Last night, the gang of young people at my house stayed up very late playing the game where you write the names of famous people on little slips of paper, and then yell clues to your team members until they guess the person on your slip of paper. So when the little neighbor kids came to visit this morning, the kitchen table was littered with slips of papers. Boy in Black, my nocturnal son, was asleep on the couch, and Shaggy Hair Boy was rolled up in a quilt on the floor. As Little Biker Boy sat down at the table to color pictures, he asked me about the slips.
Biker Boy: What’s that one say?
Me: (reading) Abraham Lincoln
Biker Boy: I know! He was a painter.
Me: A painter?
Biker Boy: Yep. He painted so fast that he didn’t have time to wash the paintbrushes. He’d just stick them in his mouth. Like this.
Me: Get that out of your mouth.
Biker Boy: Ask me another one.
Ponytail Girl: I need a pink crayon.
Me: (without looking at the slips) George Washington.
Biker Boy: Starry Night! That was his painting.
Biker Boy: We saw a picture of it.
Ponytail Girl: Can I have another cookie?
Boy in Black: (raising his head from the couch, where he’s sleeping) George Washington was the first president, and Abraham Lincoln was the 16th. (He goes back to sleep.)
Biker Boy: Presidents? We learned about presidents.
Ponytail Girl: Me too! I know the president.
Biker Boy: The black dude? What’s his name?
Me: Barack Obama
Biker Boy: Yeah. He painted this girl. And her eyes move and follow you around the room.
Me: Leonardo da Vinci? Have you heard of him?
Biker Boy: He was a ninja turtle guy. Teenage mutant ninja turtles, heroes in a half shell, turtle power —
Me: How about Claude Monet?
Biker Boy: Oh! A girl in a blue dress. And her butt sticks out.
Ponytail: Ha ha. Her butt sticks out.
Biker Boy: My art teacher showed us pictures.
Me: How about Vincent van Gogh?
Biker Boy: Yeah. I think he was a president too.