The Pursuit of Happiness…(Dispatches from the Front)

Younger Girleen is currently very interested in figuring out the concept of Happiness (and the concept of unhappiness, for that matter).

Are you happy? she asks. Are you not happy? When something doesn’t go her way, she roars like a small lion and then turns her tear-stained face toward me, sobbing I’m NOT HAPPY. It turns out that she’s one of those children capable of hyperventilating the second she starts crying, so she can barely get the words out, and that makes it just that much more heart-wrenching.

The endearing thing is that, a minute or two later, after I’ve hugged her, or distracted her, or read her If You Take A Mouse to the Movies just one more time, she looks at me earnestly and says: I’m happy now.

She is wonderfully self-possessed, and not just that, she has lightning-fast powers of recovery. What if we were all that articulate, and wouldn’t it be great if reading If You Take a Mouse to the Movies (something I’ve read until my eyeballs could fall out) could change your mood so quickly?

I know I’ll forget things like this before I know it (poor, Elder Girleen, I already forgot most of her cute two-isms!), so just for posterity’s sake:

Oatmeal has been transformed into Eatmeal.

Daddy, daddy she wailed the other night. I need a Kleenex. I got BURGERS.

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