V: Did Ms. Annie send you a picture of the two of us?
E: Yes, you and your sister are very fortunate that so many wonderful people love you.
V: Yeah, it’s because of our looks.
E: I don’t think that’s it, but yeah, don’t lose those.
V: Would you want a squealer or a pooper?
V: Would you prefer a squealer or a pooper?
E: What are you talking about?
V: Well, hamsters squeal more and guinea pigs poop more.
E: We’re on this hamster thing again?
V: Yeah. I think guinea pigs are the ones that squeal more and hamsters poop more.
T: So…which one?
E: Squealers and poopers sound like you two. You’re my favorite squealers and poopers.
V: I think you have to feed guinea pigs every three hours or they die, so hamsters are better.
T: Four hamsters.
E: You’re not getting four hamsters.
V: Three then. Their names will be Smallfat, Shawn…
T: And Mimi.
E: Is Smallfat one word or two words?
V: One word.
E: Are you naming one after your Uncle Sean?
E: Are you naming one after your Godmother Shawn?
V: No, Shawn is a boy, but spelled S-h-a-w-n.
E: And Mimi?
V: We wanted Men Are Dead To Me, but you didn’t like that.
(Editors note: The heirs barely clean up after themselves, so hamsters are a no-go.)
E: There’s no school on Monday.
V: Why is there no school?
E: MLK Day.
V: What is MLK?
T: What is MLK?
E: Martin Luther King…
V: Oh! Martin Luther King Day!
V: I am glad we’re spending MLK Day with you!
V: Because you’re a black man.
V: You’re my MLK!
T: You’re our MLK!
E: You’re sweet like pie.
V: And you’re a “junior.”
E: Correct. I have a dream that you two will pick up after yourselves without me saying anything.
V: Papa, you are George Washington.
E: Okay (in a hopeful attempt that this would be the end of the conversation).
V: And I am Alexander Hamilton.
V: I believe that we come back as different people. Tabi, you are Michelle Obama. No, she is still alive.
T: I am Selena Gomez.
V: That doesn’t work because she is alive.
T: Oh. So, you are the female Alexander Hamilton?
V: No, you don’t change genders.
T: Yay! I get to see a penis!
V: I’m sad.
T: I’m sad, too.
E: What are you sad about?
V: We’re eating animals!
E: You don’t have to…
V: I know, but they taste so good.
E: Yes, that’s the dilemma.
V: I can taste the blood!
E: I doubt you can taste the blood in your chicken strip.
V: Papa, you are really good at comebacks.
E: Where is this going?
V: I want you to teach me how to be better at them. I mean, I am pretty good with Mama, but I need some help with the Granster.
E: Yeah, Granny is pretty good.
V: So, let’s practice. I’ll say something to you and you make a comeback.
E: (begrudgingly) Okay.
V: Your sweater is ugly.
E: Just like your attitude.
T: Whoa. That was good.
E: I know.
V: Do you think the ocean is made up mostly of water…?
V: …or pee from animals…and humans?
E: Definitely water.
T: I think there are patches of pee.
E: We’re eating dinner.
T: Only our family would be talking about pee at dinner.
V: I wonder if other families are talking about pee at dinner.
E: I hope not.
V: I hope so. I hope millions of families are talking about pee at dinner.
V: That way they are weird, just like us.
E: I want to go on record as saying that this conversation was not my idea.
T: Yeah, weird and cuckoo…that’s what YOU are (pointing her fork at her father).
T: It’s hard to tell where his (her father’s) forehead is, because he’s bald.
E: Do you want your flu shot in your arm or in your leg?
V: I think I want it in my arm. The last time I got a shot in my leg I limped.
T: I like to limp.
E: You like to limp?
Editor’s note: both shots were given in the arm. No limping reported.
T: I just met an old lady and her two dogs.
T: They were so cute…the dogs, not the old lady.
T: Fireworks are like happy lightening.
V: Papa, what’s wrong. Are you all right?
E: Yes. I just bent over and I am old.
V: You’re not old.
E: Yes, I am.
V: Well…you’re not as old as you gonna be.
E: I don’t know how I feel about that.
Since I sent a note to my teacher, I want to send a note to you. Papa, thank you for being a good papa. And thank you for making Team Awkward even better than it seems…or should I say even awkwarder than it seems.
Tabi (your youngest daughter)
T: What’s the matter with Vivian?
E: Nothing is the matter with Vivian, she is just being dramatic.
V: Coming from the guy who is drinking his water like he is the queen of England.
E: (Raises pinky).
T: Why are you watching baseball in the morning?
E: It’s football…and we are definitely in the evening.
T: Why are you watching football?
E: Because I like it.
T: I don’t like football.
E: Your body, your choice. Why are you watching football if you don’t like it?
T: Because I love TV! It’s my favorite thing in the world! Except family…and love.
Tabitha’s assessment of Camp Zoofari as told to her paternal grandmother:
“We go outside and suffer, then we go inside and cool off, then go outside and suffer some more. Then we go inside and it feels as though we will never suffer again, but then we go outside and suffer some more.”
*This evaluation is in no way a criticism of the excellent staff, programming or facilities of the Houston Zoo, but represents the fact that the Wombat lost one water bottle, one fan and misplaced another water bottle and her cap during her time at Camp Zoofari.
T: Why don’t you eat breakfast when we do?
E: I’m usually not hungry and I use the time to do stuff…
T: Yeah, you do a lot of stuff for us.
E: …and get breakfast later at work.
T: So breakfast is like a award for taking care of us.
E: Do you mean a reward?
T: Yeah, a reward.
E: Sure, breakfast is my reward.
T: And coffee.
E: Yeah, definitely coffee.
V: (After noticing two ladies in thong bikini bottoms): Geez, I hope I never do that.
E: I hope so, too.
T: Would you rather swallow chlorine water or ocean water?
V: Chlorine water makes me burp, so ocean water.
E: Why not close your mouth while swimming and just deal with saliva?
V: She (referring to T) loves her papa.
T: Yeah, even when he’s a quarter-naked.
E: You mean when I am wearing swim trunks?
V: Yeah, but not in a bad way.
T: Yeah, in a normal way.
V: (to her father) What’s up with your style today?
T: What’s this white stuff?
E: Malt (as in malted candy eggs).
T: Can you eat malt (after already consuming it)?
T: It doesn’t seem like a word you could eat…like mold.
V: It’s a disaster! Granny is dancing like she is a 30-year-old!
T: I just want to be a mama already.
V: Yeah, why? Enjoy your childhood.
T: I just want to do all the cool things parents can do.
V: Trust me, their lives are not that cool. Just ask this guy (pointing to her father).
T: Another thing, my mouth would be bigger, so I could eat bigger food.
Translation: I am sorry I was so annoying to you and just so you know, I did it on purpose. (The Wombat keeps it real.)