Questions I Asked My Kids

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This may be the longest day in the northern hemisphere, but this is the shortest list of questions to date.

We’ve been busy. Today DW and I chaperoned a field trip of 45 5th graders to The highland Village. It’s a living museum representing about 150 years of Scottish history, covering the time just before they moved to Cape Breton Island to the Mid 1900’s. It was great to talk to people in character, ask questions and see just how much life changed for them over that time. From cooking over an open fire in the middle of their dirt floor stone hut to a cast iron wood stove that closely resembles today’s stoves. The kids were interested and were asking all kinds of questions.

My favorite question was asked of a character in the stone hut who represented a time around 1800 in the Highlands of Scotland. “Do you know what Fortnite is?” Without missing a beat the character, a lady, responded with, “It’s a measure of time, 2 weeks.” It was great to see them stay in character.

1. What are three things you want to do this summer?
Crash: Make YouTube videos, visit cousins, and have my birthday
Bang: Go to the beach, play with the sprinkler on the trampoline, and sleep

2. What’s something to do this summer that we’ve never done before?
Crash: Play the FortNite laser tag
Bang: Fly on a plane

3. What would be the funniest gift to give Crash for his birthday?
Crash: Toilet paper and pile of poo
Bang: Poop in a bag and put it in a present box!

4. We are going to start a new country, what should we name it?
Crash: Rhymania
Bang: Afflick

5. What would be the first law we make in our new country?
Crash: Technology must be used at all times
Bang: You’re only allowed to speak with a British accent.

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The Nite of Forts

Oft referred to as “Fork Knife” by the unknowing or by anyone who wants to be a comedian, Fortnite has finally entered our house. Once upon a time I was writing about Minecraft as it consumed a certain then eight year old’s life. That game is a thing of the past now. Minecraft is no longer even mentioned, let alone played. Fortnite is the new addiction and I have two conflicting thoughts about it.

I grew up with video games. Granted, I started with Atari’s Space Invaders until I graduated to Nintendo’s Tetris, Mega Man, and Blaster Master. I didn’t have these first or third person shooter games growing up. I had Mario jumping on Goombas. I had Contra. And if you just thought up up down down left right left right B A select start to get infinite lives, you had Contra, too. It wasn’t real. It didn’t look real. There was nothing about my video games as a kid that made my parents go “Hmmm… is this okay?” I didn’t play these shooter games until I got to university after the invention of internet. Back when you had to use your telephone line. I was mature enough to know it was game.

Fortnight is a game of 100 people with the winner being the last person or team standing. It is third person game, meaning your point of view hovers just above and behind the character you are controlling. It is close to being realistic. One of the first times I played this game (last week) my character was shot and wounded to the point that I wasn’t (in the words of The Princess Bride) all the way dead. I was forced to crawl around hoping someone would revive me. Instead of finding my own team, the enemy found me first and I had the distinct privilege of watching the enemy character stand over my character and proceed to finish me off with his shotgun. On the plus side, there is no blood. A drone appears and teleports your expired character out of the game. I know there are 10 year olds around the world playing this, but is this the kind of game I want my 10 year old playing?

On the flip side, it’s just a video game. Even I know art imitates life. My kid certainly isn’t going to suddenly think that life is Fortnite and go about shooting people. He won’t become a violent psychopath playing Fortnite. I can’t blame Fortnite for violent behavior any more than I can blame heavy metal music. There’s no blood and it’s not like this game is hyper real some other first player shooter games I’ve seen. There is building it, well. You need to build “forts” for safety. It can as simple or as elaborate as you want or as time allows. Also, a lot his friends are playing it. Since this game has the ability to connect people through microphones so they may chat. Friends can play together and talk together without being in the same house. It will be his way of fitting in. And isn’t that what we all want, just to belong?

Has Fork Knife Fortnite caught on at your house, yet? What’s your opinion?

           

Happy Birthday Buddy…

Dear Bang,

Since the day you were born, you’ve been quite a character. Full of personality. Full of quirks that made you unique. Today, exactly seven years later, that still holds true. You have a heart as big as the world and a temper to match. You can be as prickly as porcupine but also as snuggly as puppy. You have the temper of bull but also the kindness of Mother Theresa herself. You can be saucy, little brat, but also the most loving child a parent could ask for. You make your parents feel like we’ve done this parenting thing perfectly, but also make us feel like complete failures.

You’re kindness overshadows all. To this day, we still don’t know why you decided you wanted to sing in the church choir. Our only guess is that you absolutely adore the little, “old” ladies. They look forward to Sunday mornings as much as you do. I remember one morning when I told you to go up and get dressed and you growled at me like a rabid rhino ready to charge at me because you didn’t want to go to school. I reminded you we were going to church and you said “Oh” and happily got dressed. Today, not only did the church choir sing you happy birthday, but the whole congregation sang. I don’t know too many seven year olds who have happy birthday sung to them by the whole church. You’ve unknowingly made many people happy.

You hold doors for people just because you want to show them a bit of kindness. You could be sitting with your parents at Tim Hortons, but you’d rather stand at the door and open it when people enter or leave. You do it out of kindness. One day, someone gave you a tip, their loose change from their most recent purchase. It couldn’t have been more than a quarter. They might as well have given you a million bucks. Sometimes they would give you their free donut or free coffee they had just won from Roll Up the Rim to Win cups. Still, you hold doors because you want to, not because you are looking for tips. Even after the kindness of the lady who gave you ten dollars because she was traveling and had an armful of luggage.

At the grocery store you skip ahead in line so you can help bag the groceries of the person in front of us. At first I was afraid they would think you were stealing their food. Those fear were dashed quickly, when again, you discovered you could get tipped for helping. Everyone pays you with a thank you. The special ones give you a tip. Like the doors, you don’t do for the money. But it sure is nice.

You save money like Scrooge McDuck. When given ten dollars to spend at Toys R Us, your brother couldn’t get their fast enough. When we finally arrived, you asked, “Do I have to spend it? Can I save it?” don’t know too many kids you can take to a toy store and they don’t want to buy anything. You’ve got your eyes set on a puppy. So it’s only a matter of time now, buddy.

You frustrate us with your sauciness. You amaze us with your constant questions. You exhaust us with your desire to always to be moving. Come the end of the day, you make us feel loved and make us wonder why we ever thought we were “parenting” you wrong. Come morning, though, we’ll wonder all anew.

Love ya buddy,

Mom and Dad

Go Ask Your Father: Circles, Diamonds, Electricity, and Boobs

Today we host a birthday party. I love parties. Mostly because I love playing with all the kids. However, there’s one aspect of the party I don’t quite understand. The treat bag at the end. Who invented this nonsense? At no other party do we give our guests a loot bag afterwards. I understand it’s kind of a thank you for coming to my birthday party and bringing a present. However, we just provided entertainment, food, drinks, and cake. We provide a treat bag at the end, but, in your opinion, is it necessary?

What’s the difference between a circle and an ellipse?

First, do you know how farmers make circular fields so perfect? They use a protractor! To truly understand the difference between these two flat, round shapes it helps to understand how they’re made. To make a circle, you need one center point and a line around it that is the same distance away from that point all the way around. To make an ellipse, you need two points, neither of which is in the center. They’re called foci. Every point along the line of a circle is the same distance from the center as every other point. However, in an ellipse, every point on the line is the same distance as the sum of the distances to the foci. And if you say foci enough it sounds like you forgot how to swear properly.

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What’s the difference between a rhombus and diamond?

What girl wants a 2 carat rhombus engagement ring? Bang had been studying shapes in class. Hence the reason for the shape questions today.  It’s how you tell a vet from a noob. In elementary school, to keep things simple, kids call everything that’s not a square or rectangle a diamond. If it has straight sides, whether they’re all the same length or not, and no right angles (all left angles, haha) it must be a diamond. A rhombus is a special kind of parallelogram (shape with opposite sides that are parallel). A rhombus has all sides the same length like a square, but none of its angles are 90 degrees. Its opposite angles are equal though. Also, if you draw lines connecting its opposite angles, they will form a right angle in the center. Here is a really neat website where you can play with a rhombus. Diamond, however, is more of a vague term. The sides of a diamond don’t have to be parallel or equal, similar to a kite. It just needs to not have right angles or form right angles when a line is drawn between opposite corners. Both a rhombus and a diamond know that it’s hip to be square.

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How does a magnet go through a wire to make electricity?

I’m sorry. I can’t look at that GIF without giggling like 7th grader. If you know anything about electrons you’ll know they typically move randomly, much like the AD/HD kid with no meds. I know this, because I have one. However, in magnets, they don’t move randomly, they all move the same direction. Sort of, anyway. The north end electrons spin one direction and the south end spins the other. This is why opposite poles attract. Anyway, when a magnet moves through a coil of wire it drags the electrons in the wire with it. We all know when electrons flow we get electricity. If you use an ammeter (like in that funny GIF) you can see which direction the electricity is flowing. Also, you can see why it’s called an alternating current.

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 Do your boobs stay off forever?

If you’re caught up on the previous episodes of Go Ask Your Father, you’ll know that DW went for a mammogram. It has since come back clear. However, at the time of the appointment a certain 6 year old (turning 7 tomorrow) was full of questions. First it was  “What’s a mammogram?” Last week featured “What if they find cancer?”. The answer to that was double mastectomy, which then had to be explained that essentially means she’ll have her boobs cut off. Which leads us to this week’s question. Yes, they will stay off forever. There’s no boob transplant. There’s no removing the cancer and putting them back on. Ain’t no way she’s going to be breast feeding with them any more. However, we have come across some fun alternatives ranging from implants to tattoos. We’d miss them, of course, but we’d rather have a boobless mom than the alternative.

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Questions I Asked My Kids: The #MyDadChallenge

I invite you to take the #MyDadChallenge. Ask your kids these simple 10 questions and then post them and tag me so I can share them, too. Thanks Dorky Mom for the idea!

Father’s Day is just around the corner. This year, I get to celebrate it with Bang. Not because he’s a dad, too, but because it’s his birthday. That will get a post of it’s own. Today is an early shout out to all the Fathers out there. More importantly, it’s a shout out to the Dad’s. Any man can be father. The special ones get called dad. Happy Early Dad’s Day to my dad, my step-dad-in-law, and my dad-in-law smiling/laughing down at us.

1. My dad is _____ years old and weighs _____ pounds.

Crash: 40; 190
Bang: Practically 42 years old; 62 pounds

2. My dad is good at cooking _____ and is not so good at cooking _____.

Crash: Pancakes and waffles; Doughboys
Bang: Lasagna; Nothing

3. If my dad were a superhero, his name would be ______ and his superpower would be _____.

Crash: Stomperdad; use the force
Bang: Superdad; Flying and punching and kicking and shooting lasers out of his eyes.

4. And if my dad were a villain, his name would be ______ and he would use his evil powers to _____.

Crash: Bad Dad; Take over the world
Bang: DadBagGuy; Kill goodness

5. I love it when my dad______.

Crash: Says yes.
Bang: Plays 10 minutes (a tickle game)

6. When my dad is driving, he_________.

Crash: Sort of pays attention
Bang: Is not a maniac

7. I like it when my dad _______ and I don’t like it when my dad _________.

Crash: Dies in Fortnite; limits my screen time
Bang: Goes on the trampoline; sits on me and tickles me

8. My dad does not like to _______.

Crash: Clean
Bang: Clean up messes

9. My dad does ________ the best and _________ the worst.

Crash: Waking me up; letting me stay up late
Bang: cooking; not letting his kids do anything

10. I’m thankful for my dad because ___________.

Crash: He give me shelter, and food, etc…
Bang: puts my hat on backwards.

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Also, thanks for getting my head out of that concrete block

How to Survive Parenthood

Is that even possible? I assume it is because my parents survived parenthood. But that was 30-40 years ago. Plus my brother and I were easy kids to raise (with myself being the easier of the two, of course). Parenting has changed over the millions of years parents have graced the Earth. Dinosaurs could always eat their young if they misbehaved. That’s not really an option for us. So exactly, how does one survive parenthood?

Profanity

Lots and lots of profanity. Whether you allow your kids to hear your colorful language or it’s muttered under your breath as they walk away, it helps relieve the tension that built up while you argued with your politician. When your kid has an answer for EVERYTHING a few swear words will release the stress. When your kids insists that numbers less than zero are negative but numbers less than negative ten are megative and refuses any correction, you’re best bet is to send him away and give him a couple middle fingers while his back is turned.

Dates

Not the fruity kind. Though, enough of those will allow you to frequently use the bathroom where you can hopefully lock the door and keep unwanted guests away with the smell of not using Poo Pourri. These dates are the loving kind. The kidless kind. The do-whatever-you-can-do kind. Perhaps you have a late supper after putting the kids to bed. Being free to make any child unfriendly meal you want is as sweet as bedtime itself. Perhaps you can get a sitter for a couple hours to go out. Perhaps you can send the kids for sleepovers and make a night of it. Perhaps you just snuggle up and snack and watch a movie or binge watch the latest show that has course language and violence and parental supervision is required. Whatever you do, do it well and do it with love. And wine.

Wine

I know this one isn’t for everyone. I’ve heard some of you abstain from alcohol. You are the tough ones and I admire your courage. Mind you, we don’t celebrate “The Kids Are Asleep” every night with wine. Lately, we’ve only been celebrating every other weekend. We each have our favorite and we each know what they are so we can resupply when necessary. That’s true love.

Laughter

If you can’t laugh with or at each other, what can you do? That time I stepped on a toy, picked my foot up and put back down on a different toy, then nearly took a header through the wall? DW laughed so hard tears ran down her leg. That time I was backing out of the driveway and DW took a drink from her water bottle and I slammed on the brakes so she’d soak herself? Sure I called an asshole. But when the 4 year old in the backseat piped up with “Yeah, dad. Don’t be an asshole.” Then the 8 year old chimed in with “Great! Now you’ve got him saying asshole.” Or that time I told DW the Washington Capitals won the Stanley Cup and it was the first time my home team won it. She asked, “How you know it’s not Washington State?” Because they’re they Capitals? Maybe? Laugh. Laugh often and laugh loud.

Do whatever you have to do

It’s survival of the fittest. Adapt or get run over by life, also known as kids. You do whatever you need to do to survive your kids. Kick them outside. Allow them extra time in front of a screen. Give them an extra snack be it healthy or junk. Let them tromp through the mud, play in the sink, jump on the bed, cut their own hair. If it allows you a minute and a half to cook supper in peace, poop in peace, write a blog post in peace, anything in peace, let it happen. Make it happen. Or else the profanity will hit the fan.

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The Funny Side of Parenting

Laughter is the best medicine. If you can’t laugh at yourself who can you laugh at? Sometimes you laugh at yourself. Sometimes your partner provides a giggle. However, most often it’s our offspring who give us the largest dose of hilarity. Perhaps it’s during the regular “bedatorial” when tell about their teacher being out for two weeks because she had to get her “goldfish” removed. (It was really her gall bladder). Perhaps it’s something hollered in a public area, like “his pee pee looks like yours!” (we were at a Body Worlds exhibit). Or perhaps they just did something foolish, like drained the waterbed in the bedroom. Either way, a good dose of laughter is dished out and stories about it will be told for years. Facebook and Twitter are full of such stories. Here are just a few that made my belly jiggle like a bowl full Jell-O.

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Questions I Asked My Kids: This or That

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Thanks to Laura at Riddle from the Middle for this week’s questions. She snagged them from Wanderings of an Elusive Mind. I modified a few of the questions to fit the kids. This week the boys have just two choices. It’s time to see how different these two really are. Though if you’ve read any of the previous 70 Questions I Asked My Kids you already know how different they are. Like waffles and chicken. Like cats and cucumbers. Like… well, like two boys from the same two parents.

YouTube or TV? 

Crash: YouTube
Bang: YouTube

Cookies or ice cream?

Crash: Cookies
Bang: Ice cream

Popsicle or Freezy?  

Crash: Popsicle
Bang: Popsicle

Tablet or cell phone?

Crash: Cell phone
Bang: Tablet

Cake or pie?  

Crash: Pie
Bang: I don’t like pie so cake

Big party or small gathering? 

Crash: Big party
Bang: Big party

Rich friend or loyal friend?

Crash: Loyal friend
Bang: Loyal friend

Baseball or Soccer?

Crash: Baseball
Bang: Soccer

What’s worse: Putting away laundry or dishes?  

Crash: Dishes
Bang: Laundry

Hiking or biking?

Crash: Biking
Bang: I hate hiking because it’s too much walking and I hate biking because I get too tired. I go for biking, I guess, because it’s more fun than walking.

Sneakers or Crocs? 

Crash: Sneakers
Bang: Sneakers

Milk or Juice?

Crash: Juice
Bang: Milk

Couch or chair?  

Crash: Couch
Bang: Chair

Mom drive or dad drive?

Crash: Dad drive
Bang: Mom drive

Blue or Red?

Crash: Blue
Bang: Blue

Beach or camping? 

Crash: Camping, I think. Maybe.
Bang: Totally camping

Toilet paper: over or under?

Crash: Over
Bang: Over

Pancake or waffle?

Crash: Waffle
Bang: Waffle

Coke or Pepsi?

Crash: Coke. No Wait! Pepsi. Aren’t they like the same thing?
Bang: Pepsi

Plastic cup or glass?

Crash: Glass
Bang: Glass

Bedtime or wake up time?

Crash: Wake up time
Bang: Wake up time

Summer or winter?

Crash: Summer
Bang: Summer because THE BEACH!

International travel or New TV?

Crash: International travel
Bang: International travel

Save or spend?

Crash: Spend! No, wait. Save because I’m saving for an iPad
Bang: Save

Kind or smart?

Crash: Kind
Bang: Smart. No wait, kind because I’m already smart.

Inside or outside?  .

Crash: Outside
Bang: Inside

TV or book? 

Crash: Probably TV. Not to say I don’t like books, but I prefer TV.
Bang: Book

Ocean or mountains?

Crash: Ocean
Bang: Mountains.

The score? 16 same answers, 12 different. Alike enough to be called brothers, different enough to fight about it.

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Questions I Asked My Kids: Ep 70

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For those who follow me in the Insta you saw that we were at an air show yesterday. It was incredible to watch. The Canadian Air Forces’ Snowbirds were in town at our tiny, little airport. Nine fighter jets demonstrated their precision with formation fly overs and high speed fly bys. 600 kmh to be exact. Having grown up near an air force base and the U.S. Naval Academy, I have seen a few air shows. The Blue Angels and The Thunderbirds always fascinated me. I was still as excited as the kids to see this one. So was DW. I would absolutely love to fly co-pilot in one of these.

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After the show we got to meet the nine pilots and get their autographs. They each signed the boys hats and a poster for each of them. Then we spoke to the lead technician. He was great to answer all of our questions. He even let us look in the cockpit! I couldn’t believe when he told us the planes were built in 1965. They are 53 years old!

1. What was your favorite part of the Air Show?

Crash: The tricks. My favorite trick was when they would go straight up all together then spread out with a smoke trail to look like fireworks
Bang: When the planes looked like a hand and when they went sideways and passed each other really close and when they went over us really loudly.

Technician.jpg2. What do you want to be when you grow up?

Crash: A Snowbird pilot
Bang: A dog washer and a chef (I thought he’d be a Snowbird mechanic after talking one for a half hour last night. He says no, that’s too hard)

3. What is something you learned at the Air Show?

Crash: Its hard to fly in the wind and if a bird gets caught in the jet engine the bird is dead.
Bang: How they make the smoke. There’s these two things holding deisel and pipes connected to the back of the plane. Then deisel comes out of the back behind the engine and makes smoke.

4. How do you talk to someone who doesn’t speak your language?

Crash: You wave and shake your head yes and no and try to translate
Bang: Hand motion. You could write on a piece of paper and if he doesn’t know the letters you can translate it.

*5. What’s a good name for a dog?

Crash: Jaxson
Bang: Gizmo

**6. What’s a good name for a baby sister?

Crash: Shareeya Wayga (this is what he wanted to name the Bang while DW was still pregnant)
Bang: Leeya

7. What’s your favorite junk food snack?

Crash: Chocolate brownie cake
Bang: Bear paws

8. Who do you know that lives farthest away from us? How far away are they?

Crash: Nana and Pop Pop. They live 50 miles from here
Bang: Uncle B and Aunt Sara. They live 2,000 km away

9. What should we do this weekend?

Crash: Have my friend over so we can make YouTube videos. We want to make a try not to laugh video.
Bang: If it’s nice we can play in the sprinkler or have a water balloon fight or fly a kite if we don’t get electrocuted.

10. What do you wish Alexa (Amazon Echo) could do?

Crash: Clean my room and give me money
Bang: Have a face and arms and play every song in the world.

* We are not getting a dog (yet)

** We are not-no-way-in-hell getting a baby sister

Flying Quote

Snowbird Heart

This is how much these birds love flying…

Lucy At Home

Go Ask Your Father: Helicopters, Peppercorns, CCs, and Cancer

Welcome to the weekend! While that might mean 2 days without work, there is still plenty of homework to be done. Have you seen the mess of my kitchen? Painting is a nightmare! Are your kids as needy as mine? Dad. Dad. Dad! Mum. Mum. Mum! Look at this. Watch me. Did you see me? Sometimes I’d like to tell them to go swim in shark infested water wearing a meat suit. Unfortunately, we don’t have either sharks or a meat suit.

How fast do helicopter blades go?

Really fast. Or about the same speed at which kids will touch wet paint after you have told them not to touch the wet paint. There is a ton of math in engineering and piloting a helicopter. And not that easy math either. This is fancy, harder than high school math. Sin and Cos and velocities and fuel consumption equations. It looks like art, but it’s math. Different helicopters have a different rotor rpm. Also, a helicopter will adjust it’s rpm to fit its needs. Weight, speed, wind speed, and temperature will effect its rpm. For the sake of this question and the satisfaction of a 10 year old, helicopter blades spin anywhere from 250 to 600 rpm.

Where do peppercorns come from?

piper_nigrum_fruits-200x300Funny enough they come from the exact same place as eggs and milk – the grocery store. Did you know peppercorn is a fruit? Once upon a time it was a luxury and only available to the wealthy. In Once Upon A Time, I would not have had the luxury of having peppercorn. Peppercorns come from a peppercorn plant. Go figure! In the science community it’s known as piper nigrum. Native to India, they are grown around the world now. The different colors are produced by preserving the pod at different stages of ripeness or by using either the whole pod or its inner seed. You can get black, green, white, and red peppercorns. Pink peppercorns come from an entirely different plant not related to piper nigrum. Pepper is an antioxidant and antibacterial. It is also a carminative meaning it helps prevent intestinal gas. And that’s nothing to sneeze about.

What does cc mean?

In our house it could mean chocolate capacity. My face can hold 350 CCs of chocolate. I know because I measured. In email, however, it means Carbon Copy from the ancient days of using carbon paper to replicate documents. Sadly, this question has nothing to do with chocolate or email, though. When playing Mario Kart the races are divided up by CCs – 50, 100, 150, and 200. The higher the CCs, the faster the karts go. This is because CCs stands for Cylinder Capacity, or more scientific and mathematical it means Cubic Centimeters. Cylinder capacity = cubic centimeter. Therefore, the larger the cylinder the more gas it can take in. The more gas intake it has, the more it’s explosive force and therefore more energy. My kids have 97,000 CCs. This holds true with real life vehicles, too. CCs are also used to measure medicine. I’m sure you’ve heard on plenty of doctor dramas (yay for Grey’s Anatomy and The Good Doctor) to give a patience x number of CCs of a fancy medicine name. CCs are equivalent to milliliters (mL). CC should also be written in lower case (ccs) but I used upper case to help differentiate it. Plus, I’m not a doctor.

What happens if they find cancer?

Remember last week when the boys were asking about breast cancer because DW was going for her annual boob flattening check up? Well, we’re not done talking about boobs yet. According to lexicographer, Jonathon Green, there are at least 212 synonyms for female breasts. He would know, he wrote the most comprehensive dictionary of slang. I guess that makes him the human version of Urban Dictionary. Anyway, DW had swift response to this question. There was no thinking about what would happen should she discover she has breast cancer. I support her as much as her favorite bra. She will have it/them removed. Mastectomy. The end. You can guess down in the comments what they asked about after this answer.

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