Sunday, May 4, 2008


Have you ever tried to read a slightly complex story with an inquisitive seven-year-old? It's very wonderful, and more than a tiny bit crazy-making. Here's how it goes:

Me: "Claudia and Jamie awoke very early the next morning. It was still dark. Their stomachs felt like tubes of toothpaste that had been all squeezed out."

M. Peevie: Why did their stomachs feel like squeezed tubes of toothpaste?

Me: Do you remember what we read yesterday?

MP: Oh, yeah. It felt that way because they were so hungry.

Me: Right. Onward. "Giant economy-sized tubes. They had to be out of bed and out of sight before the museum staff came on duty...Claudia always dreaded that brief moment when her pajamas were shed and her underwear was not yet on."

MP: Why wasn't her underwear on?

Me: Maybe she doesn't wear underwear under her PJs. Or maybe she needed to change it. Okay? I'm going to keep reading. "...After they were dressed, Claudia whispered to Jamie, 'Let's stash our book bags and instrument cases before we man our stations.' They agreed to scatter their belongings."

MP: Why did they need to scatter their belongings?

Me: How about if I keep reading? "Thus, if the museum officials found one thing, they wouldn't necessarily find all."

MP: Oh, I get it. They hide one thing in one place, and another thing in another place, so that if the museum people find one thing, they won't find the other things, and they won't think that there are any kids hiding in the museum.

Me: Right. Moving on. "Claudia hid her violin case in a sarcophagus that had no lid."

MP: What's a sarcophagus?

Me: It's like a coffin, a place where they put dead people.

MP: Eeew. Why did she put her violin case in there?

Me: I don't know. Can I keep reading?

In the end, there were so many questions, interpretations, insights, and interruptions that I read a total of five frickin' pages in about 20 minutes.

Don't get me wrong. I adore this little girl. I can't imagine my life without her. But when I read a story with her, I'm screaming on the inside.

Bonus points to the first reader who identifies the book that M. Peevie and I were reading. Family members exempt.


Anonymous said...


I'm pretty sure that's "From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler". I love that book, and I can definitely understand why it would warrant so many questions from M. Peevie.

E. Peevie said...

Jacob--You win the bonus points! Congrats. And I know--I love that book, too. It was my favorite when I was M.P.'s age.

Anonymous said...

JRO: I just knew he'd comment with the correct answer! Does he win mashed potatoes and meatloaf? Can I have his winning plate if he doesn't want it?

E. Peevie said...

Well, technically, his prize is glory and the unabashed admiration of millions of Green Room readers. But I can downgrade the prize to meatloaf and mashed potatoes, I suppose.

Anonymous said...

ROFL! I know EXACTLY how you feel.