As you know, my daughter Lisa, and her husband Karel, have just had their third child, Zora. Petra, their oldest child (5), has some understanding that Zora came from her mother’s tummy. Milan (3) is pretty clueless.
A few weeks before Lisa was scheduled to give birth, Karel returned to his teaching duties. Among other things, he teaches biology. He decided that it would be a good learning experience for his students to incubate live chicken eggs, and watch the tiny little beings emerge from their individual eggs. Petra and Milan frequently went with Karel to school during the weekends to make sure the chicks were maturing properly in the eggs. They adjusted the incubator temperature and that sort of thing.
During this time, Zora came into the world and she is now home. Petra and Milan love to hold her. Coincidentally, the chicks hatched this week. Below, see the photo of Milan and Petra reacting to the brood of chicks that have made their startling appearance in Karel’s lab. Notice Milan’s facial expression.
Now, go back in time with me to 1980. My first wife, Verdella, is not feeling well and she has gained a little weight. Because she is tall, a bit of extra weight is not apparent on her long frame. Verdella goes to see the local doctor. He makes a referral to an OB/GYN in Lincoln because “your uterus just doesn’t feel right.”
Verdella decides to take Marne (about 8) and Lisa (about 5) with her to see the OB/GYN in Lincoln. After the visit, the three of them will do something fun in the big city. When they arrive at the doctor’s office, the children, who are all dressed up, sit quietly in the waiting room paging through books for children as Verdella sees the doctor. An ultrasound quickly shows why Verdella is not feeling well and has gained a little weight. She is pregnant with our son Keller.
Verdella is stunned and surprised. We had no plans to have a third child. Collecting herself, she walks into the waiting room and sits down with the children. The shock shows on her face. Marne asks her mom what is wrong. Verdella says she is “pregnant.” Marne asks Verdella to tell her what “pregnant” means. Verdella patiently explains and includes a passing reference to the “egg.” Lisa is silent. Both children seem perfectly satisfied with Verdella’s explanation and off everyone goes to the car.
As they are walking to the car, little Lisa asks Marne: “Is Mom going to have a chicken?” Marne looks down, and sternly informs Lisa, “If Mom has a chicken, we’ll love it anyway.” At that point, Verdella burst out laughing and crying at the same time.
Some things are more important than others.
While I was in Sioux City, Lisa, Petra and Milan arrived in Lincoln from China for a short visit. Dad, Karel, will meet up with them in Canada in a few days and the family will celebrate X-Mas in the north country. Yesterday, I tagged along while the children visited Morrill Hall on the campus of the University of Nebraska.
Morrill Hall is a wonder. Among many other treasurers, the world’s largest exhibited mammoth skeleton, a 14-foot male, can be found on display in Morrill Hall. It is from the Late Pleistocene Era. The giant mammoth was found in 1922, near where I used to practice law, in Lincoln County, Nebraska, by a rancher and his wife. They turned the fossil over to the Museum for exhibit and research.
We had a great time. Photos of our adventure follow.
Scary good (particularly when your four-year old teeth look a lot like the dinosaur’s teeth):
There are real mountain lions in Nebraska (and some times they eat children from China):
Concrete beasts, creatures in trees and lakes filled with fishes at Si Hai Park in the middle of Shekou.
Earlier this week, I wrote about Billfish and boys. I continue in that same vein in this post.
Like their punk rock forefathers, our two grandsons are shown below contemplating the fun they will have tormenting Petra, Fletcher’s cousin and Milan’s sister, when Fletcher blows into Shenzhen and joins up with Milan in the next several days. There is nothing more fun than twisting the heads off Princess dolls. If you do it just right, they seem to squeal.
Grampa warns: Hide your Princess dolls and take shelter P. The boys are back in town!
Boyo (R. Keller Kopf, PhD) is in Taiwan speaking about Billfish. He doesn’t get paid much in his gig as a post-doctoral research fellow at Charles Sturt University in Australia, but he does get to travel to neat places.
Among other things, he will give a talk in Taipei on “Latitudinal Life-History Gradients in a Highly Migratory Species.” I am sure it’ll be great, but I am also positive that you can’t dance to it.
After that, Keller and his family will fly to Hong Kong and then enter the mainland to visit with Lisa and her family. Fletcher–Keller and Stacey’s yellow-haired boy–and Milan–Lisa and Karel’s “baby Buddha”–will have a great time together pestering Petra, Milan’s older sister, by pulling the heads off her Princess dolls. (I taught them how to do that!) They will race around expending never-ending energy. Just thinking about those two makes me tired.
Some things are more important than others.