Dear Sylvie,

I want you to look at me when we are talking, or I will not be able to shake this nagging feeling that I have to get you tested for one of those childhood attention disorders that I don’t really believe in, but can’t completely dismiss, because then I would be too much like my mother.

Sylvie, words have meaning. When I say, “Do you want grilled cheese?” and you say, “No, I want yogurt!” and then, upon seeing the yogurt, you scream, “I wanted grilled cheese!,” you are denying the essential nature of communication. As I often say to your father, you should just go ahead and use the words that mean what you want to say; it’s easier for everyone.

My darling girl, I suspect you have a raging temper because you know deep down that you had a twin. We’ll never know for sure, because although my French is very good, I didn’t understand everything the gynecologist said when I had the emergency sonogram in France. I did, however, note that the whole visit cost only seventy-five dollars. You definitely can’t get a full pelvic and a scrapbook full of sonogram pictures for that in the U.S. That makes me mad, too.

One more thing. I understand that you would rather do your “poop checks” (where you strain your abdominals as a warm-up exercise for the big event) sitting on a chair, because your feet fall asleep when you sit on the potty too long. However, it is disconcerting to see you drop your fork, turn red, and groan in the middle of dinner. On the other hand, it beats your old method of crouching behind the sofa and going in your pants. Good point.

I take it all back. You’re doing fine.


Muffy Srinivasan
Piedmont, CA