Sunday, April 27, 2008

Spelling Does Count

Attention World!

My name is Suzanne.

Let me spell it. S U Z A N N E

Let's try pronouncing it, shall we?


Here's what my name is not:


Which is spelled S U S A N

And is pronounced



Not the same name. So when I give you my name, and even spell it for you, what should I hear and/or see?


Not Susan.

Thank you.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth Day 2008

To celebrate Earth Day, the kids and I went for a walk in the woods. Which we had to drive to, but whatever. It's the gesture that counts, right?

I loved watching them explore and play around a huge fallen tree. It made me a little wistful -- it's exactly the type of activity I craved as a child but didn't get to experience.

Last week I drove the kids past the house that I lived in until I was about 8. It's only about 20 minutes from where we live now, but it's a noticeably rougher area. Sean and Allie were fascinated by the sight of the long line of row houses. They marveled over the weed-choked alleyway that serves as the backyard, by the postage stamp-sized front yard.

I have fond memories of that house, of the chummy neighborhood where I could walk to the corner store for my mom, where I could visit my grandparents by trotting across the street.

What I sought, though, was something completely inaccessible -- green space, woods, wildlife. In the absence of abundant nature, I created a slice of it for myself. Behind my house and down the alley a bit was an adjacent alleyway bordered by thick shrubs. I found a secret entrance through the shrubs -- I called it The Little Hole. It was my private haven, a place I could retreat to play alone, to pretend that I was hidden deep in a forest.

I showed Sean and Allie where The Little Hole used to be. The thicket of shrubs has been cleared away. It's a completely open space now, just another section of the alley.

I can still feel the frisson of excitement I'd get by parting the leaves and entering my special space. I'm glad that I have that memory. And I'm even more glad that Sean and Allie have access to the real thing.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Amply Illustrating Three of Our Four Slogans

This morning, I awoke to hear Sean and Allie already in earnest conversation.

Allie: Sean, you can't call me Allison anymore.

Sean: Why?

Allie: Because my name is now Ariel.

Sean: Okay. Hi, Ariel.

Still rubbing my eyes, I follow Allie to her room.

Allie: Mommy, where are my green pants?

Me: In your closet. Why?

Allie: Because I'm Ariel now, and I have to look like her.

I help her into her green pants.

Allie, holding up a piece of purple tissue paper: Now help me put this on. It's Ariel's top!

In case you are unfamiliar, here's the look she was going for:

Me: I'm not sure that's going to work, sweetie. Plus it's still kind of chilly for a top like that.


Me: Okay, it's not worth arguing about. But only for a few minutes.

Allie: Get some tape!

Me: Ummm, manners?

Allie: Please!

We struggle to fashion a tube top from lavender tissue paper. Within 2 minutes, it's ripped.

Allie: (Wailing)

Me: I can fix it! I'll use more tape.

Allie: No, GLUE! Glue it together!

Me: Tape would be better for this tissue paper, I think.

I tape the top again. It falls down within 1 minute.


Me, thinking fast: Why don't you pretend to be Ariel as a human? She wore a dress, right? You can wear a dress, too.

Allie: (Sniffing). Okay. What color?

I look at our Little Mermaid book. When Ariel is in the rowboat with Eric, she's wearing a blue dress. Thank GOD Allie has a blue dress.

We remove the tube top and green pants, put on the blue dress.

Me, tying the bow in the back of the dress: And it even has a pretty bow, just like Ariel.

Sean: No, Ariel's dress doesn't have a bow.

Me: Yes, it does.

Sean: No, it doesn't.

Me (giving evil look of death, speaking with clenched jaw): I think it does, okay, Sean?

Allie looks as if she is not sure who to believe but is prepared to pitch a fit if necessary. It's a precarious situation.

Allie: I like the bow!

Thank goodness.

Crisis averted at 7:15 a.m.

Friday, April 11, 2008


I'm thinking that the Mimilou household needs a slogan, something we can all rally behind, something that succinctly captures just who we are as a family.

Some possibilties:

Why be agreeable when you can argue?

What? I can't hear you over all the shouting!

Whining is for winners!

It's going to cost HOW much to fix?


What would your family slogan be?

Wednesday, April 09, 2008


The first thing Sean told me today when I picked him up from school was "I don't want to go my baseball game today."

(He's had one T-ball game so far and had a grand time.)

No subsequent interrogation technique elicited a reason. Did anything happen at school? No. Did someone say something to you? No. Did you do something you don't want to tell me about? Yes. I mean no. Do you want to whisper in my ear? No. Do you want to write it down instead of tell me? Yes. (Pause while he sits at the table.) I don't really have anything to write about. What's wrong? NOTHING!

Realizing that my obsessive need desire to know EVERYTHING just might be having the opposite effect, I backed off.

He seems okay, if a bit ornery, this afternoon. He still doesn't want to go to his game and still offers no reason. It's driving me crazy.

Sigh. I am ill equipped to handle secret-holding. I know it will only get worse as the kids get older. You start with a reluctance to swing a bat at T-ball and the next thing you know they're married to someone you've never met.

What, you think I'm blowing this out of proportion a little?

Sunday, April 06, 2008

From the Roundhouse to the Death Star

Today I cleared off the coffee table. Today, for the first time in three years, the table is no longer serving as an outpost of Tidmouth Sheds.

Today I put away all the Thomas the Tank Engine toys.

And I heard not one word of protest.

My newly minted six-year-old was too busy playing with all his new Star Wars toys. Now, instead of Thomas and Percy and Gordon and Henry, all I hear about is Luke and Annakin and Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine. He's not about to let the fact that he hasn't seen a frame of any Star Wars movies get in his way.

An era has passed. We've traded the cheerful exploits of steam engines for the life-and-death light saber battles of Jedi knights.

Will the Force be with us always?