Chippewa Herald * December 20, 2003

Kids' quotes are taking over the family Christmas newsletter

by Tom Arneberg, Community Columnist

We put another issue of the Arneberg Argus to bed a few weeks ago. That's the name of our slightly irreverent family Christmas newsletter, whose purpose is partly to keep old friends up to date with us, and partly to poke gentle fun at Christmas form letters.

Each year, as the number of talking children in our house increases, the "Quotable Quotes" section of the newsletter gets longer. In this year's issue, the quotes took up almost three quarters of the four-page publication.

It is quite a chore to cram in the rest of the year's news in the remaining space. My solution is to add more pages to the publication; my wife's idea is to do fewer things during the year, so there's less to write about. I guess we'll just continue to use ever-smaller fonts each year.

But I digress. Without further ado, here are some of the quotes from this year's issue, out of the mouths of Simon (now 3), David (7), Jasper (9), Alison (12), and Benjamin (14):

"Little ones two three four five..." -- Simon, 11/29/02, getting his singing ("Jesus Loves Me") slightly mixed up with his counting.

"I was seething in my seat." -- Ben, 12/22/02, describing how the school bus driver played the dreaded Country Music on the bus radio.

"I blowed it off." -- Simon, 12/21/02, rationalizing to Mom why it was perfectly okay to pick up the kernel of popcorn off the Dollar Store floor and pop it into his mouth.

"Let's not let him blow out his cake." -- Benjamin, 1/4/03, 32 days before Simon's third birthday, observing the saliva-to-air ratio when the little guy tried to blow out a match that Dad lit.

"Do I have to do this in cursive?" -- Jasper, 1/6/03, asking about a crossword puzzle assignment, after his third grade class made the jump to all-cursive writing. (He was apparently worried about writing vertical cursive.)

"I put it in my money pig." -- Simon, 2/7/03, coming up with his own name for his new piggy bank.

"Nobody jumped up to touch the ceiling all weekend, and nobody hit anyone." -- Alison's 3/23/03 female perspective of the First Annual Cousin Exchange, when she got to stay in an all-girl house for the weekend.

"No, I don't think we'll want that for our license plate." -- Brad Robb, spring 2003, to his kids after he coined the phrase "ARNEBUS" for the Arnebergs' conversion van. He was concerned about the invitational implications of "ROBBUS" on a license plate.

"One too many 'arks'." -- Ben's short explanation to Mom on 4/10/03, when asked how his leg got bloody. (Seems Ben finally got some "encouragement" to stop teasing his schoolmate Noah.)

"When my 'eye-brownies' are up, that means I'm really happy." -- Simon, 4/26/03.

"Why couldn't it be, like, a Coke plant or something?" -- Ben, 5/15/03, while driving by the new Leinie's Lodge under construction, after hearing that you get free beer at the end of every plant tour.

"(SLAP) I pledge (SLAP) allegiance (SLAP) to the (SLAP) flag (SLAP)..." -- Jasper, 5/25/03, while digging worms for fishing. His repeated slaps to his chest helped him wonder what it would be like to have five hearts as does an earthworm.

"Dad, you won't be able to buy these in stores much longer." -- Jasper, 6/2/03, fearing that the family is too far behind the DVD-player curve.

"BEN I LIKE IT WITH OUT YOU HEAR" -- David's touching 6/24/03 letter to Ben, who was spending the week at Boy Scout camp.

"Sharks live in sugar water." -- Simon, 7/4/03, sounding very confident but apparently mixing up his spices while arbitrarily rambling from his shopping cart at Home Depot.

"Well, it SAYS to 'use sparingly.'" -- Tom's brother Jim, 7/11/03, at the quinquennial Arneberg Canoe Trip on the St. Croix River, explaining why he is still using the same camp soap that he bought in 1979.

"Mom, it's NOT like we're gonna FALL." -- David's 7/16/03 cocky retort to his over-protective mother's suggestions that they get down from the rock wall at the Irvine Park rose garden...a few minutes before Alison fell and broke her wrist.

"The chairs in the waiting room could have arms that are wider and softer." -- Alison's 8/6/03 written comments in a patient questionnaire mailed out from St. Joseph's Hospital a few weeks after her broken arm.

"Sleeping is a shortcut to morning-time." -- Simon, 8/17/2003, allowing a glimpse into the strange musings of the three-year-old mind.

"Flowers?! That's not a present!" -- David, 9/7/03, after hearing that his mom got a half dozen roses for her half birthday.

"Why do you want to drop a camera?" -- Simon, 10/06/03, after hearing Mom give directions to the Middle School via Tropicana Avenue.

"Now we can always tell where Ben is on the court." -- David, 10/14/03, after Ben's eBay spoils finally arrived: bright red basketball shoes. (David was used to the weekly ritual of trying to figure out what number Ben was on the middle school football team; he probably didn't realize that it's a bit easier to identify basketball players.)

"Oh, it in color?!" -- Ben, 11/14/03, worried about Dad's choice of a rental movie from way back in the EIGHTIES.

That's all I have room for this time. May your new year be filled with memorable quotes of your own family!


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