My favourite people to be around right now – while the world is filled with so much uncertainty, worry, and hand sanitiser – are my brothers.
Crumb and Nugget (not their real names) are 10 and 7. They’re not afraid to ask questions or challenge why things are the way they are and have kept our home filled with laughter and impromptu dance parties no matter what we read in the news.
Here’s what’s been going on under our roof.
Me: I think Mom called you.
Nugget, 7: Yes, I heard her.
Me: Are you going?
Nugget: No. I need the day off.
Back in May, we watched the SpaceX launch. Since then, we’ve had many conversations about the Earth and beyond. Here are the question highlights: “What colour is the sky on Mars?”, “Do you think astronauts miss hamburgers?”, “Why don’t people live on the Moon?” and my favourite, “Is the Space Station big enough to carry a dinosaur?”
Crumb, 10: Okay, dad. I want this game and you want me to clean my room. Let’s negotiate.
When lockdown hit in South Africa, the boys’ schooling moved online. While Crumb enjoyed learning about ancient Egypt, the human skeleton, and symmetry lines from home, Nugget wasn’t always as enthused.
Nugget: Sometimes I wish I could go back to school.
Mom: Do you miss your friends?
Nugget: No, but when my teacher shouts in class I’m not the only one in trouble.
Nugget: Do you remember that time we had donuts?
Crumb: We always have donuts.
Nugget: Let’s do it again.
Crumb is always thinking up new business ideas. When he was 5 or 6, he enlisted my help in making a poster and sat on our driveway, selling sticks he found in the park to our neighbourhood. More recently, he started talking about selling our excess banana trees and chili plants and struck a deal with his brother to start a card-making business after lockdown. (Anyone in search of a birthday card?)
Crumb: Do you have 10 minutes? I’d like to teach you about the lifecycle of the butterfly.
Nugget, sighing: Fine.
Nugget: Are you finished your work?
Me: Not yet.
Nugget: When will it end? I need to play a game of Monopoly.
Me: Play with Crumb so long.
Nugget, crossing his arms: I need you to play so we can take him down. I can’t do it alone.
Crumb: It’s kind of crazy to think I’m almost 11.
Me: You’re growing up so fast.
Crumb: And next year, I’ll be 12.
Nugget: I’ll be 8.
Crumb, looking back at me: And you’ll be old.
Me: Not that old.
Crumb: That’s debatable.
While Nugget and I were doing homework one afternoon, I asked him to turn on the laptop. He promptly shook his head and picked up a notebook: No thanks. I want to do things the old-fashioned way.
Have your children (or the ones around you) said anything funny recently?
P.S. Other Things My Brothers Say.
(Dinosaur illustration artist unknown.)