Archive for the 'Stephen' Category

Comics A Seven-Year-Old Would Love

Garfield is Stephen’s second greatest love, second only to Lego. Lilian’s Sean first introduced Stephen to Garfield in London when the two were about five years old but it wasn’t until a few months ago that Stephen really started understanding the sly jokes and not-so-subtle sarcasm that underlies the comic. He’s also a big fan of The Garfield Show on the Cartoon Network. I can see how it appeals to Stephen because it’s completely off-the-wall ridiculous with storylines that feature a time-stopping stopwatch, robots, and a mind-reading helmet but may I just say that this CGI bastardization of Garfield the comic strip is not really Garfield at all.

The trouble with Garfield is that Stephen feels compelled to try out some of Garfield’s sayings and mannerisms. He identifies with Garfield the curmudgeon and his distaste for Mondays and waking up, and his glee in thwarting Nermal (who I suspect Stephen equates with his sister).

Thinking that it might be healthier for Stephen to identify with another little boy rather than a fat orange cat*, I’ve been trying to introduce him to Calvin and Hobbes because Lilian mentioned that Stephen reminds her of Calvin. Although I should probably read some Calvin and Hobbes first to make sure Calvin is an acceptable role model. I must confess that I’ve never really gotten the humor in the strip but might be able to understand it better from the parents’ point of view. In any case, if GeekDad says Calvin and Hobbes is good then it must be good! :P

Other comics Stephen has enjoyed include the Geronimo Stilton graphic novels and the Bionicle graphic novels. Adeline’s RK likes Asterix and Obelix.

As for me, my favorite comic strip is The Far Side by Gary Larson. Marv’s is Dilbert.

What about you and your kids? Have any other comic strips to recommend?

*Super Skinny Stephen once made some comment about being too fat to get on some piece of playground equipment. I started stressing about eating disorders until I realized his comment came from Garfield. argh


Search Engines Designed for Children

Google Seeks to Help Children Search Better –

Good grief. What a misleading headline.

While I agree that learning how to use search engines to find information successfully is an important skill, I don’t know if I want my kids to search "better" per se. For primary school children, I’d want them to learn how to search in a limited, controlled environment.

When considering children, search engines had long focused on filtering out explicit material from results. But now, because increasing numbers of children are using search as a starting point for homework, exploration or entertainment, more engineers are looking to children for guidance on how to improve their tools.

Kids apparently like Bing because it uses more images than other search engines. Also, I did not realize that children tend to focus on whatever’s on the bottom of the computer screen because that’s what they see first when they look up from the keyboard after pecking out their search.

As for Stephen, I’ve installed Chrome on his computer and while he usually doesn’t have to search for much, he already knows that he only has to enter an approximation of the correct spelling and the computer will offer up the correct search term or URL to him. Frightening to think what he’ll be able to unearth online in the future. Perhaps some of what I’ve written about him but have since locked up….


If you’re interested in alternative search engines specially designed for kids, check out and Tyler Wainright has a list of safe and secure web browsers for kids.

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Kick Butt

This snapshot from a video of the kids dancing the twist makes me laugh. Megan looks like she’s kicking butt!


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Stephen’s Robot Featured at iRobot SPARK


How cool! This 2D cardboard robot Stephen made in January 2007 (when he was 4 years old) has been selected for the iRobot SPARK gallery. I will have to have him submit something for the drawings area too. This one dates from May 2008.


iRobot SPARK (Starter Programs for the Advancement of Robotics Knowledge)

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You are nice


Just found this drawing Stephen made earlier in the year. Guess I’ll keep him after all. ;)

Note the sling-wearing worm mama and her babies.



While watching a National Geographic show featuring cuttlefish, Stephen suddenly exclaims,

Ohhh. I thought cuttlefish was “cuddlefish”! Two fish cuddling together.


Our fish tank.

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About Mom and Dad

Here’s what Stephen thinks about Marv and me.

1. What is something mom always says to you?
Do not hit or swear.
Dad: Don’t use the K [kill] word.

2. What makes mom happy?
When I do nice things and be polite and respectful. And say please and thank you.
Dad: When I don’t use the K word.

3. What makes mom sad?
When I hit, swear, or I get in trouble.
Dad: N/A (He just learned what N/A means and loves to use it)

4. How does your mom make you laugh?
When you burp. When sometimes you sing funny songs. That’s all.
Dad: When he burps.

5. What was your mom like as a child?
You were just like me.
Dad: Older.

6. How old is your mom?
Dad: 37

7. How tall is your mom?
Dad: 1000 cm

8. What is her favorite thing to do?
Dad: work

9. What does your mom do when you’re not around?
Be bored
Dad: Do his work

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?
The smartest woman in the world.
Dad: Soccer

11. What is your mom really good at?
Dad: soccer

12. What is your mom not very good at?
Dad: Work

13. What does your mom do for her job?
Emails and writing
Dad: Work, managing

14. What is your mom’s favorite food?
(NA) Everything
Dad: everything

15. What makes you proud of your mom?
When you don’t get angry.
Dad: because he does his work w/o complaining

16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?
Ben 10’s cousin, Gwen
Dad: Spike the bulldog from Tom and Jerry

17. What do you and your mom do together?
Go swimming
Dad: Lego and swimming

18. How are you and your mom the same?
We both like to read
Dad: We both like Star Wars

19. How are you and your mom different?
Because I’m the one that’s picky and you eat everything
Dad: He doesn’t like Ben 10

20. How do you know your mom loves you?
When you kiss me or hug me
Dad: when he makes me laugh

21. Where is your mom’s favorite place to go?
Thai Express
Dad: NA

via Sheryl


Talking Behind My Back

Picture 66



From my little hot-blooded Neanderthal, a message he wrote for the pleated fan wings of his peace bird:

Dear Singapore I wish I had peace.

What tremendous insight into his soul.


Maju Covers

This morning, Stephen was jumping on the bed as I was laying out my clothes for the day. After I was done brushing my teeth, I turned back and saw that the bedclothes were all jumbled up and my clothes were all over the place. I put everything back in order all the while grumbling about Stephen messing everything up.

I started getting dressed but couldn’t find my bra. I looked under the comforter again and had Stephen look under the pillows. I even checked under the bed and looked again in the drawers and bathroom. No bra.

“Where’s my bra?!” I demanded.

Stephen shrugged as I continued looking around for both the bra and my mind.

Then he asked, “What’s a bra anyway? Those maju* covers?”

*Maju is our family word for breasts, breastfeeding, and breast milk. :D

**I later found the bra behind the nightstand where it had flown during Stephen’s shenanigans.