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kid comedians in cars

Munchkin’s two-week-long spring break just ended, which means we’re back to carpooling – and back to listening to Munchkin and his friend jibber-jabber at each other at breakneck pace in the backseat.

At the outset, Munchkin and his classmate did not interact much on their way to school. The other boy is half a year older, which is a huge difference at this age, and there was also a drawn-out feeling out process. It’s debatable whether the pair have become fast friends since the start of the school year, but at a minimum they get along well enough to chatter up a storm on the way to school.

“I’ll huff and I’ll puff, and I’ll blow your house,” Munchkin announced to his classmate as the latter was being helped into the car. “No, I’ll huff and I’ll puff, and I’ll blow your house down,” the older boy answered gamely. “Not by the hair on my chinny-chin-chin,” Munchkin quickly retorted before repeating his lupine threat. That was the first of several mornings during which we were treated to an extended rendition of the Three Little Pigs, which has long been one of Munchkin’s favorite bedtime stories – both in Russian and English.

Another time, the two spent the entire car ride riffing on Akagera, Rwanda’s only game park. All it took was for Munchkin’s classmate to announce that he was going to fly to l’Akagera for Munchkin to pick up the refrain. The French definite article his classmate attached to the park’s name must have thrown Munchkin off a bit, because he proceeded to make all sorts of wild claims about animals, real and imagined, that he would see when his parents flew to “La Kagera” with him. Never mind that just a week or two earlier D had taken him camping there.

Our favorite heated backseat debate took place a couple of weeks before school break. Munchkin had just turned three and trumpeted this fact to his classmate, who did not miss the obvious opportunity to rebuff Munchkin’s pronouncement with the matter-of-fact statement, “No, I’m three.” Verbal fireworks ensued as the two boys sparred over which one of them was actually three years old. S attempted to broker a truce by pointing out that they could both be the same age – and, in fact, were indeed both three years old. The two tiny combatants were far from convinced by this apparently suspect line of reasoning.

And then there was the time Munchkin unleashed a long-winded soliloquy imploring the other boy to speak to him in French and threatening, somewhat implausibly, to start crying if his classmate did not comply. The other boy was unmoved by this exhortation and addressed Munchkin by name with a hint of exasperation in his voice before bluntly telling him to stop whining.

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