A 30 second review of Inside Out

“Inside Out,” Pixar’s newest way to fleece parents of a buck, is brilliant and everyone should see it–even people who think a movie about emotions and core memories is a bunch of psychobabble.

There you have it, the only 30 second review you will ever need for “Inside Out.”

inside outTrust. It’s kind of like when you read Suess’s “Oh the Places You’ll Go.” You thought you were wading in some unexpectedly deep waters of truth. You’ll get that feeling again, times forty five.

I will add that one of my favorite parts (no spoilers) is when Bing Bong, an imaginary friend from a girlhood of yore, is riding the Train of Thought and accidentally spills chips that represent facts and opinions. In case you are a robot hard-wired to not experience the blurring of what feels like actual fact and what might be merely an opinion, this moment was a thrill. Because everyone concedes “These facts and opinions look so similar!” I felt so vindicated, having lived with a therapist for ten years. See? SEE! Sometimes they get mixed up, even for animated Pixar people feelings figures, too!

P.S. And yes I do have my next outfit picked out for the costume party.


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When your kids’ jam is not your jam

Our girl has been singing Dynamite all day. When she is not singing that Taio Cruz song using all the wrong lyrics except for a strong repetition of Dynamite/AY-O/Let Go, she is humming it. Or whistling it. There is only one person who enjoys whistling and it is the person whistling.

Everyone else is:


Pow-pow with that Dynamite. It was really proud-making, hauling my kids en route to Vacation Bible School this morning where they would spend the morning with throngs of children named Josiah and Jedediah and Jeremiah, all rocking their VBS camp shirts, eating little campfire-themed snacks and doing mini-campsite lantern crafts, singing around the proverbial campfire at the top of their lungs, “God’s love is like an ocean!”, while, in preparation, my kids were belting out:

Death Disco at the Arches, Glasgow // October 2011

We gon’ rock this club,
We gon’ go all night,
We gon’ light it up,
Like it’s dynamite!

I think it set just the right tone.

By dinner, Baby Girl was still doing her best rendering of Dynamite and, oddly, I was experiencing a similar set of explosives igniting in my frontal lobe. I usually have no problem in asking my children to cease doing the annoying thing, but the girl was just beyond. She didn’t even realize she was singing it on loop, muttering unconsciously. Finally, as I stared across the table, I was trying to piece together a diversion from her club-thumping rhythms, when Little Man had just the right words.

He said, “Sis, do you have another jam?”

I wanted to smother-hug him and cover him with thousands of kisses. How sweet and polite is he? And also, how hip, to just ask little miss pop songstress if she had another track in her rotation.

Then, I realized. He was wondering if she literally had another jam.


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On siblings, neck strangles, and advantages

“That was nice, Baby Girl,” I said after I saw her putting her brother into an affectionate neck strangle.

“I gave [Little Man] a hug and told him he did a good job,” she said.

It wasn’t that she knew he did a good job; she spent the entirety of the T-ball game sifting through the nearby stream for minnows.

It wasn’t that this was our routine after games: hugs and attaboys.


I think it was that she knew he needed it. Siblings can sense these unspoken needs in a way that is hard to qualify or quantify but which seems as true and clear as a car emerging from the car wash. Perhaps that is what siblings are: people who have come through the same wash cycle, people who’ve been scrubbed by the same soap, buffed by the same brushes, people who entered and exited from the same places. And sometimes they’re not even biological.

My friend Haddy says she loves “to see siblings becoming.” I think this is perfectly put. After just a week at home with my kids on summer vacation, I love to see them becoming so much more than the girl and boy who were knit together in the same pouch. Their identities as singular punks are evolving just as surely as the identity they share as a sibling set: they are whole people and they are part of a whole greater than themselves. They share a horizontal relationship that will be recognized with confirmations, like, “Ah, of course, you are his sister,” and, at times, with incredulity “Oh! He’s your brother?!”  that I’m sure will follow them well into their adulthood.

I am grateful to have witnessed their early moments of gelling and the inevitable moments where they beat the tar out of one another. I am overcome sometimes how two people who didn’t get to choose one another for five years continue to choose one another: as playmates, as best frenemies.  I think about the disadvantages they have, living so many hundreds of miles removed from any family. How they don’t know many of their grands and aunties and uncles and cousins in anything more than monochrome, in one dimension.


But then I think about the great, immeasurable advantage of just having a sibling with whom to suffer these really weird parents. Even if they have nothing in common, have disparate life goals, have no abiding interest in pursuing a meaningful relationship with one another–siblings have the goods on one another. They understand how each other came to be, far better than their parents could ever fathom. They will know the ticking of each other’s hearts, not just the steady rhythmic beats but the wild, erratic hiccups and dips and the soul-thirst for a hug after a T-ball game, where upon a little brother, aka “Little Bother” asked the snack provider for an extra juicebox. “For my sister.”




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