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Thursday, June 7, 2007

solar system side splitter

i'm not much of a packrat, but i do tend to hang on to the little maps and inserts that come with our national geographic magazines. recently i hung up a map of the states and a poster depicting the 9 planets (or eight now that they've decided to exclude poor pluto) at the kid's eye level. i don't necessarily expect my 2 and 4 year olds to become astronomical and geographical geniuses, but i figured it might be something interesting for them to look at or talk about.

today as i was stretching, ilya kept trying to insinuate himself into my lap. he's a relentless little thing, and eventually i gave up stretching and just let him sit in my lap. being that we were right in front of the posters, he began to point at the eight planets (and two planetoids) stating that he "liked the pretty erfs." i explained to him that they're not all "earths" and we started to go through all their names. he repeated after me pretty clearly, even doing his best to say "earth" instead of "erf," until we got to every little kid's favorite planet--uranus.

"saturn," i said clearly and slowly, pointing out the rings for reference.
"oh, saturn!" he repeated, and i smiled benevolently.
"uranus," i stated, pointing out the greenish-blue ball.
"MY ANUS??" he said loudly, looking at me with confusion. "it's MY ANUS??"
"no," i said, choking back laughter. "it's called 'uranus'."
"oh," he said, affecting a manner to suggest he finally understood. "it's YOUR anus. not MY anus. YOUR anus."

now, i try to make it a point not to laugh at my kids when they're trying to learn something, (although i have no scruples about laughing when they do something ridiculous in general) but i just couldn't hold it in any longer. anus is a funny word. you can't name a planet uranus without tickling the humor of those of us whose internal fourth grader is still alive and barely repressed. i couldn't help it. i got the worst giggles, which gave him the worst giggles. and of course (as those of you who have had or have four year olds can expect) he started saying "your anus! my anus!" over and over trying to keep the laughter alive. eventually i had to tell him to knock it off, but still. it was funny.

i'm fairly sure uranus was some greek god or something, given the names of all the planets, so it's not like you can blame some near-sighted scientist for giving that aqua orb a bad name; still, i kind of like that i can laugh every time i recite the names of the planets.

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