Jefe: I have put many beautiful pinatas in the storeroom, each of them filled with little suprises.

El Guapo: Many pinatas?

Jefe: Oh yes, many!

El Guapo: Would you say I have a plethora of pinatas?

Jefe: A what?

El Guapo: A plethora.

Jefe: Oh yes, you have a plethora.

El Guapo: Jefe, what is a plethora?

Jefe: Why, El Guapo?

El Guapo: Well, you told me I have a plethora. And I just would like to know if you know what a plethora is. I would not like to think that a person would tell someone he has a plethora, and then find out that that person has no idea what it means to have a plethora.

Jefe: Forgive me, El Guapo. I know that I, Jefe, do not have your superior intellect and education. But could it be that once again, you are angry at something else, and are looking to take it out on me?
-The Three Amigos
~ ~ ~

In our home we could, and often do utilize the word plethora-actually we don't, but it fit so well with the story, so just pretend we do-to describe the quantity of exceptional incidents which occur on a regular basis. I don't mean exceptional in a grandiose sense, I mean exceptional as in "deviating from the norm." Take for instance the past two days. . . Wait; hold that thought.

So we don't run the risk of having an intellectual altercation like Jefe and El Guapo let me cover a few definitions that we actually do use in our house. These words fall from my lips nearly every day, certainly once a week!!

Let's begin . . .

1) over

  • Pronunciation: \ˈō-vər\
  • Function: adverb
  • Etymology: Middle English, adverb & preposition, from Old English ofer; akin to Old High German ubar (preposition) above, beyond, over, Latin super, Greek hyper
  • Date: before 12th century
. . . 2 a (1) : beyond some quantity, limit, or norm often by a specified amount or to a specified degree over> (2) : in an excessive manner

In our house this word is ALWAYS used in conjunction with the word stimulate or stimulated.


  • Pronunciation: \-ˌlāt\
  • Function: verb
  • Inflected Form(s): stim·u·lat·ed; stim·u·lat·ing
  • Etymology: Latin stimulatus, past participle of stimulare, from stimulus goad; perhaps akin to Latin stilus stem, stylus
  • Date: 1566
transitive verb 1 : to excite to activity or growth or to greater activity

Most often we can identity before going into the situation that Ethan is going to be over stimulated by the activity; like going to Peter Piper Pizza and playing games, getting together with his cousins, or visiting at the home of the Toole's, Bentz', Blair's, Larsen's, or other friends or family's home. Some times however the cause of the over stimulation is elusive.

  • Pronunciation: \ē-ˈlü-siv, -ˈlü-ziv\
  • Function: adjective
  • Date: 1719
. . . tending to elude: as . . . b : hard to comprehend or define c : hard to isolate or identify

Either way, whether we knew the situation was likely to cause over-stimulation or whether it was elusive and we get caught off guard, it makes no difference. When Ethan is excessively excited to a state of increased activity, it is never good, and always leads to what has been termed in our house as a "Nuclear meltdown!"


  • Pronunciation: \ˈnü-klē-ər, ˈnyü-, ÷-kyə-lər\
  • Function: adjective
  • Date: 1846
. . . 3 : crazy, berserk—usually used in the phrase go nuclear
  • Pronunciation: \ˈmelt-ˌdaun\
  • Function: noun
  • Date: 1956
1 : the accidental melting of the core of a nuclear reactor
2 : a rapid or disastrous decline or collapse
3 : a breakdown of self-control (as from fatigue or overstimulation)

These meltdowns come in all shapes and sizes. Some last for only a few minutes, others last for an extended period of time and often lead to a nuclear meltdown by one or both of the parents. As an example take tonight's Family Home Evening we held with the Toole's. We arrived at 7 with the schedule to include a nice but quick lesson, swimming in the backyard pool, and then an ice cream treat to end the evening. The schedule went off like clock work, except the clock was apparently wired to a bomb, because when it was time to finish swimming and go home, the fight was on to, if not diffuse, at least minimize the nuclear meltdown.

I must say, with only a little bit of screaming, and cutting comments escaping his lips, it went better then other days, and ended with a demand for a hug to comfort his sorrowful heart.

Take for instance the evening, a few weeks ago, when we had dinner with the grandparents. We all sat in the dining room, food was passed and we began to enjoy a nice Sunday meal. Almost instantly Ethan decided he was finished sitting at the table and began fussing and making a commotion to leave. I firmly told him to sit still and to stay at the table. He mumbled "D#@* it!" under his breath and then loudly proclaimed, "Dad, I said 'D#@* it,' just like you!"

Yesterday's incident, however, was one for the ages. It was one of the unidentifiable, elusive moments. Being the 5th Sunday I had the opportunity to teach a combined class of Young Women and Young Men. Ethan sat on the front row and we began the meeting with a song, prayer, and a scripture. As I started into the lesson I could see that Ethan, who was sitting next to Michael, was making funny faces. In fact he appeared to making a face as though he was kissing something. I ignored it and the next thing I knew Ethan had molded an object out of sticky tape and held it up to show me, and while doing so pointed to me with his other hand.

As I looked closer I could see that what Ethan had molded out of sticky tape was an arm with a hand with a single solitary finger extending upward. I grabbed the sticky tape from his hand, and balled the object up. He looked at me raised his hand in the air and mimicked his sticky tape sculpture. . .
Yes, there in class in front of twenty other kids, teachers, and his mother, Ethan gave me the bird!

  • Pronunciation: \ˈbərd\
  • Function: noun
  • Usage: often attributive
  • Etymology: Middle English brid, bird, from Old English bridd
  • Date: before 12th century
. . . 10 : an obscene gesture of contempt made by pointing the middle finger upward while keeping the other fingers down —usually used with the —called also finger

What can you do but smile and move on . . . ;)

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