Sunnyisms for a Cloudy Day: Superhero Edition

My eight-year old, Sunny, has a way of confounding expectations in the best possible way.

It’s her superpower.

Super Iron Sunny



All’s Fair in Love and Goldfish

During the Morning commute:

“We had a lot of fun at recess this week, Mommy.”

“What are you doing?  Playing superheroes?”Goldfish Crackers

“No.  We’ve been getting married.”

“All of you?”

“Pretty much.  Yesterday, Jennie married Gavin and Melissa married Jack.”

“With actual ceremonies?  Or just cake?”

“The church words.  We take turns saying the awfully married wife stuff.”

“And the boys are okay with this?”

“Not always.  We had to tackle Colin.”

“Did you get in trouble?”

“No.  The groom gets half the bride’s snack after recess, so they’re usually okay with it once they’re caught.  It’s just, Colin doesn’t like peanut butter crackers, so he wanted to marry me instead of Sophie.”

“Did you accept his proposal?”

“No way!  I like goldfish crackers way too much to get married!”


A recent triumphant shout from the bathroom:

“Once again, the Toilet Paper of Justice has wiped the Butt of EEEEeeevil!”


(Wouldn’t that make a terrific Proctor & Gamble ad?)


Super Mom

For Mother’s Day, I received this poster:

It reads:

My Mom is great.  My Mom is cool. My Mom is better than any Mom on earth.

My Mom can do anything!  My Mom is as smart as a stegosaurus which has two brains.

My Mom can’t lose.  My Mom is the best.  I love my Mom because she snuggles like a pro.

My Mom is a SUPERHERO.

On the next page, there’s a form reporting that I’m as strong as a hippo,
as smart as the aforementioned stegosaurus
(no mention that the stego’s second brain is installed in the rear),
brave as a mountain lion,
And that I have the Power to Snuggle.

My only weakness?


Yeah, I teared up.  This kind of thing is pure kryptonite.


Bad Mommy

I tucked Sunny in last night at she wanted a snuggle, so I climbed in.

“Ow!” I said, shifting to extract an Elsa doll, a transformer ball, a Dr. Who My Little Pony, three books, a flashlight, an empty bottle of bubble solution, two Pokemon figurines, and a handful of sharp-edged Legos.

“You have an awful lot of non-sleeping stuff in this bed,” I said, dropping everything all over the side.

“Mommy!” Sunny said, “You’re getting my room all messy!”

Sunny Comp


Purple Carrots at the Dinner Table

Last week, Sunny came home from school with an art project wrapped in newspaper and a plastic grocery bag of indeterminate origin.

The bundle sat on the counter as I threw dinner together, until my MIL, with her usual tact,  asked me if it was trash that someone should put in the garbage. I rescued it and opened it while she went to call the others.

Purple Carrot Fish1

I looked at the sculpture for a while in wonder, and put it in the center of the table, for a conversation piece.

It worked.

“What is that?”  My MIL asked.

“It’s my purple carrot,” Sunny said, scooping the center out of her dinner roll.

“That’s not a purple carrot,” Jane said.  “It’s a . . . squished snake?  That isn’t really purple?”

“It’s a fish,” Sunny said.  “And his name is Purple Carrot. See?  I painted him purple, except the . . . the hot oven thing made it too light.”

“The kiln?” I said.

“Yeah.  And Gail said it looked like a carrot, before I made it flat.”

Gail is Sunny’s very best friend and co-conspirator.  Everyone needs a Gail, who gives hugs to everyone she meets and may very well be the limitless energy source that will save the world, if anyone can figure out how to keep her still long enough to harness it.

Gail is often quoted around here—or evoked as authoritative approval.

“A screaming purple carrot?” Jane said.

“He’s not screaming.  He’s trying to breathe.  Gail says—”

“Why is a fish trying to breathe?”

“He’s evolving, Janie!  Duh!”

“So,” my husband said.  “He’s a lungfish?”

“Yes,” Sunny said.  “He’s trying really hard to get them.”Purple Carot Fish3

“Get what?” my MIL asked.


“Does evolution even work like that?” Jane asked.

“Maybe he’s a Pokémon,” I said.

“Or a Kirby-fish,” Jane said. “He looks like one of those cleaner fish—what’s that called?”

“Plecostomus?” I asked.

“Yeah. That.”

“He’s a Purple. Carrot. Fish,” Sunny said, stabbing at her green beans with her fork.  “Gail likes him.”

“He’s fantastic, honey,” I said.  “I like him very much, too.  His scales are really good and his expression is perfect.”

“Thanks, Mommy.”

“And I think Screaming Purple Carrot is a great name for a rock band,” I said, pushing my luck.

She beamed.  “That’s what Gail said!”

Purple Carrot Fish2




School Picture Day: A Communications Farce in Two-Acts

The Cast:

Sunny . . . . . . . . . an eight year-old

Jane . . . . . . . . . . a twelve year-old

My Husband . . . their father

My MIL . . . . . . .  their grandmother

Me . . . . . . . . . . . . the mime (I assume)



Last Night

Sunny: “It’s Picture Day tomorrow! I’m going to wear my new pink dress!”

Me: “Good idea! Do you have clean tights for it?”

Sunny: “Yes, Mommy.”

Me: “Go make sure. If you need something washed, bring it to me and I’ll wash it right now.”

Sunny (running off): “Okay!”

Me: “Jane? What are you wearing tomorrow for Picture Day?”

Jane (poking at her 2DS with the stylus): “No idea.”

Me: “How about your blue sweater with the tank underneath?”

Jane: “I guess.”

Me: “Or that lace wrap you bought that looks so good over your blue top?”

Jane: “I guess.”

Me: “Why don’t you go figure it out. If you need any laundry done, let me know.”

Jane (wandering off, still poking): “Okay.”

Time Flies


This morning

Sunny: “Mommy! Where are my tights?”

Me: “You don’t have any?”

Sunny: “You said you would wash them!”

Me: “You didn’t give them to me.”Pink tights

Sunny: “Yes, I did. The pink ones!”

Me: “The ones next to your fish tank? The ones you didn’t give to me?”

Sunny: “I thought you would see them there.”

Me: “. . .”

Sunny: “Can I wear these ones instead?”

Me: “Good idea. Jane? Are you dressed, yet?”

Jane: “Yeah.”

Me: “You’re wearing a tee-shirt for Picture day?”Laundry hamper

Jane: “What wrong with it?”

Me: “Nothing. You just usually like to dress up.”

Jane (shrugging): “Everything I wanted to wear is dirty.”

Me: “I told you I’d wash whatever you wanted.”

Jane (shrugging): “I didn’t know what I wanted.”

Me: “Are you wearing a bra?”

Jane: “YES, Mom, I’m . . . Oh. Be right back.”Hairbrush


Me: “You have beautiful hair. Look, we’ll just brush it under a little. . . See?”

Sunny: “I want bangs.”

Me: “Okay, but we’ll have to wait until Friday.”

Sunny: “But that’s AFTER Picture Day!”

Me:  “Yes, it is.”

Sunny:  “My hair is all POOFY!”

Me: “It’ll settle. Do you want a headband?”


Me: “Okay, no headbands.  Maybe a pony tail?”

Sunny:  “NO!”

Me:  “All right.  Your choice.  But I promise, your hair will settle down.”

Sunny: “Hmmph.”

Me: “Go take your school stuff to the kitchen. Jane! Did you brush your teeth?”

Jane: “Yeah.”

toothMe: “You brushed your teeth?”

Jane: “YES, Mom, I . . . Oh. Be right back.”

My MIL: “Sunny’s hair looks like it hasn’t seen a brush for days!”


Me: “I brushed it. It looks fine. It’ll settle down.”

My MIL: “Maybe a headband would help?”

Sunny (bending over to dig into her backpack): “ALL RIGHT, I’LL WEAR A STOOPID HEADBAND!”

My MIL: “Well, I didn’t mean to upset anyone . . .”

Me: “Sweetheart . . . You can’t wear a yellow headband with a pink and black dress. It doesn’t go. I’m sorry.”

Sunny: “It’s the ONLY ONE I HAVE!”

My MIL: “No it isn’t, you have some very nice ones in pink and black. Where are they?”

Sunny: “In my room somewhere.”

Me: “We don’t have time to find them. We’re late already. Her hair is fine. Jane!”

Jane: “I’m tying my shoes!”awesomeshoes

Me: “Did you brush your teeth?”

Jane: “YES. I mean, after this.”

My husband (to Sunny): “Oh, don’t you look pretty!”

My MIL: “I just wish someone would do something about her hair!”

Me: “I brushed it. Twice.”


My husband: “It’s not. It’ll settle down, Mom. Maybe we should buy her a pick.”Volcano Eruption

Me: “That won’t settle it down. Jane!”

My husband: “No, but she can get at the underside herself. She’s only brushing the top.”

Me:I brushed the underside this morning.  JANE! WE ARE GOING TO BE LATE!”

Jane (from offstage): “Ah’m bruffing ma feeff! Ya WANNAG me coo bruff em, wight?!”

My MIL: “Maybe a ponytail?”


Me (giving up): “I’ll be in the car.”

Sunny (several minutes later): “Here you are, Mommy!  Aren’t we going to be late?”

The One Sure Sign of Spring

The one sure sign of Spring

It’s not the mud. It’s not the rain. It’s not the colored eggs or the gefilte fish.

It’s this:*


“See those trees?” I said, driving down our street, which is lined with trees that have recently, and literally, burst into bloom. “Those trees are trying to kill me.”

“Maybe they know that every plant you touch dies,” Jane said. “Maybe they’re just trying to save the other plants.”

“A preemptive strike? Makes sense to me.”

“What’s a pre . . . pre-empty strike?” Sunny asked.

“Preemptive. Hitting first, before someone can hit you.”

“Like Janie does me.”

“I  do not!”

“Owwww! Mommy, she just—“

“No being pre-emptive in the car!”

“What else can you kill by touching it, Mommy?”

“Just plants. I’m very good at fish and small mammals.”

“Sunny’s a small mammal.”


“And I’ve kept her alive for seven years.”



You, on the other hand, might not make it to twelve . . .”

“Oops. Sorry, Sunny.”

“That’s okay. Just don’t pre-empty me anymore.”

“Pre-EMPTY? That’s not even a word—“


“—I mean, what’s that even mean?”



“Nope. Try some pre-empty listening, next time.”


*To get the full effect, imagine a muffled WHUMP, as if thousands of sinus cavities suddenly imploded and then collapsed in silent, throbbing pain.

Two Sunnyisms on a Cloudy Day

It’s foggy this morning—both outside the house and inside my head—and when that happens, it helps to keep things a little Sunny . . .

Sunny Getting Down

Maybe a week ago my six-and-two thirds, Mommy-year old, was pretending to eat her lunch and listening to her aunt and I explain the differences between Tolkien’s Hobbit and Peter Jackson’s movie to her grandmother, who wasn’t particularly interested in seeing the latter, even after we talked up the excellent dwarf dinner scene.

“What’s a dwarf?” Sunny asked.

“In the book and the movie, a dwarf is a very short warrior with a big beard,” I said, simplifying.  “A bunch of them come into Bilbo’s house, eat all his food, and then take him on an adventure.”

“What’s a Bilbo?” Sunny asked, wrinkling her little nose.

“A hobbit,” we all said.

“Oh.  What’s a hobbit?”

“They’re people with pointed ears and very hairy feet, so they don’t need shoes,” Watson said.  “They’re mostly farmers, but some of them are very brave.”

“Tooks and Bagginses,” we said together.

“And they’re even smaller than the dwarfs,” I said.  “About your size.”

“Smaller,” Watson said.  “They’re only about three feet tall.”

“Really?” I asked, trying to remember.  “Three feet?  You’re not confusing them with Smurfs and apples?”

“I don’t think so,” Watson said.  “Remember Bilbo holding all those dwarf weapons?”

“Huh,” I said.  “Okay.”

“What about Smurfs?” Sunny asked.

“Smurfs are three apples high,” I said.  “But they never really tell you how big those apples are.  I mean, Macintosh or Granny Smith?”

That started the conversation veering in a different direction, and Sunny excused herself and wandered away.

Well after  I’d forgotten about the conversation, Watson came up to me, laughing.  “Want to hear what your child just said?”

“I don’t know.” I said.  “Do I?”

“Well, Jane told Sunny she couldn’t do something because she was just a little kid.”

“Oh, great.”

“Yeah.  But then Sunny looked up at her, hands on her hips, and said, ‘I’m not a little kid, Janie!  I’m a tall hobbit.'”


Sheldon The Rock

The day after Thanksgiving, my mother went to the huge local craft fair, as is her tradition, and bought—among many, many other things, which is also her tradition—each of the kids a large, round stone with their name carved in it.*

After dinner, as the adults and Jane finished their dessert around the dining room table, I noticed Sunny by the living room couch, because open floor plans are awesome.

She’d wrapped something in a couple of Thanksgiving napkins and was having an involved conversation with whatever it was.

“Sunny?”  I asked, out of lazy curiosity.  “Is that your name stone?”

“Yes.  I’m keeping him safe.”

“Good idea.” And because I was full of turkey noodle soup and pumpkin cake and forgot who I was talking to for a second, I chuckled and asked, “Have you named your name stone, yet?”


I exchanged glances with Jane. “I guess even name stones need a name,” she said, shrugging.

“Is his name . . .  Sunny?” I asked.

“No.  His name is Sheldon.”

Jane and I stared at each other, eyebrows raised, and then at Sunny.  “Sheldon?!

Mom laughed so hard at our perfectly synchronized confusion that she nearly fell off her chair.

Also, I might add, a Thanksgiving tradition—at least on Sunny days.


*I cannot for the life of me make the grammar sound right in that sentence, so I’m giving up.  Indy?  Help?