Showing posts with label Tink. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tink. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tink, on Roald Dahl

This week, Tink is reading George's Marvelous Medicine. It, like many Roald Dahl books, has been challenged from time to time by concerned parents. So I sat Tink down for a Jacqui Reads her Children Books That Are SURE to RUIN Them FOREVER discussion.

ME: Tink?
TINK: (reads)
ME: Tink?
TINK: (reads)
TINK: (reads)
ME: I notice you're reading George's Marvelous Medicine.
TINK: It's my Accelerated Reader book. (reads)
ME: Well, you know about Banned Books Week --
TINK: (deep sigh) And this is one of them.
ME: Well, sort of. What do you think?
TINK: (reads)
ME: Tink!
TINK: (blows bangs off face by spewing air with lower lip stuck out) Here's what I think: Yes, it's maybe not so appropriate in some places. But people! It's Roald Dahl. What did you expect? (returns to reading, turning back on me)
ME: (ponders several things, including how else to celebrate Banned Books Week)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Who is the author?

Today's Thursday inspiration comes from Tink, who had this idea:

"What if you didn't know who the author of the book was and the book was like a mystery where you had to find out?"

I am fascinated by this. You could write it as a scavenger hunt through the internet or even, gasp, the real world, where you had to figure out what historical figure was supposedly the author.

But I want fiction. A middle grade mystery with changing points of view, one of whom has written the book but doesn't admit it. In the story, a certain book has powers of some sort. Something important* hinges on who the author is, but nobody knows. After a few chapters, we realize the book in question is the one we're holding and WE have to figure out who wrote it. I want it sort of terrifying, like if we don't figure it out before the book is over something dreadful might happen to us in REAL LIFE.

I want a smart mystery with a brand-new structure and definite chills. Who will write me this book?

* No, I don't know what powers or what hinges. And this is why YOU are going to write the book.

Monday, August 30, 2010

How do they do it?

You've seen the bios:

"So and so is a stay-at-home mom to three adorable children under the age of five, two dogs, a cat, and a bearded dragon named Louie. When not writing, she enjoys building houses for Habitat for Humanity, hand-making all her family's clothes, and acting as mayor of Dubuque. She recently finished her thirteenth solo ascent of Everest. This is her sixth novel in the past year; her first collection of self-illustrated poetry will be out in July."

Who ARE these people? WHERE did they buy their time-turners? And, while I'm asking questions with all caps, WHO THE HECK STUCK THIS EXTRA WEEK OF NO SCHOOL IN BETWEEN AUGUST AND SEPTEMBER???

I try. I do. I know people send their kids to play and shut the door and go write masterpieces. But I have to assume those people's children don't think up games like "Carry the Cat By Her Tail," "What Happens When Dry Erase Markers Get Really, Really Wet?" and the classic "Sit on Your Brother's Head Til He Screams." The only time my kids are silent enough for me to write without leaving one ear and some brain space available to monitor them is when they're up to something really naughty.

So today I planned myself some writing time with a playdate. That fell through. Child care? Nobody available. I planned a pool trip; at least I could jot down ideas while they played, right? We lotioned, got dressed, and biked down there. Immediately upon our arrival, someone else's kid vomited vast and chunky all over the shallow end. Pool closed indefinitely.

"Go play," I ordered when we got home. They went upstairs to play Harry Potter School. I opened Word. And it's broken. Won't start at all. I spent five minutes re-starting and swearing at it before the door to Tink's room opened.

TINK: Mom?
TINK: Mom?!
TINK: We need you to come be the werewolf!
JACQUI: No. I'm busy.
TINK: Please?
TINK: (runs down stairs) PLEEEEEEEASE? PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE? (dances circles around living room)
DESTRUCTO: (bounces down stairs) Pyeez pyeez pyeez. (spins in nauseating circles, narrowly avoiding every pointed edge in room)
JACQUI: Stop. No. Go away. Shoo! (holds laptop like shield)
TINK & DESTRUCTO: PLEEEEEESE! PYEEZ! TWO MINUTES! PLEEEEEEEEE -- (continues until blue in the face) -- SE!
JACQUI: (Deep breathes. Closes laptop. Weeps)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Why my children have no hope of being normal...

Part 357: the omen

...because I promised Tink we could do "Harry Potter camp," just she and I, this week. Today is Potions. I printed up a simple baking soda and water recipe in a fancy font and labeled it "Revealo Totalum." I told Tink we were going to learn a simple potion that you paint on a plain piece of paper to reveal secret messages, or the future.

Then last night, I snuck downstairs, took the "plain piece of paper" and, in vinegar, wrote "THE DARK LORD RISES! BEWARE! BE NICE TO YOUR MOTHER!"

Heh heh heh.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Our weekend, by the numbers

Number of laps of the outside of our house done by Thor in his imitation of Iniesta's celebration of Spain's winning World Cup goal: 1

Number of shirts removed as part of said imitation: 1

Number of laps of our house done by my children in imitation of their father: 2

Number of clothing items removed during laps: all of them

Number of laps done naked: 3

Number of laps done wearing each other's clothing: 1

Number of laps done wearing underwear on their heads and screaming with giggles while their father chases them, trying to corral them into the bath: 1

Number of neighborhood block parties we are likely to be invited to this summer: sigh.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


This is Tink's new kitten, Tulip, whom we brought home yesterday from the Huron Valley Humane Society (thanks in part to Diane who chose Tink "the cuddliest, cutest one.").

She is 1.8 pounds of cute and all we could do all afternoon was stare and coo.

"How long have we been sitting here watching her?" Tink asked.

"An hour," I replied.

Tink sighed. "Oh boy," she said. "This is going to ruin my writing career."

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Snap back to reality

I went on a real bona fide kid-free vacation last week. Yup, four nights in which I got to sleep the whole night through, eat dinner slowly, and not have to do dishes. It was lovely, but the fact is, it could've been the HoJos around the corner and I would've been satisfied with the sleep part.

Three questions:

1. Do you come home from vacation all full of "things are gonna be different around here, yessiree we are gonna make some changes" ideas? I do.

2. And then do your kids do their best to ruin any relaxation or motivation you've brought home?

3. Can you guess which of the following my children did NOT fight about today?

a. Whether or not the sugary pixie stick Tink got at her end of year party is magical,
b. Whether or not said pixie stick gives Tink the power to turn Destructo into a giant pile of poop, should he choose to blow another raspberry at her,
c. Whether or not blowing a raspberry at someone, in the absence of flying spittle, still constitutes a violation of the "No Spitting" rule
d. What specific sound a giant pile of poop makes,
e. Whether or not the previous question refers to poop in the toilet or on the floor,
f. Who gets Dada to do his/her bedtime (and, therefore, who gets stuck with me), or
g. Who gets to give Mama her next backrub.

Friday, June 4, 2010

At Least She's Honest, part 2

We were punchy at bed time last night. A visit to the school end of year party, complete with cotton candy, Hawaiian Punch, and ice cream, will do that to you, especially if your mom usually controls your sugar intake enough that strawberries are dessert.

When it came time to tell stories, I told a whopper, the climax of which involved Tinkerbell convincing a gaggle of geese to rescue Destructo and her from the Huron River.

"How did they know what I was saying?" she asked.

"You spoke Geese, of course," I explained. "You learned it in Heb-goose school."

That got a good laugh from everyone. "Oh boy, " I admitted. "That's like the stupidest pun I've ever made."

"No, Mom," Tink assured me. "You've made lots of much stupider ones."

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Why You Should Not Read To Your Children

We hear all the time about the benefits of reading to your children. The book-loving, library-using establishment wants you to think it's all fun and games. It's NOT. I know from ACTUAL EXPERIENCE. Here are just a few of the possible, disastrous consequences reading to your children, or, indeed, letting them read to themselves, can have on your health and the health of your children.

1. Children may decide it is hilarious, every time they hear the sound of fingers snapping, to strip down to their underwear, don their shirts as capes, and run around wherever you are screaming, "Tra la la!"

2. Children may ponder ingesting worms, fried or otherwise.

3. Head wounds may result from repeatedly opening the doors to and trying to fit inside of a cabinet that resembles a wardrobe.

4. You will be spied upon. And your actions will be recorded in a notebook. Depending on whether the perpetrator is Harriet or Nancy, such records may contain an overabundance of exclamation points.

5. Sever brain atrophy is a definite possibility.

6. Certain books may carry multiple deleterious consequences.

7. Your child may demand, in public, that you outline the geneology of the line of gods and half-gods descended from Cronos. Without Wikipedia.

8. Your child may threaten to punch you in the head.*

9. Child may demand a pet prairie dog.

10. Your child may learn that there are people who are different from her, that sometimes women fall in love with other women, and that the world is not the black and white moral checkerboard she has been led to believe. Also, what a scrotum is.

There is only one solution: ban them all. Ban them all, I say, and let kids engage in safe things like skateboarding and their 1,680 minutes (average) TV watching a week.

Bonus points if you know what books caused all of the above in my children...

* Sorry. So very, very sorry.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

At least she's honest. Sort of.

In which we see how being the child of a writer makes you weird.

Bedtime tonight. We are discussing Tink's class production of Strega Nona.

JACQUI: How did the play go today?

TINK: It was hilarious. This kid's hat fell off and he kicked it into the audience. It landed in front of some guy... (hijinks ensue) ...and then the paper pasta came landed on a fifth grader ... (more hijinks)...and he threw the hat and it kind of floated for a minute -- the door was open and some wind had come in and --

JACQUI: Wait. Tink. When did this story stop being true?

TINK: (chuckles in acknowledgement) Yeah. A long time ago.


TINK: Can I finish now? It's a really good story.

JACQUI: Yeah sure.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Rage - Goddess, sing the rage

of Peleus' son Achilles,
murderous, doomed, that cost the Achaeans countless losses,
hurling down to the House of Death so many sturdy souls...

In which I remember not every book has to be a classic to be good.

Tink is a great reader. She can read anything she can get her hands on. And what does she pick?

Rainbow Magic Fairies.

It kills me. As I told a friend, every time she turns a page, a piece of my soul dies. But she's happy, and she's reading, and so, well, okay. I shut up.

And then yesterday she asked to go to the library. We returned the FIVE fairy books she got on Monday (because she had finished them by Monday night) and she got five more. I bit my tongue and tried to direct her towards some books whose strongest assets are not their glittery covers. Then she asked, "Where's nonfiction?"

I showed her the shelves (and gave her a mini-lesson in the Dewey Decimal System). She marched over to the books on Ancient Greece and began huffing, "Where is the ILIAD?"*

Bemused and marveling again at the power of a really good yarn to last for generations, I looked it up and we headed to section 883.

"These are all picture books," Tink complained. "I want the real Iliad."

"These are the real Iliad," I said. "It was written in Greek and people translate it. These are the real stories."

"The Iliad does not have pictures," she pointed out.

So we went upstairs to the adult poetry section and she took out this:

I decided that if I let her read Rainbow Fairy books without comment, I shouldn't say anything if she wants to try The Iliad.

"I'm going to read this," she announced.

"I believe it," I said.

"But sometimes I'm going to read these, like to relax," she said, holding up Evie the Mist Fairy.

Which is how it should be, I think.

We curled up on some cushions, Tink with her 683-page translation of The Iliad and me with The Friendship Ring: If You Only Knew, by Rachel Vail. Which is good too.

* They've been reading Trojan War stories in her reading group.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Writing truths by Tink

It is always amazing to me how kids can understand and articulate things about books that some adult writers NEVER GET. Tink has started a new series, called "Writers And How They Write." Here's the first installment:

Yup. Conflict and character motivation summed up in 34 words by a second grader.

Tink would like me to point out that she knows how to spell all those words, but "it's not really that important to get everything perfect in a first draft." Which is, of course, lesson number 2.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Dear Tinkerbell,

I don't care how many times you have read Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone. You must stop referring to your brother as "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named."

In addition:

1. It is not okay to hide jars of "potion" in the corners of the basement, particularly if said potion contains large quantities of vermin-attracting fruit juice.

2. I know what the "Petrificus Totalus" spell does and I do not appreciate having you shout it at me during lectures on your behavioral faults.

3. You cannot invent magic words. Specifically, if your father asks, "What's the magic word?" when you rudely demand something, you may not answer, "Monkey bars." Further, you may not then use "monkey bars" in the place of "please" in making requests, as in "Get my homework folder, monkey bars."

Lastly, for the 100th time, no, the book I am writing is not as good as Harry Potter. Yes, I wish it were too. Thanks for the tip about the juicy details. I'll work on it.

Your Mother

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Catch a Falling Leaf, part 2

Long time visitors to Jacqui's Room will remember that every fall I try to catch a falling leaf* for luck. I haven't gotten to it this year, mainly because the weather went from summer to winter with just a breath of fall in between, followed by a few days of fall, some spring rain, and today is strangely, spookily still. All of this is, of course, prelude to Michigan winter, which fills my soul with dread and my attic with frozen beasts. Remind me again why I live in Michigan?

In any case, this week Tinkerbell came home from school and asked me to close my eyes and hold out my hands. When I did, she put a small, curved brown leaf on my palm.

"I caught it for you. Because it's shaped like a J and I knew you didn't have one yet."

And here I thought it couldn't get better than catching one myself. Winter? Bring it on.

* And if you're new, the leaf post is one of my favorites, and you should try it.

Friday, August 14, 2009

It begins

As you can imagine, Tink can be a little, um, creative when detailing how her day at camp or school has gone. And now this:

JACQUI: So what did you do at school today, Captain Destructo?
DESTRUCTO: I play on playground.*
DESTRUCTO: I go on ti-yah swing.
JACQUI: Great.
DESTRUCTO: Den dere a fi-yah drill.
JACQUI: A fire drill?
DESTRUCTO: Yeah. Dere fi-yah at my school!
JACQUI: There was a fire at your school?
DESTRUCTO: Yeah, but Grover come.
JACQUI: What?!
DESTRUCTO: It Super Grover! He fly down and save all the friends!
JACQUI: He did?
TINK: No, he didn't.
DESTRUCTO: He spray all the friends with his hose!
JACQUI: He did?
TINK: No, he didn't.
DESTRUCTO: He save everybody!
JACQUI: He did?
TINK: No, he didn't.
JACQUI: Tink. Enough.
TINK: Well, he didn't!
JACQUI: I KNOW THAT. But let him talk.
DESTRUCTO: (who has been talking all along and has, in fact, not taken a breath in three minutes) And den the friends all got to fly to Sesame Street on Grover's back and...
TINK: That wasn't GROVER!
JACQUI: Tink, that is your problem?
TINK: It wasn't Grover.
JACQUI: (fumes)
TINK: It was Oscar.

* But you have to imagine that he says 'l' like 'y' and it is absolutely adorable.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Great Material I Get From My Kids

"Oh! You're a writer?" everyone says, smiling fondly as Tinkerbell and Destructo spin wildly around the room. "You must get so much great material from your kids!"

So I thought I'd bring you some of the great material I get from my kids. Like this conversation they had tonight:

Feed Me: A one act play

DESTRUCTO: Tinkerbell! Feed me.*
TINK: Not tonight.
TINK: Not tonight!
TINK: No no NO!
JACQUI: (bangs face on table)

Or how about this gem from the other day?


DESTRUCTO: He-yoh Tinkerbell!
TINK: Hello, Apatosaurus.
DESTRUCTO: I not Grandpa!
TINK: I didn't call you Grandpa.
DESTRUCTO: You say "Hello Grandpa saurus."
TINK: No, I didn't.
DESTRUCTO: Yes, you did.
TINK: No, I didn't.
DESTRUCTO: Yeah. You did.
TINK: No, I said, "Hello Apatosaurus."
DESTRUCTO: Oh. What dat?
TINK: It's a dinosaur with a long neck.
TINK: For real.
DESTRUCTO: Why you call me dat?
TINK: I dunno.
DESTRUCTO: Okay. I play dat game now?
TINK: No. Go away.
DESTRUCTO: Yes, you let me play.
JACQUI: (beats self in head with garlic press)

I think I will stick to making stuff up.

* She was a saint one night and talked him down from a have-to-stay-in-your-strappy-seat tantrum by feeding him bites she pretended were from the Sesame Street friends.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Thursday is saved

Earlier today, I was wondering if perhaps one kid-free hour a day is not enough time in which to finish a novel, shower, work out and blog. In my head, I was penning a bloggy apology for once again having no Thursday inspiration for you.

And then this:

TINK: How is your book going, Mama?
JACQUI: Good, thanks for asking. But I had to cut the skeleton scene we worked on. It just didn't fit, you know?
TINK: Too bad.
JACQUI: But thanks for helping anyway; it got me thinking about other ideas.
TINK: I need your help with MY book, Mama. My series, actually.
JACQUI: You're writing a series?
TINK: Yeah, it's a series of silly books. There are going to be five of them. (sounding exactly like me when I am wrestling aloud with a plot problem) I already know what's going to happen in all of them, but I need some help with good titles. Can you think of some?
JACQUI: Well, what happens in them?
TINK: In the first one, the big idea has to do with the funky bunny village. Wait! I know. The first one is called The Funky Bunny Village. And the second one is going to be Charlie McKey is Not a Funky Bunny.*

Charlie McKey is Not a Funky Bunny. I LOVE it. Is it plagiarism if you steal from family?! Who will write me this book?

* FYI, rest of the series includes: Everyone Does Not Like to Play With Charlie McKey, Wait Up Charlie McKey, and The Funky Bunny Village Rises Again.

Friday, May 29, 2009

History: How it really happened

CHAPTER 45: The end of the Civil War

The scene: I am making rhubarb marmalade (don't ask). Tink and Destructo have dismantled the sofa and are jumping back and forth from the ottoman to the floor.

TINK: Good morning, Honey!

DESTRUCTO: Good morning.

: Now, where is that serving girl? Serving girl, wait, pretend Ernie's my servant girl, okay?

: Ernie MY serbing girl.

: We share her, because I'm Princess Vashti* and you're the prince, okay? No, wait. You're Abraham Lincoln.

: I Abaham Yinkin (falls backwards off couch cushion). Ow.

: (balances on edge of ottoman, talking into pink Barbie phone**) Serving girl! Come in here! Now listen. You know I am Princess Vashti so you know for breakfast I shall have a bagel with cream cheese and a side of corn muffin. Now bring me my phone (hangs upside down off edge of couch to pull phone from wherever it's hidden from Destructo).

: Honey?

: Yes?

: I going to jump around.

: Okay, Abraham Lincoln (who does indeed jump around like a rabid jackrabbit, ending up panting in a heap at the other side of the room).

: Now, servant girl, we have to talk about the problem of the Civil War. Because I am a fair princess and I don't like it. Get me Abraham Lincoln on the phone. Hello? Abraham Lincoln? This is Princess Vashti. We need to have no more war. So you stop the war and figure out a way for both sides to win so nobody feels bad, okay? I order you to do that. Abraham Lincoln, do you hear me?

: I eating some 'nack (eats something, I have no idea what, from behind pretend kitchen).

: No, there is no time for snack. Do it now. There, it's decided (tosses Ernie doll to her brother). You can have the servant girl. I need a nap (lays down with hand on forehead, then lifts head to look at brother). Did you do it?

: Yeah.

: Mom! I just ended the Civil War. Good night.

Now, if only we had Queen Vashti and Abraham Lincoln in the Middle East.

*Presumably the daughter of Queen Vashti from the Purim story, who defied the king and was banished.
** Which mysteriously appeared in my house one day without explanation, sparking daily battles for its use amongst my kids. Darn anti-feminist house elves.

Friday, April 3, 2009

An update from fairyland

I have important writing to do today involving disruptive beagles, 26 pounds of macaroni and cheese, and a tattered copy of The Canterbury Tales.* But I have to report an update on Tink's Fairy School.

Yesterday on the monkey bars, I learned that Tink is still accepting applications from her fellow students for fairy school. Apparently she has three students. Only one of them has made it to Level 12, where she will be taught to fly. The other two have been unable to advance past Level 11's invisibility challenge. Several other students have been denied spots in the class due to failure to believe enough or to having at some point chased girls. Sadly, class has been disrupted for disagreements: certain fairies swing from side to side too much when they skip a bar on the monkey bars, making it impossible for other fairies (who are less skilled at skipping but more skilled at not swinging) to pass them. This is fairy-frowned upon.

Also, one of the students wondered aloud if I knew that Tink only sleeps one hour a night, during her special one hour sleep time. After that she awakens and spends the rest of the night in fairyland.

Further revelations about fairyland were suspended while the girls pretended to be humans playing soccer. I will keep you updated as I gather more.

Meanwhile, I writhe with jealousy at how much more fun they have all day than I do.

Oops. Poem. I love love love Charles Ghigna's What's a Poem?, from today over at GottaBook.

* Have I mentioned a million times yet how much fun writing this book is???

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The House at Jacqui's Corner

In which I compare myself to A.A. Milne.

You probably know that all the Winnie the Pooh stories started as bedtime stories for A.A. Milne's own kids. Haven't you wondered what the bedtime stories in other writers' houses are like? They must be fabulous, yes? Full of art and talent? Of course they are. Witness.

by Jacqui (for Tink, enacted using her two favorite stuffed animals)

One day me was walking along when me saw cookie. It look delicious. It all brown with honey dripping on it. Me knew it was Black Bear's cookie, because me know Black Bear loves honey.

Me know it wrong to eat Black Bear's cookie. But cookie so delicious! Me look at cookie. Me look at Black Bear. Me look at cookie. Me look at Black Bear. Me know friends most important thing in world.

Nom nom nom nom nom. Forget you Black Bear. Nom nom nom.

2. THE FAMILY, take 1
by The Mighty Thor

Once upon a time, there was a family. There was a beautiful, handsome and strong and smart father. There was an okay mother. And there were two kids, the Lady Piggybottoms and Sir Squigglimadoo.

(collapses in laughter at own joke, unable to finish story)

3. THE FAMILY, take 2
by Tink

Once upon a time, there was a family. There was a pretty and smart mother and a pretty and smart daughter. There was a hairy ape father. And a bear. STOP! MOM! MAKE HIM STOP TOUCHING MY STUFF!!!!!!! (nails brother with Black Bear)

4. THE FAMILY, take 3
by The Mighty Thor

As I was saying, there was this family with the parents and Lady Piggybottoms and Sir Squigglimadoo. They lived in a beautiful castle in Michigan. And then one day a Cheerios monster ate them all up. Nom nom nom nom nom.

The end.

My children have no hope of normalcy, I fear.