Superman Trumps God: The NaNi Report and Other News


Here are some more anecdotes from the world’s cutest and oldest three-year-old:

  • We were “in the running” for a very nice outdoor grill that was being given away. When our friend Phil reported that it had gone to someone else, NaNi instructed, “You should have called ‘NaNi dibs’!” Quite a few people have commented on how good she is at conversing. This is something we’ve observed in her from very early on, but it does seem odd sometimes to have a three-year-old who thinks she’s on equal terms with everyone in the entire world, and can generally talk that way.
  • As parents, we all love it when our children begin to learn about God and develop a theological understanding of their own. Quite often, we forget that their grasp of things can be very different than we expect, at least underneath the common terms we hear from them. For example, Naomi and I have talked several times about “God v. Superman,” after a conversation that she had with David one morning. NaNi insists that Superman is better than God, despite her acknowledgement that God not only created everything, but saves people forever. Maybe she just thinks that Tom Welling is cuter than God.

  • To NaNi, there’s just no contest.

  • NaNi continues to learn cool things. She’s learned to stand on her head, and was really impressing us with her Spider-Man moves done while climbing on our exercycle. She can also type her name accurately and quickly, since I gave her a guest account and assigned her name as the password. (The user name is nonobvious for security purposes.) She can also run a Web browser and navigate all her favorite educational sites without difficulty.
  • The other day NaNi gave me a dollar from her purse. As I didn’t want to take her dollar, I sneaked it back in later. Last night on the way home from church, NaNi exclaimed, “Dad! You cheated. You gave me back the dollar I gave you.” Not only had the little weasel counted the bills she had, but she correctly inferred how the extra one had gotten there.


  • A few days ago, I left a pen in my pocket, getting spots on a whole load of laundry, not to mention marking the inside of the dryer. I was very disappointed to have made such a mistake. Nichelle got the dryer cleaned out after a few days, but I don’t know how many clothing articles were irreparably marred.


  • Phil called David a slacker the other day, and he responded, “Uncle Phil, you know that everyone in my family is a slacker.”

Fighting (not Really):

  • I am attempting to do what few husbands would dare or desire. I am teaching Nichelle to argue. It seems odd to do so at this point of her life, and sometimes I wonder if this is what I really want, but her lifelong coping strategy had been to simply give in to the opinions of those around her, and she viewed all contradiction of her ideas as “being shot down.” Since I spend my days “in heated discussions” with my co-workers (it’s how software is developed, folks), she’d always believed I was shooting her ideas down—even though our discussions were virtually never heated—and even though I thought I was simply expressing a differing opinion and challenging her to defend her position, she viewed a single contradiction as “case closed.” It’s been fun, and a bit scary, requiring some adjustment from both of us, but she’s catching on quickly. (Ironically, if I had been asked to look back on the times we’ve disagreed in opinion, I would answer honestly that most of the time I see things her way in the end. However, my perspective did not and could not include the times she caved without discussion. Facinating.)


  • When I removed the cover (our first year with a mesh cover) from our pool this year, I made an interesting discovery: The pool was completely empty, save for a few puddles of nearly black water. NaNi, David, and Phil, and I spent much of Saturday sweeping and vacuuming out the bottom of the pool with the wet/dry vac. (There’s something really manly about operating a shopvac.) Then we scrubbed and rinsed every inch of it, repeatedly shop-vacuuming the dirt that had accumulated for the past several years. We patched the holes in the liner we found, and refilled the pool. Although the water is freezing, the results are astounding. The water is crystal-clear, and maintaining the chlorine level (so far) has been a breeze. If we ever move into a house with a swimming pool again, I’ll know to “kill and refill” it. (I should send pictures to my Mom and sister, who have always criticized my pool maintenance skills, just to prove the preexisting conditions weren’t my fault.)


  • I’ve submitted several (well, three) articles to Slashdot recently, but have yet to have any of them go beyond “pending.” Apparently the world of Geekdom is not ready for my paltry contributions.
  • I’ve finally started a Lego MindStorms group at work. You can read about our exploits on our MindStorms@Work BLOG. We have about 8 people participating, and it’s been great fun so far. Our first project is a robotic candy sorter, which has turned out to be surprisingly challenging, at least based on our initial research.
  • The kids are crazy about various “geek songs” that we can play on our MP3 or CD players in the car. Thanks to iTunes and such services, we’ve been able to download a very unusual mix: “The Fuhrer’s Face” (Spike Jones) is NaNi’s most requested item. (NaNi has referred to it as, “Green, green, green,” after the sound the horns make at the beginning, “The Space Song,” and “The Future of Space,”—it took me a while to figure out which one she meant. “White and Nerdy” by Weird Al is nearly always asked for, as is his “The Saga Begins.” (We have those in video as well from iTunes for the home computer.) Tom Lehrer’s “The Elements” we are all working on, and we have been listening to “Skullcrusher Mountain,” “Chiron Beta Prime,” and “The Future Soon” by Jonathan Coulton for quite a while. Also in the mix under the nongeeky category are “Sway” by the Pussycat Dolls (the only song I’ve really liked by them), several LotR tracks, some Big Band, and my two indulgences of “You Can’t Hurry Love” (the Supremes), and “The Power of Love” (Huey Lewis and the News). Nichelle has several new acapella gospel CDs which we often listen to, but I can’t get them out of her hands long enough to rip them to MP3.

Movies and Television:

  • I think my favorite movie of the summer is going to be Ratatouille, which opens at the end of June. Why? Two words: Brad Bird. So far Spiderman 3 was excellent, with beautiful moral lessons, and Pirates III was a huge disappointment, even though we got to see it in digital video at Lowell Showcase. (Very little humor and character development.) Shrek the Third wasn’t too bad, although Shrek was very un-ogre-like in parts, and TMNT was reasonable (better than I expected), especially for the kids, although a big part of the dramatic/emotional plot seemed like a rehash of the first TMNT movie. And, would anyone go see Fantastic Four II if Jessica Alba were not in it? I think not. (Okay, maybe people will go see it with the desperate hope that two FF movies in a row can’t be awful.)
  • We’ve just finished up watching the second season of “Grey’s Anatomy.” Although we love the medical drama so much that we can barely stay awake watching “House” anymore, our concern is that it’s developing too much into a “soap opera” formula. We shall have to see what season 3 has delivered when it hits DVD. I will say this much, if the writers are medically knowledegable, it’s very evident that Grey exhibits the behaviors of one who has been physically or sexually abused as a child, although it hasn’t been hinted at in the first two seasons of the show.
  • We also just finished “24.” Frankly, I’m tired of it. I don’t think this season, by the end, was anywhere near gripping, and I honestly miss the filming style and direction from the first season, including Jack Bauer’s voiceovers to introduce each hour and the constant use of split-screen. I was actually disappointed when they flashed the return of the show next January. I simply do not care any more.
  • The one unquestionably, gloriously bright spot on television has been “Lost.” Wow. If you haven’t been watching, you have all summer and fall to catch up on the first three seasons via DVD. Do it.


  • Tom in the Box News Service has a delightful, tongue-in-cheek (but never meanspirited) perspective on neofundamentalism, among other things. (The scary thing is how credible some of these stories are.)


  • Heritage Baptist has been wonderful for us. I’ve described is as “a whole congregation full of Debi Costines,” which is clearly an exaggeration, but there is a desire to know, study, and live God’s Word in its intended context that we have found only rarely. Travel on over to their Web site and have a listen to some of the messages.

Other stuff:

  • Nichelle’s health is better-than-perfect. She still outlifts me in all but a couple of weight-training exercises.
  • My Mom is getting married June 16, at age 80. We’re very excited about that.
  • I’m not sure why, but I really don’t like Jessica Alba with light hair.

John Hannah:

  • And, although it has nothing to do with this post, here’s a wonderful quotation from Dr. John Hannah:

    “Being biblical is not having a verse for what you believe; it’s having the weight of Scripture undergirding what you believe.” Dr. John Hannah

3 Replies to “Superman Trumps God: The NaNi Report and Other News”

  1. Hi Doug, so the pool is clear! The high point of some of my first summers with a pool was when finally, at last it would clear.This year we are still working on turning the yard into grass. Right now the birds think it’s a lovely dust bowl and the sun flowers are taking over along with a nameless weed. Since your pool is fixed come help us rake and seed! The floating chlorine from Walmart was the best for keeping our pool good, took us years to find it. Love you guys. Cindy

  2. If you had had a “pocket protector” that pen would never have gotten into the wash. What kind of Geek are you, anyway?

    A “churchful” of Debi C’s is an exhausting and scary thought!! 😉 On the other hand…think of all those libraries…

    Three cheers for LOST! I’m glad you guys finally caught up and can join our “discussion”!

    Thanks for the movie reviews. I HAVE to see Pirates 3, no matter what the reviews may be. How can I miss the final installment?

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