It feels like a 1977 Star Wars Christmas

It feels like 1977 again at my house. The Star Wars craze has hit. This time it’s my son Max instead of my brother that’s under the spell.

I was eight when Star Wars came out. I remember the long ride to the movie theatre – a whopping 15 minutes – it felt like forever.

I loved it but admittedly, my obsession didn’t rise to the level of my friend Andrea’s. Her entire room was decked out in Star Wars gear; bedspread, curtains, posters, you name it. She was Princess Leia for Halloween.

Six-year-old Max listens to these details in awe.

He’s obsessed. He discovered the galaxy far far away in a sticker book and hasn’t looked back since. Abandoning Batman, Spiderman, and the Hulk, he now chats about Darth Vader, R2D2, and Anakin Skywalker.

Max as vader

My little Darth Vader.

We spent our summer reading Star Wars books, buying Star Wars Legos, workbooks, and sticker books. I resurrected my four Stars Wars figures from childhood and it felt like I had passed on the family crown jewels.

My brother Paul had tons of figures that lived in a Darth Vader case. He also had the Millennium Falcon. Now Calista Flockhart may not what that means, but my Max sure does. Sometimes he likes to talk to his Uncle Paul on the phone about Star Wars.

It’s kind of my special thing with Max. I may not know all the “newer” movies but I know enough to impress a six-year-old. My imitation of Chewie makes him laugh. He can’t believe that I remember so many lines from the first two movies.

His favorite is when I imitate Leia telling Han Solo before he’s frozen; “I love you!” and Han replies, “I know.”


The ultimate Princess Leia, my friend Andrea in the 70s.

We’ve made Star Wars paper dolls. We’ve written what he calls a Star Wars blog. He told his babysitter, “I know when I get a light saber,  my mama will play with me. She loves it too.”

Max's art.

Art by Max.

The coveted light saber came with his Darth Vader Halloween costume. When it arrived, he ran around “training.”

I found 1970s Princess Leia and 2015 Luke in a compromising position last night. I asked Max about it.

“They were kissing,” he grinned.

“They’re BROTHER and SISTER,” I said.

“Well, it already happened at nap time, “ he said.

I laughed about this all day.

Let’s get to the books.

I’ve mentioned Star Wars Epic Yarns a few times on this blog. They are great for new readers and little kids. The felt figures are charming for any Star Wars fan.

Max spent our summer road trips working on yes..Star Wars Workbooks. Learning and Star Wars do go together.

He was also obsessed with the many Star Wars sticker books and Lego books available. A favorite is the LEGO Star Wars Character Encyclopedia.

Shh…there will be a Chewbacca costume under our Christmas tree.

Sprechen Sie auch Deutsch? My kids do

When Calvin was three he asked his preschool teacher to help him “wipe his keister.”

“I thought, ‘Are you an 80-year-old man?’” she laughed when shared this with me and husband.

Calvin learned keister at home because his dad says it. It’s part of our family slang.

Recently we’ve added “nicht gut” to the family dialogue. Nicht gut means not good in German. This time, the kids brought new words to the parents. They make a thumbs-down motion when they say it.

Max and Calvin are learning German at school. As kindergartners at Cincinnati Public School’s Fairview German Language School, they will take German for six years. Teachers and the principal go by Herr and Frau.

Max's work from Herr Heinz's class.

Max’s work from Herr Heinze’s class.

It’s quite adorable. Especially to me, who’s lasting skill after four years of high school and one year of college French is the ability to order an Orangina or ask for the bathroom, “où est la salle de bains?”

Which I just read is not the right way to ask for the facilities, so I was wrong. S’excuser.

While we live in a city with a strong German heritage, neither Eddie nor I are Deutschländers. Irish, Welsh, Scottish, English, and Italian make up our genetic backgrounds. We look like the British Isle side. Maybe that’s why when I suggested the family names of Giovanni or Raphael when I was pregnant, he didn’t go for it.

My great grandfather Giovanni DiGioia.

My great grandfather Giovanni DiGioia.

Besides teaching introducing us nicht gut, Calvin and Max can count to one hundred in German.

They sing songs. Sometimes I hear them singing themselves to sleep. Instead of the usual pop or kid songs, their sweet voices sing melodies I don’t understand. Max sung happy birthday to his cousin Margot in his new tongue.

They also taught their cousins the word for butt in German – po po. My nephew Luke now uses it liberally.

And of course, they argue about their German. Like an old married couple, Max and Calvin correct each other’s pronunciations and accents.

It’s been a fun experience but one I envision being used against us at some point when they have entire conversations that we don’t understand.

I better watch my keister.

Calvin reading a German book.

Calvin reading a German book.


I discovered an entire language section for kids at the local library. Korean, French, German….there are lots of language books at our branch. (Clifton for Cincinnati folk.)

Milet Publishing has a wide selection of toddler first bilingual books. Children’s books include bilingual Elmer books, young adult fiction, children’s stories and dictionaries in many languages.

My boys really loved showing me what they know in My First Book of German Words by Katy R. Kudela.