The Mama is on blog-cation this week. I know you are heartbroken, and for that I am deeply sorry. My meager attempt to make it up to you? Some hand-picked classics.






contingency planning

Overheard in Chicago

Alice: What happens if our car runs out of all its gas?

The Mama: We would walk to get some gas and bring it back to the car.

Alice: No. we would push the car.

The Mama: You think? It would take all three of us pushing.

Alice: Yes. And someone to pull. Peter. I assume Peter is the strongest one in our family. Then Dad will get out of the car and get us gas. We’ll say thanks to those two friends that helped.


Overheard in Chicago

About three-fourths through our car ride home, we made a pit stop to fill a gas tank, empty bladders, and buy more junk to eat. When The Mama went to pay for The Kidling’s treat, I found my wallet empty. We walked out to the car, buckled Alice into her car seat, and then she stayed with The Dada while I raided the coin holder and ran back inside to pay. While I was paying the clerk for Alice’s sugar-poison, the following exchange occurred:

Alice: Don’t move the car!

The Dada: Why?

Alice: I want my snack!

The Dada: So you care more about your snack than your mom?

Alice: (pause) Yeah.

fun can be found in the strangest places

Overheard in Chicago

“Is this the Amusement Park!?!”

No, dear one, it is not. It is, however, the World’s Largest Truckstop. Consider yourself inaugurated, kidling.

It might not be an amusment park, but it is an amusing place to park. Har Har Har.
photo credit: von Welker


(Photo link)

just call me…

Overheard in Chicago

“If you forget my whole name, then you can just call me Alice. If you forget my whole name you can call me Alice and if you just remember the ‘A,’ then you can call me Al.”


Overheard in Chicago

Alice: Dad, can I tell you something? If you want to save cars and toilet paper, then take one half of the car and toilet paper and then, when it runs out, use the other one.

The Dada: Which one? Cars or toilet paper? I’m confused.

Alice: Well, take half of the roll of toilet paper and the car, and, when one runs out, use the other one!

overheard in chicago

The Family just returned from a three-day jaunt to the Windy City. We don’t often take mini-vacations, because:

  1. We like our own mini-rooms, and need not pay a small fortune to borrow the mini-room of another. Which brings me to…
  2. The Family is cheap;
  3. We love Our Town; and
  4. Where do people find the time? Seriously.

The result of this little trip was more than a few soundbites that brought smiles to our faces and hearty laughter to our bellies. As such, I am declaring this overheard in chicago week on the book of alice.

I hope you enjoy.


I learned something new Wednesday night.

The Kidling has an amazing book from which she has been choosing the vast majority of her bedtime stories. As a recent reward (for good behavior. The Family wholly supports bribery), Alice wanted a book “about dragons that is even longer than The King’s Stilts.” I thought we were certainly doomed, but our fantastic local book store delivered: a rather long tome filled with a dozen rather long tales.

Wednesday Alice chose an adaptation of Excalibur. I read it to her and then we snuggled up for what I thought would be a typical bedtime cuddle. Oh, how wrong I was.

Alice: (with tears in her eyes) Mom, I am sad.

The Mama: Why, sweetie?

Alice: Because of that story. Because of what you said.

The Mama: Which part?

Alice: Because he had to leave his parents.

The Mama: I know. It is really sad. The thing is, Alice, parents will do anything to protect their children. The King was afraid someone would hurt Arthur, so he had to protect him.

Alice: But I’m sad he had to leave.

The Mama: It is terrible, Alice. I think losing a child would be the worst thing in the entire world. But good grown-ups will do anything to protect a child.

Alice: Even give them away?

The Mama: (thinks: oh shit!) (says: something I cannot recall exactly, but I can recall it did not assuage her fears.) 

When I went downstairs to debrief The Dada, he mentioned his own story-telling technique. You see, in this particular anthology, someone always dies, is seriously wounded, is abandoned by a parent, is trapped in a cave, is—  Well, you get the picture. The Dada, wise soul who he is, told me that he pauses the story when they get to the gruesome sections and asks, “Alice, you know this is pretend, right?” To which our darling daughter replies, “I know. It’s a miff.”

Several lessons here:

  1. Don’t read terrifying stories before bedtime;
  2. Sometimes less is more when talking about genuinely horrible things;
  3. The Dada can be damn smart; and
  4. My little 4.5-year-old is an expert in miffology.

I think I love her.