Monthly Archives: March 2014

Enquiring Minds Want to Know: Questions My Toddler Asks Me

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Toddlers have a bad reputation of asking incessant “why” questions. In fact, that is not true. They ask all manner of questions. To wit, today, my 3.95-year-old toddler asked me the following–

All today. No fictionalization or fillers necessary here. In this order, from eyes open to eyes shut.).

(I will not describe the context to you for these questions, but feel free to imagine what you will)–

Can you come cuddle with me so I can wipe my boogers on you?

Why do you look so funny with your clothes off?

Can you carry me downstairs with one hand?

Can you carry me downstairs with one finger?

Why do these Cheez-Its smell like cheese?

What are my choices for breakfast? And what else? And what else? And what else? And what else?

Can we go to Montreal today? And Disney World? And England?

Can I wear these socks again?

Can I wear pajamas to school?

Can we have Pajama Day again?

Can I wear your slippers to school?

Can you have a Pajama Day at your school?

How come you don’t hold your penis when you pee?

Are you a boy?

Can I be a Ninja Turtle for Purim?

Can you be a boy?

Is today tomorrow?

Can I be Batman for Purim?

Why does your pee come out of your bum?

Can I have some coffee?

Can I be a doctor and a monster and a hockey player and a challah when I grow up?

Why can’t you go through a red light?

Why did you pick me up from school?

Can I eat the candy from the floor?

WHY did you flush my poo????? (waaaaaaaah)

Can you read me the book that makes you cry?

Can I come into your bed tonight and sleep on your head?

. . .

And then we said goodnight. And as Scarlett declared, Tomorrow is another day.

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To freshmen, I am ancient: proof

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Earlier this week, I screened the 1927 film, Old San Francisco for my seminar.  In class this morning, I asked my students if they recognized any of the actors. My students figured out (likely by way of imdb) that the Swedish actor, Warner Oland, playing evil Chinese Chris Buckwell, was the same actor who played the rigidly Orthodox cantor in The Jazz Singer, which came out a month later (we watched that film, too). But no one recognized Dolores Costello, who plays the beautiful and chaste Dolores Vasquez, set up by the film as the rightful proprietress of Californian lands, by virtue of being descended from Spanish Conquistadors (the film brilliantly elides San Francisco’s history as part of Mexico, casting Dolores as a pureblood European, and a contrast to the other sketchy ethnic types who try to take possession of her rancho and the rest of the city–only to be crushed by the 1906 earthquake).

dolores_costelloOK, I didn’t actually expect them to recognize her (even if she was the Goddess of the Silent Screen), but I wanted to see if anyone noticed a family resemblance to another actress.

I gave them a few facts about Dolores Costello: “She was the daughter of actors.”

“She was married to an actor.”

“She was the mother of an actor.”

“She was the grandmother of an actress — who is still acting today. Can anyone guess who that actress today is?”

Nothing.

Then: “She’s about my age. And she was a child actress. I am willing to bet everyone has seen, if not some of her recent romantic comedies, one of the films she did as a kid. It was a very famous movie. I saw it as a kid when it was out in the theater, but it’s a classic. You would have seen it.”

One student confirmed: “She was a kid when you were a kid?”

Me: “Yes.”

Silence while they all thought and thought (and held their googling fingers back).

I didn’t break the silence. I waited. And finally, the student who clarified the actress’s contemporaneity with me, piped up with a knowing response:

Shirley Temple!

?????????????????????

. . . the ’30s star who died this past month, at the age of 85.

Giant sigh. If you know the number of a good plastic surgeon, it seems I need it. Send it my way!