Monday, April 13, 2009

Eli 7.8

Lots of Eli 7.8 stories have piled up in the last week or so, and here's one big post with all of them.

After less than two weeks of practice, Eli 7.8 can ride fifteen feet on a unicycle.

This is entirely ridiculous.

I can ride five feet (well, once), and my practice routine consists of falling repeatedly until I get hurt badly enough that some part of me needs to be iced immediately.

I've never used the word "epic" in conjunction with reading. With books, yes, but never with the act of reading.

As of now, that's changed.

On Saturday, Gloria read Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire to Eli. For six hours. It was, unquestionably, epic.

We had agreed that Eli 7.8 could watch the movie, but only after he had finished the book, and he desperately wanted to see the movie on Saturday. That was the source of Saturday's marathon, to finish the book so that he could see the film.

I've always been conflicted about whether he's reading these books too young, but Harry Potter has kind of a weird schism between the first two books and the the rest of the series. Beginning with Prisoner of Azkaban, the series took a much darker turn. After Eli finished the first two books, though, he had so much sweat equity that it would have been totally unfair to tell him to stop. Plus Gloria and I have read the books and seen all the movies, so we know what to expect.

About 7 p.m. last night, while I was writing in my study, I heard shouts from the living room. I opened the door and walked into a huge celebration.

Five minutes later, we were watching the movie.

Clearly, this is going to be remembered as the Harry Potter Easter.

We were all driving to soccer practice last Thursday. Well, actually, Gloria was the only one driving.

"Dad, you do you know a famous composer who died really young?" Eli 7.8 asked.

"Um, my only guess is Mozart," I said.

"That's it!" he said. He's been studying Mozart in music class.

"He was a prodigy," I said. "Do you know what a prodigy is?"

"Yes," he said. "It means he started writing music when he was really young. He wrote his first composition when he was only five! And he learned how to play the piano when he was only three!"

"He was also a genius," I said, "and genius is prolific. He composed an incredible amount of music."

"I know!" he said. "Over three hundred and fifty pieces."

"I read an article once where scientists said that one of the characteristics of genius was incredibly high output," I said. "So someone who writes one great novel in their lifetime might be a great writer, but they're not a genius. Somone like Isaac Asimov, though, was definitely a genius. Have you ever heard of Isaac Asimov?"

"Oh, yeah!" Eli said. "He's really amazing.

"Eli," Gloria said. "Have you really heard of Isaac Asmiov?"

"What?" I HAVE!" he said, outraged. "I know all about him!"

"Why is he famous?" Gloria asked.

"Um, because he's, um, someone," Eli said, laughing.

I laughed and we kept going. Two stoplights later, we'd moved on to Beethoven, and Eli was spouting off a series of facts that were clearly completely invented. "Who told you all this?" Gloria asked.

"Isaac Asimov, I bet," I said.


Gloria often rolls her eyes at us. This is not unexpected, obviously, because we're goofballs.

A few nights ago, I came up to tell Eli good night. I can't remember exactly what was said--some wild scheme of ours--but Gloria rolled her eyes. "Can your eyes get stuck in the top of your head if you roll your eyes too often?" Eli asked. He said it with a straight face (maybe a little hint of a smile), and I burst out laughing.

Gloria gave me The Look. "What? That was hilarious!" I said.


Eli's been trying to learn how to do arm farts.

I'm not much help when it comes to arm farts. I never mastered the technique as a boy, focusing mostly on learning how to belch the alphabet, so I am sadly lacking as an instructor.

Watching Eli do one, though, is ridiculously funny, because he moves his arm like a drum major. It's the most elaborate attempt at an arm fart in history.

Yesterday, Eli got dressed and came downstairs, and he looked at us and said "Do these pants make me look fat?" I burst out laughing and Gloria harrumphed.

The classics never get old.

Eli came downstairs Saturday dressed in long pants, gigantic animal slippers, and a second pair of underwear that he wore on the outside of his pants, just above the slippers. He started shuffling down the stairs and I saw him.

"Excuse me!" I said. "Safety violation!"

"What?" he asked. This actually means let me buy some time.

"Wearing extra underwear around your ankles with huge clown slippers is not the best way to go down stairs," I said, and he started laughing. "Actually, that's not even the real problem."

"It's not?" Eli asked. "What is it?"

"The real problem," I said, is that after you fall down the stairs and we take you to the emergency room, the Doctor will say 'How did he fall?', and I'll have to say 'Oh, he was wearing giant animal slippers and a second pair of underwear around his ankles, and he tripped going down the stairs."

Eli looked like he was almost willing to fall down the stairs just to see that happen.

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