Do you remember Amelia Bedelia? Let me begin with a brief children’s literature lesson for those who have not…Amelia Bedelia is the title character of a series of American children’s books written by Peggy Parish. The books were a favorite in my house growing up. Honestly, they have not aged well in my mind. I now read these books and think that Amelia was an idiot. I have feminist/political concerns but I spare the boys these opinions…for now.
Amelia repeatedly misunderstood various commands of her employer by always taking figures of speech and various terminology literally, causing her to perform wrong actions with comical effect. For instance, the employer asks her to dress the chicken and Amelia sews a tiny chicken-sized dress for the bird. In my personal favorite, Amelia Bedelia Goes Camping, Amelia can be seen pitching the tent as though she was Nolan Ryan. Amelia maintained a positive attitude throughout, probably because she lacked the ability to read social cues and recognize that people were upset. She generally made everything better by presenting a lovely baked good. (**Note to my fellow bibliophiles: I consulted Wikipedia for the author’s name and learned a few interesting facts. First, the author spent time living in Cameroon and based the character after a domestic in her childhood home. Also, Peggy Parish died in 1988 and her nephew took over the series. There have been 3 illustrators for the series.)
Amelia Bedelia’s literal approach to life reminds me of my kids at times. Basic communication fails and we begin talking in circles around each other creating chaos and mayhem at every turn. Allow me to illustrate. When Logan was 3 or 4, I told him , that it was time to “kick the dogs out” because Banjo had stolen food from the table. Oops. Poor Banjo probably has a nice sore spot on her ribs. Certainly an Amelia moment!
Another time, we were making Christmas cookies and Logan asked “Why are we making cookies?” As I continued to measure and stir, I said “Because it is Christmastime and…” Before I could finish with “we are making presents for people we love,” Logan jumped off his stool, screamed “It’s Christmastime!?”, ran to the tree, and began ripping the wrapping off the first gift he could get his hands on. After tears and several failed explanations we rewrapped Daddy’s present. Sigh…
I remember upsetting Logan once when I “Hold on, let me pull my hair back.” Logan started crying “Don’t pull your hair, mommy! That’s not nice!” At least that wasn’t as traumatic as the time I worried my boy when I joked to Trey “You are killing me!”
Last week we had an epic snowball fight with our snow day friends. I helped Jack make a snowball and said “Throw your snowball! Hit Daddy!” He did! Jack threw the snowball and then ran up to hit his daddy.
Amelia Bedelia lives on through my kiddos creating chaoes and mayhem. What I can choose to take from these Amelia Bedelia moments is to look for the positive, laugh whenever possible, and seek out a lovely baked treat.