In an attempt to ensure a quiet, peaceful four-hour ride to our 4th of July camping destination, we put one of our favorite movies - How to Train Your Dragon - in the DVD player when we departed.
Monika fell asleep right away and slept through the entire movie. That gave Dan an opportunity to narrate the movie for us, uninterrupted. He said that since we couldn't see the screen he needed to tell us what was happening. It wasn't quiet, but at least it was peaceful.
I could hear one of my favorite scenes from the movie coming up, so I commented to Glen about how many times I had to watch the movie before I realized that the scene foreshadowed the movie's finale.
From the back seat came, "What does foreshadowed mean?"
"Uh..." I stammered.
How do you explain foreshadowing to a five-year-old?
During my pause, Glen jumped in.
"Wait a second! At what point do we say, 'Stop, you don't need to know that yet.'? I didn't learn what foreshadowing was until I was 15. He's 5. We have no chance if he's smarter than us."
Although I agreed with Glen about the part that raising a child who is smarter than us might be a challenge, I answered Dan's question anyway.
"Foreshadowing is like a little clue or hint about what's going to happen later in the movie," I said.
"But you don't know it was a hint until you get to the end of the movie," Glen added.
Or, in this case, until you watch the movie for the fourth time.
As proof that each generation ends up smarter than the previous, when I told my dad about our foreshadowing conversation, he said, "What's foreshadowing?" (And he's one of the most intelligent people I know.)
The morning after we returned from our trip, Dan was biting into his sandwich when he suddenly stopped and yelped, "Ouch! My tooth hurts!"
A quick check revealed what we hadn't even been expecting: his first loose tooth.
The conversation turned to pliers and the Tooth Fairy. I thought Dan was too young for a loose tooth, so I fetched the baby books to find out when Glen and I had lost our first teeth.
Turns out Dan is actually a couple months older than I was when I lost my first tooth. Glen's baby book didn't have anything recorded about lost teeth; I'm guessing that's because he's the second child in his family.
It was entertaining to flip through the baby books and read what our mothers thought about us at such young ages.
In the section about independence and self-sufficiency, there was a line to write down what age Glen started hanging up his own clothes. All his mom wrote was: I wonder?
On my Four Years Old page, my mom filled in the personality line with: Very creative and imaginative. Always writing something.
Was that foreshadowing? Growing up, I never imagined that I would one day get paid to write, but here I am.
It makes me wonder which of Dan and Monika's personality traits will persist through the years or resurface later in their lives.
When the kids and I take the four-wheeler out to get the cows from the pasture, Dan always asks to get off so he can run. And then he'll run all the way across the 60-acre pasture. Will he be a runner for the rest of his life?
We set a goal last summer to take the kids to the lake once a week. We fell short of that goal, but we're making up for it this summer. It's exciting to see how much more confident they are in the water - especially Monika. She's taken to the swimming lessons we offer like a fish. And she already has quite a kick. Will she be a swimmer?
Will our kids be athletic at all?
My sisters' husbands and my dad were playing baseball with the kids while we were camping. Dan's been telling me he knows how to play baseball, but I'd never seen him pick up a bat until this weekend.
But, you know what? He actually hit the ball! We found out he does better batting left-handed, even though he writes right-handed. It's probably because he sights with his left eye, like I do. Maybe there's hope for his hand-eye coordination (because there certainly isn't any for mine).
Or maybe our kids will gravitate towards more academic pursuits. After all, Dan managed to talk nonstop for all four hours of the trip home from camping as well.