Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Another place you can go where everything flows

If you don't often scroll down past my latest post, you may not have noticed that my multitalented sister, creator and star of the Off-Broadway show Mother Load, is now blogging. It's most entertaining, especially if you're interested in parenting and its unique pressures. I just hope we won't come to blows over who gets to blog about the cute and hilarious things her kids do and say. (Naturally, she gets first dibs... but then again, I update more often...)

I'll share a quick my-nephews story, while I have the floor. Last night I was reading the boys the classic 1943 picture book Katy and the Big Snow, by Virginia Lee Burton, which is all about an intrepid bulldozer named Katy and how she plows out the town of Geoppolis (the extra "P" is for "progressive gender roles") after the titular big snow. It's charmingly low-key, sort of like The Little Engine That Could without the heavy-handed moralizing or the freakish anthropomorphic food. And, for the most part, it's very practical -- the bulk of the plot concerns the restoration of basic utilities and services to greater Geoppolis. Did you ever try to explain electricity to preschoolers? I hardly understand it myself. I thought it would be even more difficult to explain the delivery men making use of the freshly plowed roads -- the little trucks marked FISH and ICE and MILK -- but then I remembered that the boys have been greeting Fresh Direct deliverymen ("Fresh Guys," as my nephew calls them) since they could crawl. So door-to-door grocery service makes perfect sense to them. Anyway, the book's air of practicality extends to Katy herself; there is the suggestion of a face in her headlights and grill -- I think she looks a little like a lobster -- but she is not excessively personified, and so, when I finished the book, my 4-and-a-half-year-old nephew asked, "Is there a person inside Katy that drives her?" I told him I thought there must be -- "Trucks can't drive themselves" -- and his eyes sparkled a bit as he replied, "But maybe Katy can!" So we inspected all the tiny illustrations for conclusive evidence. (Burton left it vague on purpose, I am sure, so that we wouldn't ask why the snowplow operator gets none of the glory or hero-worship reserved for Katy in this book.)

My just-turned-three nephew took a long, hard look at the back cover and said, "I think there's a person in there... Or an animal." I assumed his older brother (who, as you may recall, is an Animal Expert) would shoot this theory down, but instead he replied matter-of-factly, "Yes. Because animal mommies and daddies can drive." I must have looked skeptical, because he added, "They just don't have cars. And they don't go on trips, so..." he shrugged, like, It's really very simple, Aunt Mollie. So I knew better than to argue.

As long as we're looking at the blogroll, I would like to call your attention to the very unique web presence of my friend Mike, who displays his Microsoft Paint artwork at Mike Draw. You might say he's an MS Paint Expert. I think I like the animals in this set best of all -- wouldn't your computer like some blue monkey wallpaper?

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