Friday Night: Crepes and Spelling

A few weeks ago, the oldest boy-wonder had a school field trip. For his lunch I packed him homemade quinoa salad with chicken and chopped vegetables, a flourless chocolate cupcake and yogurt and fruit sprinkled with hemp and chia seeds. This past Friday, the Hen had a school fieldtrip. For his lunch I packed him two hot cross buns from the grocery store and whatever else I could find.

Apparently my culinary approach reflects my Gemini personality (not a preference for one of my children over the other.) One week it’s insanely elaborate, or at least homemade, and the next….it’s waffles three days in a row. (Or hot cross buns from Sunterra.)

[As an aside, I’ve had a bit of a waffle obsession as of late. I found this recipe which allows me to think of waffles as a practically nutritious breakfast option. Though perhaps not when served quite so…often. Percy asked for waffles for breakfast every day this past week.]

Hence it was Friday night and I’d spent most of the day shopping (ironically for groceries) and various household things and by the time I returned home with the boys, shortly before 6, I’d plum run out of steam. The professor got home 30 minutes later and asked that regrettable question ‘what’s for dinner’ and I gave him a regrettable shrug that said ‘beats me’ and we surveyed the boys, thinking they would request pizza or something else, but instead they asked for crepes.

An excellent accompaniment to the multiple rounds of waffles.

But at least they had a plan – if a nutritiously void one – and I set to work mixing the glue, I mean batter, and passed the torch to the professor who seems to think he’s a better crepe-maker than moi.

The boys and I hunkered down in the basement and began watching Spellbound, a movie I’d requested from the library after the Gort expressed interest in participating in a spelling bee during one of our mother-son runs.


The professor and I had actually seen the movie when it was released (before we had children, when we liked to pretend we were film snobs) but I thought it might be interesting (for lack of a better word) for the Gort to watch it. And, as it is not part of the boys’ beloved Spy Kids series, I stood a reasonable chance of being able to (re) watch it without poking my eyes out.

I don’t recall what my 2003-self thought of the movie, but my 2014-self [how was that 11 years ago?] thought the movie was less documentary….and more satire. ‘It’s like watching Best in Show…for spelling bees,’ the professor laughed.

Because the parents (who look decidedly dated since the 1999 spelling bee tournament was filmed) are weird! And the kids are weird! And now that I have kids it seems difficult (impossible!) to imagine that I would be so invested in my child’s success at a spelling bee that I’d pay for daily (three-hours-long) tutoring sessions or call upon 1000 Indian villagers to chant his name during the competition with the hopes of securing a victory.

This background knowledge made for a particularly amusing moment when the Indian grandson, with the chanting villagers and the daily tutor and the language study to understand word origins, was given the word ‘Darjeeling’ in one of the final rounds of the competition. His disconcerted father could do nothing but watch while his brilliant son visibly struggled to spell this word that had no connection to French or Latin or German…..but was rather connected to his cultural heritage.

Luckily the kid pulled it off.

The boys rooted for a few of the film’s stars (‘I want Georgie to win, or her, but not her’) and we tried to spell the contestants’ words aloud. Some were doable (banns, mercenary, logorrhea, hellebore…darjeeling) and some we couldn’t even begin to spell.

The good news is the movie helped to diminish the Gort’s interest in spelling bees. The bad news is he used the word darjeeling at least three times today, most impressively when singing ‘she came in like Dar-jeeeeeeling.’

Miley Cyrus would be so….proud.





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