Lightning bugs or fireflies?

Here in the South, they’re lightning bugs.

logo designOne of the clearest memories I have of when I was 4 or 5 is when I stayed out late to catch lightning bugs. Dad claimed that he used to catch lightning bugs when he was a kid and put them in a jar, and that’s how he had enough light to read at night.

I’m pretty sure he was kidding.

Anyway, I saw my first lightning bug of the year tonight. We were driving home after Game 1 of Thing 1’s softball tournament. (It was ugly, but we won 11-7.)

Thing 1 saw them first, then Thing 2, then I did. School’s out, it was in the 90s today, but seeing those lightning bugs really made it feel like summer.

Photo by jamelah (Flickr)

Quiz: Should you have kids?

baby bentrup
Image by paparutzi via Flickr

I was talking to a friend the other day who’s thinking of having kids.

She said she didn’t think she wanted kids, but she’s almost 40, and she loves babysitting her nieces, and, well, she’s thinking maybe she wants kids after all.

I told her what it’s like, being a parent, and, I feel bad about this, but I think I might have talked her out of having kids. I didn’t mean to. I just asked her some questions, like these. Select all answers that apply, then add up the points.

Do you like sleep?

  • Absolutely, at least 8 straight hours a night. (-5 points)
  • No, I actually kind of like watching reruns of “Family Ties” at 3 a.m. on a weeknight. (+5 points)

On weekends, you like to (select all that apply):

  • Sleep in. (-20 points)
  • Grab a cup of coffee and read the paper. (-10 points)
  • Work in the yard/garden. (-5 points)
  • Make dinner based on whatever looked good at the Farmer’s Market. (-30 points)
  • Run errands. (0 points.)
  • Do a week’s worth of dishes. (+10 points)
  • Get a kid in his soccer uniform for team pictures at 8:30, grab a muffin, be back at the soccer fields for a game at 10, drive 45 minutes to the older kid’s softball game at 1, swing by Target after the game for a birthday present for a classmate’s birthday, run home so the older kid can change, take her to the classmate’s birthday party, do your weekly grocery shopping, pick up the older kid, grill hot dogs for supper, work in the yard, fall asleep by 9:30. (+15 points)

Your dream vacation is:

  • A two-week backpacking adventure in someplace like Vietnam. (-50 points)
  • A week in a big city, shopping and soaking up culture. (-15 points)
  • A week at Disney World. (0 points)
  • Visiting your parents or in-laws. (+5 points)
  • Visiting any relative willing to provide free babysitting. (+10 points)

When you eat out, you like:

  • Something good, like Ethiopian food. (-50 points)
  • Sushi. (-20 points)
  • Anyplace with big-screen TVs and ESPN. (-5 points)
  • McDonald’s.  (0 points)
  • Someplace that lets you draw on the menus. (+5 points)
True or false: The parents are in charge, so they get to decide where the family eats.
  • True. (-2o points)
  • True, technically, but if they’re smart, they’ll pick something the kids would like. (+5 points)

How many times a day could you listen to this song?

  • Make it stop. (-20 points)
  • It’s OK for kids to use headphones, right? (-10 points)
  • Meh. (0 points)
  • You know, that’s not a bad song. (+5 points)
  • I actually kind of like it. (+10 points)
  • “Go, captain, go  … go, captain, go … go, Captain Feathersword, ahoy!” (+20 points)

Answer key

  • 20 points or more: You’re as ready as you’ll ever be.
  • 0 to 19 points: Get a cat first, see how that works out.
  • 0 points or less: You should not have kids.

Three days until spring

It’s 7 o’clock Thursday night, and I’m at softball practice.

The girls are warming up. Lots of little brothers and sisters are running around playing, laughing. It’s 71 degrees, there’s a nice sunset and a three-quarters moon rising, and, right now, I’ve got no complaints.

Softball practice. The girls are warming up. Lots of little brothers and sisters are running around, playing. It’s 71, there’s a nice sunset and a three-quarters moon rising. I got no complaints.