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Interview with the Vampira

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My younger daughter is in speech therapy. According to her assessments, she’s just about a year behind schedule. That lost year has caused a lot of day-to-day angst for the entire family as we struggle to understand her and she struggles to be understood. I wish I could say that I have remained steadfastly patient with her, but nearly three years of non-verbal or limited communication (read: screaming) has shortened my fuse considerably (and increased my consumption of Advil and chardonnay).

The following post is one of my very favorites because I saw the funny side of our mutual frustration long enough to write about it. Then I went back to drinking chardonnay from the bottle.


The following is a transcript of the Mother Inferior’s probing interview of Catherine the Undead in which she attempts to ascertain the reasons behind Catherine’s persistent efforts to eat her classmates alive.

Mother Inferior: Before we get started, be warned that the Absentee Father is lurking in the shadows, ready to come to my aid should you try any funny business with those chompers of yours.

Catherine the Undead smiles broadly, baring the infamous chompers.

Mother Inferior: And for the record, the Absentee Father is called the Absentee Father because he rarely picks you up from school and is therefore not filled with a sense of dread as soon as he walks in the door, wondering whether he will find yet another incident report paper-clipped to your attendance page. He isn’t required to prick his index finger and leave a drop of his own blood on that report to acknowledge yet another transgression on the part of his progeny.

Catherine the Undead looks bored and glances at the pantry door, no doubt coveting some sort of snack to tide her over until her next shot at practicing cannibalism.

Mother Inferior: I realize that it must be frustrating, the fact that you can’t talk yet. The Absentee Father and I are quite frustrated ourselves. But you don’t see us going around biting people, do you?

Catherine the Undead looks pointedly at the refrigerator, the liquor cabinet, and the cupboard that houses the martini shaker.

Mother Inferior: Fair enough; we do have our methods of coping. But please, can’t you give us some credit for all that we do on your behalf? I mean, we go so far as to cleanse your posterior of solid waste. What if we traded in the container of wipes for a bidet? Would that be sufficient incentive for you to stop gnawing on your friends and family?

Catherine the Undead (looks momentarily interested, but then wags her finger and shouts):
“No! No! No! No! No!â€?

Mother Inferior: I see. Not willing to compromise in the least. I shall remember this exchange when you are sixteen and ask for a one-time, special-occasion extension of your curfew. I’m afraid that I won’t be able to compromise then either.

Catherine the Undead blows a raspberry. A wet one.

Mother Inferior: Don’t try to change the subject, young lady. We’re here to discuss how to address your oral fixation. You’re too young for chewing gum, nail biting, or cigarette smoking – and frankly, I hope that you never take up any of those habits. We’ve tried Tylenol and Motrin. You don’t use a binky, so I can’t dip it in brandy. A muzzle would cause even more talk than a leash. What are we left with?

Catherine the Undead grins and begins to chew on her Lambie’s tail as she bears down and fills her diaper.

Mother Inferior: Grin and bear it, you say? You are wise beyond your years. Just like your movement, I suppose that this too shall pass.


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  • comment avatar Joanne November 16, 2007

    Just one question, has it passed?

  • comment avatar Kari November 16, 2007

    This post would have been humorous and heart-warming enough but calling her “Vampira?” Classic!

  • comment avatar Julie November 16, 2007

    Joanne, it has passed. She almost never bites other people now.

    Interestingly enough though, when she is super-frustrated, she will bite her clothing or some other inanimate object within reach.

  • comment avatar Dana November 17, 2007

    What a witty piece! I think the tongue-in-cheek humor is hilarious here–somehow, we understand that “vampira” is loveable in her own right and that this too shall pass.

    And haven’t we all looked at the liquor cabinet with longing around 4 pm sometimes? 🙂