“So, she’d be my evil step-grandmother.”
“What honey?” I asked over my shoulder.
Chloe was always bambling to herself, to friends visible only to her, and sometimes to me. Listening with half an ear; I must have missed something.
Sounding exasperated that I didn’t immediately know, “your evil stepmother.”
“Well, I guess she would be.”
“What was she like? Did you have a fairy godmother? Was my father Prince Charming or a huntsman? Did you live with little people? Did she make you sweep and eat poison apples? Did she have a mirror? . . . .”
Chloe often strung together questions, without stopping to breathe. Sometimes, I could get away with simple “yeses” and “noes,” but this string was a bit more complex and complicated. And, I wasn’t sure this was the optimum time to tell her family history.
“Yes, I had a fairy godmother, your father is charming and our last name is Prince. No little people, sweeping or poison apples. She had a mirror in her room.”
“Just like Snow White and Cinderella!” Chloe exclaimed.
Drying my hands, I sat across the table from her serious, questioning little face with those gleaming excited eyes. “Why are you asking?”
“Because the woman on tv looks just like the photographs.”
I didn’t know what to ask first – what woman on tv or what photographs. Chloe made it easier.
“I found the photographs in the attic. I brought them down and put them in my book.”
Chloe and I made her books from large pieces of newsprint, bound together with decorative brads. Each one had a hand-drawn and lettered cover. Chloe pasted in images she found in magazines, newspapers and on-line. She wrote stories, often imagined from these pictures, and illustrated by her.
“It must have been fun, everyone playing dress up all the time. You even decorated your pony with a horn on her head, and a wreath of flowers. Step-grandmother eyes don’t smile. The castle looks scary – all big with dark passages. The garden looks pretty – lots of flowers with faces”
She answered the photograph question. “Snapshots” of a sort, from when I lived at home. One of the few possessions from that part of my life I kept. I had planned to show Chloe some day when she was older, explain her heritage, and leave resolving it up to her.
“What lady on television, Chloe?” I monitored what she watched, steering her away from inappropriate programs. If Evilina was on tv, then the program definitely wouldn’t be appropriate.
“The one in a new reality show: “The Real Evil Stepmothers of Fairytaleland.”
I needed to reset the parental control key words. I hoped “evil stepmother” wasn’t too hard to program in.