Sensual Monsters

Friday, March 23, 2012

Childhood and monsters; for most of us this conjures up visceral memories of particular terrors we each had to endure. Had you walked into my bedroom up until I was ten, you would have witnessed the very careful ritual placement of my stuffed animals.

They had to be touching, both my body and each other, in a complete closed ring from my head to feet. It was protection, you see, from any monsters that may happen upon me during the night. This circle of magic gave me immunity from all instances of monster related activity; be those bad dreams, creepy touching with antenna or hairy tentacles or the well known goal of any self respecting night terror:  consumption of the unwitting child.

No amount of night lights or adult reassurances could convince me of the non-existence of such beasts. They existed. I knew it, they knew it and to pretend otherwise was beyond foolish as to be foolhardy.  I knew what I felt after all, and I felt monsters to be real.

When I became a mother, I faced the monsters again.

When my daughter was three, her monsters begin to live in the closet and under her bed. Despite ( or perhaps because of)  my training in Early Childhood Education , I ignored my intuition, and  read a Parents magazine article that recommended making “Monster spray” by purchasing a small spray bottle and decorating it with glittery stickers.

(This trope is well represented in parenting advice columns in book and online form.)

You will then present it to your fearful child and empower them with the knowledge that they can concur their fears by using this “Monster Spray”. Then your child will be able to come to terms with the monsters ( which are only an manifestation of the child’s growing awareness of the dangers of the world – as they seek more and more autonomy), in a self esteem and empowering sort of way.

You will buy this rationale hook, line and sinker. You will make the bottle. You will present it to your child.

Your child will react by shrieking, “The monsters are going to eat me!” (or a reasonable facsimile with the binky in her mouth) and screaming as she runs in circles. She will then attach herself to your body and attempt to climb up onto your head as if she were an enraged cat, as she continues to scream about the monsters.

You have unwittingly acknowledged and confirmed the existence of the monsters, that you had heretofore staunchly refused to agree were real. You will have to show your child that you are throwing away the “Monster Spray” so the “monsters” won’t go all postal when they find out she has acquired a real tool of mass destruction.
Thanks Parents magazine. A real life saver there.

When “experts” discuss Monsters that populate the worlds of children, developmental psychologists may say that children are exploring ideas of power and powerlessness, or working out strong emotions like rage or hate. They may suggest ways to help the child rationalize (or more honestly minimize) the emotion, or otherwise empower the child to take “control” of the monster with the use of tools such as “monster spray”. Others may suggest ways to make the monsters “allies”, by using literature which strips the monster of its fearsome qualities and conveys that the monster is just like us despite terrifying appearances.
(Example - Gruffalo, oh there are billions of books in this style)
Others will write about how monsters help to teach a child “what is “real” and what is “not real”; what is benign, and what not. (Oates, 1994) Implicit in this statement is to suggest that it is through monsters that we come understand the difference between fantasy and reality. (or perhaps children are not smart enough to distinguish?)

Yet, what if this is not the entirety of purpose for monsters in the lives of children? Perhaps we must entertain the idea that Monsters, with all of their messy secretions, slimy tentacles, dripping fangs and insatiable hunger for the flesh of children supply a particular embodied feeling within the child. As such, Monsters may act as vectors of sensorial experience that is both desired (and one might argue needed) and actively being socialized against in day to day experiences.

There are always monsters in the lives of children. No matter what geographic location, age of child, socio-economic status, race, religion or gender of child; There are always monsters.  Yet the world view of adults and the lived experience of children never quite match up on this particular issue.

Despite countless studies tracing the genetic factors, called neuroticism or “trait anxiety” in the literature, or “learning experiences” in which the child acquires the fear through a negative experience or negative information, Adults have never quite figured out the WHY of monsters. It is, all the experts agree, all in their “heads” after all….but what else? Why so persistent? Why so prevalent? Why so pervasive?

For the adult, Descarte steps in and declares “You can master this irrational fear. It is all in your head, therefore YOU can control it. Stop feeling it and think about it.”

This is, of course, immensely comforting to the adult. As well socialized members of our society, we rely on our ability to decentralize from our bodies, denying the lived experience of what our sensory system may be screaming at us in anger, frustration and panic. 

For the child, it is a much more complex proposition. Children rely on their senses to get their information about the world.  It is no secret that even Piaget – the father of individual cognitive developmental island – labeled the first phase of development the sensorimotor stage. In this stage (lasting until 18 months of so) the child explores everything through their senses. Nothing can be licked, tasted, touched, heard, felt, or seen enough.
But why? Why are babies built that way?

In an interview with a young reader and parent, the topic of Coraline came up. This book was one identified as one that “terrified” the young reader (aged 11). When asked why the book caused such terror, the child responded that it was the “Other Mother” character; she didn’t like the idea of her mother disappearing and a replica appearing in her mothers place. Within this interview the mother asked the child why? Why would she be afraid of a replica? How would she even know it was a replica? The child’s response?

“Your smell. She wouldn't smell like You”

Newborns can detect the smell of their mother very soon post delivery.  Studies done on newborns within a half an hour of delivery show that if isolated and given a choice between the shirts of two newly delivered mothers, they will turn their heads towards the smell of their mother.  Other studies have reported that it is the sense of smell which leads a newborn infant to the nipple of it’s mother, given it’s very limited visual abilities.

How do infants do this? There is evidence that the smell of our mothers is centered in the "flavor" of the amniotic fluid. We learn our mothers smell, in utero, by tasting her through the amniotic fluid.

So, obviously, we come hard wired to discern and Prefer the smell of our mothers - a little  evolutionary gift passed down. Which makes unlimited sense. Our sense of smell ( which develops as one of the very first senses to come "online" as it were)

Touch is the first sense that is wired - then vestibular (bouncing and rolling, so our sense of if we are upright or not) then smell and taste come hand in hand ( same epithelial cells make the nose and palate) with hearing wiring synapses afterward. Sight is the very last one because we can't hook up the synapses until we have experience seeing, and the womb is a terrible place to be able to see clearly. 

All of this to say, of course the senses of Fear/Monsters/Abject/Wonder comes from and through our senses. As beings who have been marinating in the “smell” of our mother (including her fears, stress and everything else that she experiences while pregnant) since the moment of our conception, the idea that you would Know your mother by smell makes infinite sense.

In discussing another book  -Outside over there -identified as “terrifying” by the same young reader, the question of Why the book provoked such a strong feeling was raised:

As the reader turned to a specific page, she pointed to the picture of the changeling ice baby left in the place of the real baby. “THAT”, she said. “That is what freaked me out. That baby.  It doesn’t look natural. And Ida (the sister) HUGS it. She touches that thing and still doesn’t know it isn’t right! I couldn’t even look at that book again.”

The reader, once again, identifies sensory experience: Sight. Touch.  Ida, the older sister in the book, sees and then holds the ice baby and doesn’t initially recognize that it is not her flesh and blood sister.
This reader is squarely in the midst of the phenonomology of fear  (Davidson 2000):

Adults spend much of their time socializing young children away from the messages of their body and specifically their sensorial system:
 “Stop licking, stop touching, stop sniffing, stop tasting, don't eavesdrop, don’t masturbate, don’t pick your nose!  Don’t SAY that person is fat! Give your strange smelling aunt a kiss. You’re not hungry now, it isn’t dinner time, You MUST eat now because it is meal TIME!
How do we survive our own socialization? Honestly!
Yet, one of the reasons this socialization takes so LONG is that we are teaching children to “over rule” their emotions AND sensory experiences.  Children emerge from the womb primed to experience life through their senses…and we spend the rest of their lives attempting to strip it away. (See Mark Johnson’s work on Embodied Meaning)

Monsters of childhood could well be the last vestiges of the sensual for the child.

When observing a research group of kindergarten (5 year old) girls, I noted their outdoor play around a book – “Go away - Big Green Monster”. Despite the “purpose” of the book (to strip the monster of it’s terrifying attributes), the girls were not using the “monster” in that manner. They had no need to dis-empower the monster.

The green monster became stand in for expressing emotions and movements, physically,  that may have been frowned on in other types of play.  That is to say, when the girls PLAYED Green monster…. they could growl at each other, make threatening movements with claws and bared teeth, they could swipe at each other with hooked fingernails, and roar.  They could kick over people’s structures because they were the Monster, and not beholden to convention.  They did not have to abide by the same decorum rules that governed their social world – and their peers generally accepted the fact that they were “monsters” ( and often Animals) as reason for the behavior.

When outside, they would approach the hedge where the Green Monster “lived” and was reported to have eaten cats and threaten it – then flee when any member claimed to spot the monster, shrieking and screaming in terror….only to repeat this action, over and over. (Later that year, the Green Monster faded, and Voldemort rose as stand in for their Monster)

Have you ever observed a group of children entering a playground?

The BURST of noise is incredible: Screaming, shouting, yelling, singing, hollering – It can feel like a primal release, particularly if the children have been in school for any length of time. If you watch those children at play , the zigzagging movements, the touching, the grabbing, the dodging and weaving – For adults watching, this can feel overwhelming, dangerous, UNSAFE.   

 Not for the children – they are completely at ease in this cacophony of sound and movement. In the words of David Jardine (1997, 2005), “Giddy sensation, this. Like little bellybreath tingles on downarcing childgiggle swingsets….out of school, I had some secret not-school knowledges children were secreting away into bodily recesses at recess. Each of us knows something of this, down on hands and knees with yer snout in the tall grasses in intimate bug worlds and dirt smells, know-ing something, something carnal, that no one seems able to admit.”
Yet our praktagnosia ( PP: 140), that practical bodily (rather than symbolically mediated) understanding , through which our body has access to its world, can/is often damaged or even lost.

(part of the talk I gave today on Monsters in the lives of Young Children at the ICFA conference  I am not entirely sure they got me - as I was not really in their overall genre of literature criticism....but a couple of people seemed to enjoy it. Not to mention that I have a more performance conversational storytelling style to my presentations versus a read paper kind of thing...)

This is the real reason I got married.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Terrance goes away for his business frequently. Usually, this is a "nice" break from each other. I clear my schedule and stay home with Em this week, for there is no camp and it is the last full week before school starts again. We are lazy and slow - no Daddy to rush us through our paces. Yesterday we stayed in pajamas until 3 p.m.!

All was cool until I got up out of bed to wash my face before REALLY going to bed.

In the middle of my floor. There it was. Staring at me.

A big, honking, black, evil looking spider.

I froze. This is Terrance's primary job as of late. Protecting his wife and daughter from the impending threat of these spiders attacking us and sucking out our souls. Oh, and all our blood too.

I looked around for something with which to battle this leviathan. My pretty brown crocodile heels? No way. No spider guts on my shoes. A tissue? Hardly enough layers between my skin and the spider skin to protect me. And this sucker is B-I-G. He will crunch when he meets his arachnid maker. And exude copious spider fluids. I consider waking up the cat to see if she will eat the spider, but then I will worry about cat spider breath on my bed.


Out in the hall, I spot it. Terrance's shoe. I can launch the shoe from a safe distance ONTO the spider and take it out with a minimum of Dawn to spider contact.

I stand in the door way and aim. The shoe sails and lands perfectly on target. The THUMP indicates a solid hit.

I wait. You know, to make sure the spider isn't lifting the shoe off of it and looking around to exact revenge on the person who threw the shoe. Nope.

I pick up the shoe and examine my defeated foe from a distance. Dang, That was a REALLY big spider. I hold it out in front of me and run to the bathroom, before the zombie spider can re-animate. I shake the shoe - vigorously - until the spider falls into the toilet.

I flush.

And I return Terrance's shoe to the place in the hallway.

He'll never notice the spider guts.

August 23, 2007 Gimlet Eye

Junk in my Trunk

Sunday, March 18, 2012

When did I become this woman?


Seriously. When did I become the crazy mother with all the crap in the trunk?

Yes, That is a tinkerbell pillow waaaaayyyyy in the back. It flips into a writing desk! How handy!

Here are Gimlet Eye, we are all about transparency. At Balefulregards, I did a photo expose of my bathroom, including looking into my medicine cabinet AND under the sink. I pulled back the shower curtain - literally - to share what was in there.

So, I'd like to christen Gimlet Eye with this photo expose. My car trunk.

Now this is a BIG trunk. I have crawled in the trunk and been completely inside, with room galore to spare. When we looked at cars to purchase, my delight with the size of this trunk was palpable. I may have done the crawling INTO the trunk right there on the lot (cough, I will not confirm nor deny this).

The designers of this trunk were either:

1. Women looking to hide shoe purchases from their significant others


2. Ne'er-do-wells looking to dispose of some "goods".

Over time, my trunk has filled with various and sundry items. I occasionally purge the trunk, and mysteriously it re-fills.

First, I would like to say - "Windshield De-Icer" people. Yeah, not helpful. New England ice laughs in your face.


That yellow thing is a sled. You know, in case we're driving along in May and a freak snowstorm overtakes us. We are ready at the drop of a hat to pull over and commence the sledding. Or, I suppose, it may be the only way to get home, after I rig some kind of halter from kite string and get to trudging while Emily complains how "cold" and "bored" she feels.

The colorful thing is a Kite. There are actually three kites in my trunk. I believe they were last flown two years ago.

And yeah, ok, that might be one of my strappy wedge sandals. When you see me kite-flying on the sled in the snow storm, I'd like to have the right shoes... Geesh.

Emily keeps a few pair of shoes in the trunk, too. A girl can't be too prepared, I say, and I've trained her well.

The thing on the bottom right hand corner? Emily's Top Hat with sparkly red ribbon from her Tap recital...last June.

Another angle...


Keeping with the "always prepared" theme, we have an ice skate shield. These are particularly helpful when not on the ice skate. One red mitten. The other Strappy sandal. Some CD's I'd forgotten about. The toy bar from the "Bitty Baby" carseat, as well as the bottom to a "Bitty Baby" outfit.

The top of a container ( lime green) that I am pretty sure has been gone for a couple of years. Several notebooks belonging to Emily. Some natural based bug repellent and a receipt ( most likely for shoes) that I am hiding from my spouse. I may be deceitful in the shoe purchase department, but I care if I am slowly poisoning my child and the environment with deet.

Things you will not find in my trunk:

Water. Windshield fluid. Jumper cables. Oil, or other needed car fluids. Blankets. A Flashlight. Firewood. Flares. Sled dogs, the Donner party cookbook, snacks, or any other things most humans might consider "useful" in an emergency situation.

B-U-T, if your emergency involves needing some kite flying, sled toting, wedge sandal wearing, top hat,  Various CD having, natural bug repellent using person who has a pillow that becomes a writing desk. I am your woman.

Originally published May 13, 2006

Big Mother

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Ladies and Gentlemen of the tinterwebz, I propose a new and exciting reality style television show:

Combining all the back stabbing excitement of Survivor, all the voyeuristic pleasure of Big Brother and all the other shit that keeps billions of people watching these show (we'll make 'em dance, we'll make 'em sing, maybe we will even put them all in a hot tub and a couple of them will make out!), I give to you

Survive Your Mother!

This exciting new reality series will place 12 of the truly craziest mothers in One House, letting them claw their way to the title of "America's Craziest Mother".

Our contestants will be placed inside a house and given various challenges, such as:

Who can make a majority of their child's friends feel that their child is just being "mean" to them, through no fault of their own? Bonus points will be given for comments the specified child receives including the phrase "Your mom seems really nice."

The back handed compliment serve. Which mother can deliver the most back handed compliment? Points double for any use of the words "Pretty" and "fat" in combination.

Family Holiday dinner! In which the Moms attempt to cook and serve any holiday dinner to each other without devolving into a brawl including "Who cooked these fucking lumpy potatoes? Stevie Wonder?" or "You know, I always wondered if that child I miscarried would have been the one who truly loved me." and the ever popular "Nobody at this table really likes you, you know..."

Sibling Pit Fight: Which mom can get her children to fight with each other with the fewest words said?
Bonus points for a fight which will involve any future "will".

Mothers storming out of house will be disqualified. All Mothers must Stay in House with other contestants in order to be considered for grand prize. Unlimited wine provided.Some restrictions will apply.

(C'mon...I know you have some challenges that we could propose! )


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A few months ago, at the urging of my therapist, I clicked "accept" to the facebook friend request of my  mother.

My therapist reasoned that I could always unfriend her if she acted "Inappropriately". I was on the fence about this. On one hand, I really felt kind of badly about my radio silence stance. My mom is 60, and as my sister has moved away, she has no one nearby.

I still don't think of my my as "old", but she is getting old -er. In a discussion earlier in the year, Terrance asked me if I would regret  not making some kind of peace with her in the event that she died.

I was, of course, torn. Of COURSE I would regret it.  But what can you do? And at what cost? I know that nothing I say to her will resonate. I know how the game ends.    

My brother has remained most secure in his choice to have no contact.  My brother is emotionally built in a very similar way to me. We batten down our hatches, hunker down and wait for the storm to blow over.

This wasn't always true, of course. As a baby and toddler, Donnie cried a lot. I was there. I remember. I suspect I also cried a lot as a baby and toddler. But you learn. You learn to stop crying and not react, because crying gets you nowhere and reacting only seems to feed the flames.

Yesterday, when the storm blew my way on facebook it wasn't exactly shocking. I mean, these have been happening all my life...just usually over the phone or in other less public venues like our house....or restaurants.

My mother was also raging at my sister, via text and phone calls. As the only child who is still speaking to her, my mother unleashes on Jessie in a manner that I know all too well. Jessie still reacts, you see. Jessie will still cry and get upset. For that is exactly what our mother wants. Someone to involve in her tumult. Seeing her children angry, crying, upset? I believe it makes her feel good, feel happy. For that attention is better than no attention. No attention is being exiled, and for the narcissist exile is death.

So I did what I do when young children in my classroom behave in this manner. A warning; Then the logical consequences of your actions.

I warned my mother. Allowed her to rage and insult and write terrible hurtful, untrue and intentionally provocative things about me. Then I unfriended her.

Later,on the phone with my siblings ( you've got to love a sibling in Massachusetts, a sibling in Montreal and a sibling in Connecticut all discussing their mother in Vermont)...we very calmly told our sister that if our mother continued to threaten to hang herself in the basement, that our/her only recourse was to call the police and tell them that we had a person threatening to commit suicide. That was, obviously, her next move. To threaten to kill herself, because no one would care. And don't bother to bury her, just cremate her because we didn't care and would want the cheapest way to just be rid of her. She texted/called with this for over two hours with my sister.

Do I believe that my mother was serious? I don't know. I would tend to say No...But, I can't be sure and it wasn't a chance I wanted to take, particularly not with my sister feeling like she was on the "hook" for the well being of our mother. My sister warned our mother she was going to have to do this if my mother continued to threaten suicide.

My mother continued to threaten. And my sister followed through. A fact over which I am immensely proud. Not because I have some malicious desire to wound my mother...but because it shows that my sister is getting healthy and standing up for her right to be free from the shadow of Our mother's ego.

You have to understand that when you grow up continually being bullied, being threatened, both covertly and overtly, you develop an instinct to soothe the person. Calm them down by any means necessary. Of course, the punishment is coming. Oh yes. It is coming. But not right now. And never in Public.

Later, we all received voice mails telling us how she didn't appreciate "someone" calling the police on her. That if we were trying to get her fired from her job she would give us her work number directly and we could call and complain about her there since we were collectively trying to ruin her life. She was just "a little upset" after all.

In this message, there lay a lifetime worth of threats. Don't tell. Don't involve outsiders. Don't dismiss my threats. Don't threaten my work/job by your behavior. Don't believe that what you see is real. Bad Daughters, Bad Son. Ungrateful. Selfish. Mean. Liars.

The best thing to come from all of this? My sister has told her no more. No contact until she gets treatment and comes to terms with her own actions and decisions. Jessie, who is finishing her Masters degree in forensic science and then, most likely, heading to medical school to be a crazy criminal CSI pathologist, has arrived at a stage in her life when she must start defining a healthy space for HER.

Sadly - for all three of her children - this space has no room for our mother.


Thursday, March 08, 2012

There are moments of my daughters life which are frozen in my memory. Every feature etched into some memory bank which holds my deepest fears.

The first came when she was but a few weeks old. I was exhausted, as all new parents are wont to be. I had finally coaxed her, swaddled, freshly changed and breast milk fed to sleep. I had her on a pillow, to help her reach my breast while I lay on my side.

I crept out of the bedroom into the living room. I sat on the couch. I fixed myself something to eat. I proceeded to attempt to feed myself...when I heard it. It was far away and muffled.

I kept eating pondering this sound I was hearing. It certainly didn't sound like anything I recognized.
God, this was a good sandwich. I was starving. Chew, Chew, Chew....when my brain placed the sound.

It was the sound of my daughter, screaming and frantic. But different. The sandwich fell to the floor as I raced to the bedroom. Emily was face down, in the pillow. I fumbled with her body as I flipped her over, my tears already starting to flow.

She was red faced and pissed off. I stood, crying, trying to console her..trying to control my heartbeat and my hyperventilating.

Newborn babies don't roll. They don't roll. Never.

Fast forward to a 14 month old Emily reaching up to the counter to pull the mug of coffee I had left out. I watch in slow motion as the liquid splashes down over her head, sure that she has just suffered major burns.

Or the moment I turned to see my 18 month old daughter upside down in the lake in her Super Baby Float. Legs in the air. Eyes wide and staring at me from under the water, her mouth opened in a silent watery scream. As I moved towards her, the motion of my body in the water pushes the float further away from me. I got her upright and out, and held her as she vomited water over me and cried. Rocking her back and forth. My sobbing outpacing hers.

When she was three, she decided to mail a letter. We were all working outside. I was in the garden and she was on the porch, writing to her friend. With the determined energy that only a three year old possesses, she got an envelope and made her break for the mailbox on the other side of the road.

Terrance and I looked up to see her on the other side of the road, as a construction truck passed by, blowing her hair as she stared across the road at us. A road that never had traffic, and certainly almost never big trucks.

I couldn't even scream. I didn't want her to move and I feared that my yelling would cause her to step towards me and under the truck.

I can still see the curls next to her face, moving in the wind created by the truck. She was wearing a red and white striped shirt.

Even as I ran towards her, my minds eye was already seeing my child, my baby caught up by this truck, in the axle, under the tires. Just as I had seen her covered in burns, or drowned, or suffocated.

She has forgotten most of these things. Which is as it should be. She lives in a world which is safe, for the most part. Her parents and family surround and protect her. We set the stage for her performances, and we clean the stage up afterwards, preparing for the next day. I protect her from a majority of my fears, for they are not hers to have.

And then sometimes, the fear comes true. And while I don't know this man, this blogger, I do know the fear - which is not one I ever knew before Emily was born. And I grieve with him.

For our children are fragile. But maybe we, as their parents, are more so.

July 2, 2007 Gimlet Eye

The party never starts

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Oh hellz yeah.

How to raise an activist

Sunday, March 04, 2012

I'm not a braggy parent.

You'll never see a sticker on my car proclaiming my joy over my honor student, and I have a deep, rage filled hatred for those family stick figure stickers that people stick on the backs of their minivans which scream "I have given up on any identity beyond that of Mother, Wife and Cleaner of Animal Shit".

(I have threatened, if forced to idle behind one of these vans,  to run out and start scraping the people off the window while cursing the patriarchy and cult of motherhood. Just ask Emily, I really have.)

I didn't make a huge deal when Emily decided, for the occasion of her tenth birthday, to ask all of her party attendees to bring her no gifts. Instead, she asked them to bring the cash as a donation for one of two choices: Money for the child her class was sponsoring in Africa or a donation to our local children's library.

Now, this was Emily's idea. Her rationale was that she had Lots, and lots of stuff. She didn't need a bunch of gifts, really. In the end, she raised $75.00 for each goal.

To say that I was pleased is an understatement. I was pleased, proud to bursting. That she came up with it on her own?

Emily is a generous and empathetic person. I wish I could take credit for this, but I don't know that I can. I hope that my commitment to equity in other arenas has rubbed off on her. That my vision of service to community has translated to her...and I think it has. My teacher instinct of modeling this is in full effect with my daughter. I am a "do as I do" person and she has been my 13 year long captive audience.

Today, as I work on data analysis, and she lay in bed next to me drawing, we listened to an older podcast of The American Life.

(side note: apparently it isn't cool to ask your peers if they have heard the latest "This American Life", or episode of "Judge John Hodgman" when you are 13. I assured her that someday, she will find her "people")

The podcast?

We listened to the story until the end, when Emily was sobbing. Her beloved ipod? Made by children her age? Who were being injured and forced to work hours of numbers that Emily can't even begin to imagine? Who were committing suicide requiring nets to be placed around the factory?

Her first instinct was to throw her ipod away.

"I can't use it ever again", she sobbed.

Then we talked about what the man who told this story was really trying to get at - the fact that We, as consumers, can have an important voice in how a company chooses to do business. That we can persuade with our opinions and voices and, ultimately, dollars.

Which prompted her to compose a strongly worded letter. Tactful but to the point, little epistle barbs of teen outrage.

(ah, my mommy heart. So proud. My "strongly worded letter composition" genes have passed on, intact)

This, of course, led to her beginning to look for a corporate email for Apple.

Leading to this astute observation about an hour later:

"Mom! They are hiding this email on PURPOSE! They are making it hard to contact them! Well! They can't get rid of me so easily!"

Ah yes, my little grasshopper. Do not fall at the first (and blatant) obstacle. The obfuscation of the email contact.

She didn't. After another hour or so of searching, she found one. Prompting this email from her to me:

here is a comment page 
Tomorrow  i will email them and  ask  for  them  to  give me their company  email address  

I don't envy you Apple Corp. If she is anything like her mother, the term "tenacious" barely serves.
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