You Blow My Mind. Hey, Mickey!

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Something you learn rearing kids in this young millennium is that the word “Disney” works as a verb. As in, “Do you Disney?” Or, “Are we Disneying this year?” Technically a person could use the terms in speaking about the original Disneyland, in California, but this would be an anomalous usage. One goes to Disneyland and has a great time there, probably — I’ve never been — but one Disneys at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. There’s an implication of surrender to something enormous.

One night my wife, M. J., said I should prepare to Disney. It wasn’t presented as a question or even as something to waste time thinking about, just to brace for, because it was happening. We have some old friends, Trevor and Shell (short for Michelle), and they have a girl, Flora, 5, who is only a year older than our daughter, Mimi. The girls grew up thinking of each other as cousins and get along beautifully. Shell and Trevor also have a younger son, Lil’ Dog. He possesses a real, dignified-sounding name, but his grandparents are the only people I’ve ever heard call him that. All his life he has been Lil’ Dog. The nickname didn’t come about in any special way. There’s no story attached. It was as if, at the moment of birth, the boy himself spoke and chose this moniker. When you look at him, something in him makes you want to say, “Lil’ Dog.” He’s a tiny, sandy-haired, muscular guy, with a goofy, lolling grin, who’s always about twice as heavy when you pick him up as you thought he was going to be.

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