mommies, stories worth repeating, Uncategorized

the satisfactory ending

Frog and Toad

You may or may not have had occasion to read Frog and Toad Are Friends recently.  However, if you are like me, and have a young child, you may have read it hundreds of times in the last few months.

And happily so.

The Frog and Toad series, by British author, Arnold Lobel, are among the children’s books that one can read repeatedly and still enjoy, or at least tolerate, or at least not totally loathe.

In fact, I love Frog and Toad and especially Frog and Toad Together.  The stories are good, the characters relatable, and the endings are brilliant.  Enviable.  Analysis-worthy.

But let’s start with two excellent characters, long time bffs. Frog is the elder statesman, the more responsible, more reliable, wiser character with Toad, his immature, ill-mannered, ill-temperated, often neurotic and, of course, good-hearted best friend.  Toad is usually suffering through some lesson, something which more often than not, he does not appreciate.  My daughter has often said, you’re Frog and I’m Toad, and tonight when I asked her who her best friend was, she said, “You.”  So, I guess, I’m still Frog, which is kind of funny, since I relate more to Toad, despite my being older and wiser.

Cookies, a story about Frog and Toad binging on delicious cookies that Toad has baked, ends with Frog giving all the cookies to the birds in order for them to gain willpower. Toad rejects this concept announcing that Frog can keep the willpower–he is going home to bake a cake.

Almost every story is a juicy little nugget; shaped perfectly, with just the appropriate amount of  plot and character development to make them full bodied and delicious.  And the endings…  I don’t want to use the word perfect, but, they really are.

They often end with “place,” like, “The hands of the clock moved to show the hours of a merry Christmas Eve.” Or, “Then they sat in the shade of a large tree and ate their chocolate ice-cream cones together.” “They ran around the corner of Frog’s house to make sure that spring had come again.” In one, Toad has the last word, “Winter may be beautiful, but bed is much better.”

I think my favorite is from The Letter (Frog and Toad are Friends): “Toad was very pleased to have it.” It really comes down to a mixture of closure and uplift.  It’s just so damn satisfying.  You feel as good as Toad getting his first and probably last letter (sent to him by Frog, of course).  Just two best friends feeling as content as can be, as right in their little world as conceivably possible.  The best part is, Frog has already told Toad the contents of the letter, because he has to convince him to wait for it, being, as it is, delivered with interminable slowness, by snail. But they actually end up enjoying the wait because they share the knowledge of the contents of the letter.  Togetherness is a big happy theme too.  But I digress.  I mean, what more can I really say?

Toad was very pleased to have it.

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mommies

the early years

Yesterday, my daughter M told her very first story.  

She was holding a small yellow plastic bear meant for the bath and as she walked it along the edge of the tub she said, “One day, I was an antelope but I used to be upside like a bat.”  Here she turned the bear upside down and looked up at her audience for response. I nodded with a smile.

Then she let the bear float in the water and she said softly to herself, “Then you were floating on your tummy and I was kicking you.”  She kicked the water, lost interest, and picked up a toy frog.

It was short, but there was something compelling about it.  Good start, kid.

mommies, Uncategorized

the baby and pink locked in mortal combat

Taking M to the ice cream store for a treat brought to light two facts that are widely known, so widely accepted as to have become cliches in fact, but I had not yet experienced them first hand.

1.  M wanted pink ice cream.  Pink was the crucial factor, which meant in this case peppermint, as in candy cane peppermint, and the ice cream (I had to do some cone maintainence work) did taste like Christmas.

2.  M felt the inescapible urge (which she acted upon) to bite the tip off the bottom of her sugar cone long before she was near the point where ice cream wouldn’t melt nonstop, drip, drip dripping through the hole.  (More cone maintenance for Mommy).

And M didn’t place the baby and the pink panther in combat, that’s just where how they landed when she threw them down.