Saturday, February 23, 2008

Vehicular imaginations

Imaginations run wild in the van during long trips. With nothing more than a bit of food and a box of kleenex, the kids managed to amuse themselves for hours with wild stories and entertainment of various sorts. Here's a sample of the entertainment during today's 8-hour drive.

Photo (left): Moaning Myrtle in her kleenex wedding gown, with her fiancé the Water King, wearing his fetching toilet-paper tuxedo, dancing as finger-puppets. Costume assembly took quite some time, with the tuxedo proving the main challenge.

Noah tells me that in Euwy World, bedtime stories are dramatic readings of chicken DNA. Chicken DNA? I ask. Yes, he says, providing me with a sample quote, pronounced as if it were a single word: "CTAGATTCAGTGGATGATCCACTAGAAT."

Erin and Sophie spend an hour or more doing dramatic readings from the juice and milk cartons, inventing many vitamins in the process and explaining that good sources of Vitamin S are squids, snails and slugs, and that it's not a coincidence that these are all "S" animals, because before scientists name new species, they put the animal in a blender and then do a vitamin analysis of the liquefied remains, and name the animal with the letter of the most prominent vitamin.

It is explained that cows are actually birds, not mammals, and that the apparent presence of mammary glands is due to blocked oviducts. The eggs are massive and internal, and as they build up inside they inflate the poor bird to bovine proportions. Leaking eggwhite can be 'milked' from the oviducts. Sophie expresses disgust that cows are not in any of our bird-watching books.

At least two hours are devoted to the mastery and continued embellishment of a rhythmic chant of Harry Potter character names, in the style of this Potter Puppet Pals production. Rather than 6 characters, my kids' version has over two dozen, and they spend a long time notating them, discussing which beats are syncopated, which come after the beat, how many repetitions in each bar, and so on. More rehearsing ensues. I get recruited to help. They manage to keep four or five contrary changing rhythms going at a time, despite much giggling. They christen it the Potterbel Canon.


  1. My girls have had hours of fun in the car with the Harry Potter chants too! Although from the point of view of the driver (me, it does start to wear on ones nerves after a while. Thankfully or drives aren't usually longer than 20 minutes :) and if they are, well I just join in the fun!

  2. Anonymous9:52 am

    My kids sing that song too! It's nice to see (read about) fellow Potter Pal fans :)

    -Jen :) from various homescooling message boards


This blog is moving to archive-only status. Please consider posting comments instead at the active version of the blog at

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.