My 12-year-old daughter, W., was preparing to brush her teeth and reflecting on how she’s changed over the past year. She said, “I’m about 10% more mature and 20% more gay.”

The other day, W. was telling my mother the story of the Torah portion she’s studying for her bat mitzvah. When she finished, my mom asked, “So–what’s the moral of the story?” And my 8-year-old son, J., said: “Don’t insult a Jew or you’ll fall off your donkey.” Which is funny even if you don’t know the original story (which I don’t).

W. was feeling sad because J. had received a great deal of praise for swimming underwater for the first time, while W.’s achievements in the pool, including swimming a slightly longer distance than usual, had been overlooked. As W. and I sat on her bed and talked through her feelings, J. would drift in and out, waiting for the conversation to end so he and W. could start playing together. Eventually he passed through the room and said, in a mock-formal tone, “I myself often feel that I am too spoiled.”

And then later, as he was getting ready for bed, J. said to me: “The attention I get is both a blessing and a curse.”