Bruce Willis movies to fiber products for regular bowel movements.

The actual painting, oil on poplar, circa 1503-1519, is on permanent display at the Musee de Louvre in Paris. If you don’t want to mess with the French, you can always download this Mona Lisa pumpkin-carving pattern I found online.

2. How do people comment on your blog?

With disdain, disappointment and malice.

Not true. My commenters are very considerate, and I appreciate every single one. There’s widget thing I can add that creates a whole new set of fields for comments, but it seemed kind of complicated. I want to keep it simple. All they have to do is enter their name, their email address (which is never shared), and if they want, a link to their own blog or website.

Unless you’re the two Russian spammers who have subscribed to my blog. I know them by creative usage of the English language and lots of links to shady websites. Prevyet, comrades!

3. Do people put raw eggs in water, then drink it?

It’s a boneless chicken spritzer.

Get it? Boneless chicken?

OK. Eggs have lots of carbs, and are a good source of protein and good fat. When you cook an egg, it lessens those nutritional values. You know, like raw vegetables, which are better for you when you eat them raw. You get all the benefits that nature intended for the chicken embryo.

But because nature doesn’t care for those who eat chicken embryos, nature invented salmonella.

Let’s stick with scrambled egg burritos, shall we?

4. Are tarantulas poisonous?

I think most people don’t leave them on their skin long enough to find out.

When you have hairy legs and big fangs, you don’t make many fans. Luckily, I have no fangs. Tarantulas are disgustingly venomous: They stalk their pray, leap on it, and sink their hollow fangs into it. The venom liquefies all its prey’s guts. Voila: It’s bug stew, a la tarantula.

Tarantulas get a bad rep from being big and creepy, and liquefying bugs’ guts, but unless you’re allergic, a tarantula bite is no worse than a bee sting.

5. Do fish have ears?


Fish have ears inside their heads, which is sort of like having an umbrella in your car when it starts raining while you shop. Kinda useless. Fish instead use lateral lines on their sides to sense changes in water pressure. I kind of wish people had these too, or at least you girls did, when you play soccer.

Only, your lateral lines can tell you when a kid from Mt. Pleasant or Odell is bearing down on you with cleats high. Can you imagine? You’d be all ducking and weaving and making kids miss when you had the ball. Oh wait … you do that already. Maybe you already have lateral lines.

Just don’t grow any hollow tarantula fangs, and we’re good.

Raising Humans Guest Post: 5 things I Never Thought I’d Do (That I Do Now Because of My Children)

Hello, friends,

Please join me as I welcome Tricia, author of Raising Humans, as a guest blogger today.

Tricia combines masterfully a tender heart and inquisitive mind on her blog, as she examines the journey of motherhood that has recently expanded to two kids. Tricia has a wonderful ability to both live in the moment, and contemplate what it all means in the grand scheme of learning to raise humans.

Please check out her blog. You’ll be glad you did!


There is always such a stark contrast between one’s life without children and one’s life as a parent. As a child-free adult, I had no reason but to think that I could make all of my own decisions and do only the things I really want to do because I’m an adult now and nobody is the boss of me and why would I do anything different than exactly what I want?

And then my children arrived, proving before they were even born, that they are now the masters. And what I want to do (or don’t want to do) has little role to play in the course of our day.

And so, I share five things I never thought I’d do that I now do regularly, because of my children.

1. Lay my hands on raw chicken

Yes, raw chicken seems like an odd place to start any list. But earlier today, I stood in my kitchen, cutting a raw chicken breast and preparing it for dinner. And this post was born.

Raw chicken and I don’t have much of a history together. Because of the consistency alone, not to mention the occasional vein and a fear of salmonella, I’ve kept my distance. At most, I’d slide one of those little slime balls from its package to a plastic bag for marinating – all without ever coming into direct contact. Usually I just made pasta. A lot of pasta.

But little bodies need protein and exposure to new foods and flavors and, as much as my daughter would love it, we can’t eat pasta every day. And so for her, and someday her brother, I now touch raw chicken on at least a weekly basis.

2. Blog

My roommate in college kept a ‘web log’ (remember when that’s what we called it?). At the time, I remember thinking that writing on a web log seemed like such an odd thing to do. Why not just keep a journal? I was convinced, then, that my life would never be interesting enough for people to want to read my words about it.

And then, my children arrived, bringing with them stories to tell. Suddenly, it was all I could do not to write for people to read and connect. Suddenly blogging went from odd pastime to my primary method of making sense of this wild and crazy journey of motherhood and connecting with others on parallel journeys.

3. Cry at everything (including commercials)

I’ve never been one to cry at movies or books. I walked out of The Notebook with dry eyes and my makeup all in place and a bit of concern that maybe I am just all cold inside.

Then I had kids. And suddenly, I see two kids running through the park on a sunny day and I’m blinking back tears.

The world becomes a much more emotional place once the littles that you carefully nested inside you, arms circling around big bulging belly, and then lovingly pushed into the world, screaming and helpless, begin wandering around on legs of their own. Suddenly you are raw from the emotion and exhausted from the psychically taxing and overwhelmed with the love and everything scratches more easily and deeply than it used to.

And so when that Dad hands the keys to his Subaru to his little girl who has been adorably playing with the seat belt while he tells her to drive carefully and then suddenly she’s a teenager? I’m a puddle.

4. Eat healthy foods

Before kids, the delivery people at several local restaurants did not need directions to get to our house. They knew us well.

Now? Now I hold little contests for myself to see how many super foods I can cram into one meal. I’m well versed in when to buy organic, what develops little brains the best, and what a balanced diet should look like. Wholesome dinners and carefully packed lunches and I wonder where I spent all my time before, when lunch was a cup of coffee and dinner required little more than a phone call.

5. Celebrate every moment

For my children, even Monday mornings are a reason to celebrate. Please don’t let them enter the grind of week days spent pining for the weekend and saving the special dress for the special occasion or keeping the fancy stickers for a special project. I’ve lived so many days waiting and reserving for a more special day. And so, for them, I now throw reservations to the wind. We go out for milkshakes to celebrate that it’s Wednesday and we wear our fancy party dresses just because it’s Thursday. Because of my children, I look for the good in Monday morning.

And, because of them, more often than not, I find it.


Tricia is a mom and a freelance writer, finding opportunities for growth in the most amazing places. Read about her growing triumphs and pains as she walks along this journey called motherhood on her blog, Raising Humans.