Friday, February 10, 2012


: a funny little creature that seems to be a cross between two characters from the books Frankenstein and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

While A and K were at ballet Thursday, B and I headed to Starbucks.  With three daughters who are active in things like ballet, basketball and art and the full time job of homeschooling two of them, it's difficult to get time alone with any one daughter.  Thursdays offer one such small window.  From 4:30 to 6:00, both A and K are at ballet.  I can't make it happen every week, but I like to squeeze in something a little special with B on these days.  She's a fan of antique shops and art studios, so sometimes we stop by a neighborhood shop to browse.  Today had been a busy day filled with cleaning (one of my least favorite things to do), school and appointments, so I thought it would be nice to allow myself a break from the house and all that needed doing.  Hence the trip to Starbucks - each with a book in our hands.

I ordered a decaf latte.  B opted for hot chocolate and a cake pop.  We sat companionably at our table, sipping and reading.  B can be a prickly child.  As the middle daughter, she sees the advantages of being the oldest or the youngest - and she's acutely aware that she occupies neither position.  Yet she is also the daughter who is the most like me in looks and temperament.  In some ways, she has a difficult time making friends her own age - she can be too blunt, too single minded, too unwilling to play the games most girls play.  But there's a reason it was pleasant to take her to a coffee shop this afternoon - B is going to make a great adult.

B and I chatted a bit as we sipped our drinks and read our books, but we mostly sat there together quietly.  That is, until B finished her book, looked up and said, "I'm ready to go now."  (I told you she can be blunt.)  I asked her to clear our table while I read to the end of a chapter. 

On our ride home, she told me about her book.  It was called Wonkenstein, and was about a boy whose parents constantly gave him books to read.  Instead of reading them, the boy threw them into his closet.  Turns out, his closet was doing something with all of those books: taking characters and merging them together into new characters.  Wonkenstein is a coupling of Willy Wonka and Frankenstein.  Eventually there's a Potterwookie as well (Harry Potter + Chewbacca).

For most of the ride home, we constructed our own imaginary creatures.  I said I might merge Katniss from The Hunger Games with Anne of Green Gables.  Katniss could have used a good splash of Anne's willingness to be a good friend to temper her strength and cunning.  We then wondered what it might be like if Peter Pan combined with Jack from Breadcrumbs - we thought Jack might have held on to hope a bit longer with some of Peter in him.

I love these kinds of conversations with my daughters.  Not just because we're talking about books, but because we're dreaming together.  That's more magical than Wonkenstein himself.

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