Ice cream and the cure for cancer

Patient Husband: What time is it?
Me: Eleven o’clock.
Kiddo#2: It is not! It’s eleven-oh-five.
Me: That’s what I said. It’s eleven o’clock.
Kiddo#2: But the clock says —
Patient Husband: Don’t be over-specific. Everyone hates that.
Me: To be precise, 98.357% of Americans in middle-class households with two wage-earners and college degrees hate over-specificity.
Patient Husband: Thank you,   Mr. Data. What, no seconds?

It’s a phase, right? Tell me it’s a phase and not the start of the teenage years, that my seven year old knows more than anyone around her (with the exception of Kiddo#1, who also thinks he knows it all.)

Kiddo#2: Why does it say INRI over the cross?
Me: It’s an abbreviation. I think it means Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews.
Kiddo#2: And none of those letters are in that.
Me: It’s in Latin.

She’s getting the whole world worked out in her head, and it’s interesting to watch her begin that pendulum-swing between having it all together and being a little girl. In one moment she’s saying “I can do it all” and in the next, she’s incapable of picking up her discarded tissue from the floor (where she herself discarded it.)

And then she surprises me. There’s a kid in the Angelborough Public School who’s been hospitalized. With stage IV cancer. The child is three years old and shares a teacher with Kiddo#3 (K3 is in the morning class; this child is in the afternoon.) Understandably the school is shaken, and they’re trying to find ways of helping the family. The first of these is a coin drive.

This morning I took a plastic baggie and filled it with a handful of coins from our Coin Vase for each Kiddo to bring to school. I was about to tie a knot in it when she stopped me.

“I have change left over from yesterday when I bought an ice cream.” She’s allowed to buy ice cream at lunch with her allowance. “I was going to buy another ice cream today, but he needs it more than I do.”

She went to her lunch bag to retrieve the extra fifty cents and added it to the bag.

I told her that was sweet, but “sweet” doesn’t really cover it. Because my first instinct was to tell her, “You don’t have to do that,” and my second was to say, “Compared to the amount of money the family must need right now, you really could go ahead and get that ice cream.”

But those are the words of a cynic. In her innocent heart, she sees her ice cream as the equivalent of this three-year-old’s chemotherapy, and so the sacrifice is nothing: how could she enjoy an ice cream at the cost of someone’s life?

So I told her what she was doing was very sweet. But she knew that already.


  1. whiskers

    Well, I think it’s really sweet that you told her she’s sweet, even if she already knows. Sometimes we all need to hear things we know already.

    However, smarty-pants kids never grow out of it…I know, I sassed my dad the other day. And I’m 28. We were at a college function of mine, and he was joking around, and I said, “Hey, I’m working here…can we act like it??” He just laughed…Then I told him that I love him. He knows that already, but he needed to hear it.

  2. Jason Block

    That wasn’t sweet. That was the equivalent of GETTING IT. In a way that few people do these days. Bless her “sweet” heart.

  3. Ivy Reisner

    You’re right on INRI, and it’s sort of interesting. The phrase was selected in Hebrew, because the initials form the Tetragrammaton name. Naturally, Iesvs Nazarenvs Rex Ivdaeorvm is Latin. Please recall Latin didn’t get a “J” until later, under Greek influence, and that the “J” sounds like an “I” anyway, so “Julius” is “ee-oo-lee”. The “v” should sould like a “u” here, a common feature of Latin inscriptions even today; the split happened later. Incidentally, that’s why the letter “w” has the name is has, even though it looks like it should be “double-v”, which is what the French call it.

    K2 is amazing, and Jason is right, she gets it. You’re right that her 50 cents won’t pay for chemotherapy, but her 50 cents, coupled with 50 cents from this classmate, a quarter from that, a dollar from the teacher, etc, etc, will. Can I put out a prayer request for the 3-year-old, and is there a charity established for him yet?

  4. philangelus

    As of Day II of the coin drive, they’ve got $1200 already. I talked to K3’s teacher this morning about setting up a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization for students to help students (keeping it named generically so they can revive it whenever there’s a tragedy.) Prayers would be appreciated. Thanks.

    Later they’re going to have a raffle and a fundraising walk. I’m debating whether I should donate a signed copy of my book (whether anyone would *want* it) and I’d like to make a baby blanket to donate, so if you have a pattern an idiot could follow, would you be able to send it to me?

    BTW, thank you for the Latin lesson! Remember when you joked that my guardian angel might call me “Yane”? 😀

  5. cricketB

    Do yours invent statistics? My daughter confidently tells me that 90% out of 100% of people … When I question, she narrows it down, to 90% of adults … . Son went through the same stage. She doesn’t understand _why_ I consider that a form of lying.

    Extra hugs for Kiddo#2. Yes, she “gets it”. That 50 cents is tangible and countable. You’re setting a great example for them.

    (BTW, $1 officially equals a pound of coins. The school decided this after the big kids realized bringing several pounds of pennies would help them win the fund-raising prize.)

  6. philangelus

    Cricket, 63.2% of statistics are made up on the spot.

  7. cricketB

    Is one of the parents an accountant / lawyer / someone who already knows how to do those accounts and could guide you? Is there an organization to help charities? The local arts council helps with grant applications, and the small business centre gives low-cost legal advice. Most accounting and legal stuff, the learning is hard, but doing one more is straightforward.

    If there’s a silent auction or something similar, yes, donate the book. Those who aren’t interested will bid for something else.

    For the blanket,,

  8. Ivy Reisner

    Cricket, that makes me nuts too.

    “9 out of 10 (insert group here) does X.”
    “And you’re getting these numbers from…?”
    “Well, it’s my opinion.”

  9. Lane in PA

    Jane, Kiddo#2 “gets it” because her parents have taught her Empathy. Not a lot of kids possess this ability, and unfortunately they grow up to be self-absorbed and self-serving.

    I don’t know what the statistics are for this…but 63.2% sounds about right.


  10. Ivy Reisner

    Baby blankets are so easy. They’re square. 30 X 30 or larger. Grab a stitch dictionary, swatch up whatever looks pretty, then do some super easy math.

    30 divided by the number of inches in your swatch is the number of repeats. Round up.

    The number of stitches per row in your swatch, multiplied by the number of repeats, is your cast on.

    Then just work the pattern over an over until you have a square.

    Can I send you a donation for the raffle?

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