What is important to know is that Strudel speaks very quickly and precisely. One time at her summer camp, one of the counselors asked Franny where her sister was from due to her “accent.”
“What is that story called, the children in the box-cart?” Strudel said.
“The Boxcar Children?” I said.
“No, that is not right, it is about children in a box-cart, what is that called?”
“THE BOXCAR CHILDREN.”
“I don’t think so.” She went back to playing in a non-greasy pizza box that she kidnapped from last night’s dinner. “OHH we are the pizza box children!”
“I had a dream last night,” Strudel said.
“I know, you were crying a lot this morning,” I said. A wee bed invader shifted me out at 4:30 after I made the mistake of using the bathroom.
“Can I tell you?”
“Can it be more than two sentences?” There is a rule in our house that dream recitations should be limited to two-sentence summaries so breakfast does not turn into the Buffy show.
Strudel took a deep breath.
“Last night I dreamt that you took me and my sister somewhere and it was BAD and then you stepped on a place where cannonballs go and you exploded yourself. You ended your life! And you said, ‘Come on girls, you too!”
“What happened then?”
“My sister and I decided not to explode ourselves so we went home and we called 9-1-1. That was the end!”
I laughed, which was a terrible mistake.
“Why are you laughing? It’s not FUNNY! You ended your life!”
“I just like the ending that you called 9-1-1. Very practical.”
“Okay. You are not going to end your life, are you, Mom?”
“Me? Nooo! I want to know you for my whole life.”
“Yes, I promise.”