AWM&#153: Every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way Edition

Well it’s been a few weeks since we checked in on America’s Worst Mother&#153 and we now find that la famiglia Gurdon (Precipice, Cleo, Euphoria, and Vlad the Inhaler) is falling apart faster than a Donald Rumsfeld explanation, leading to a precipitous decline in familial “biffing”:

Until tonight, there has been a natural division in our family ever since there were four children to divide. The Bigs, comprising Molly and Paris, qualified for larger portions and later bedtimes. The Littles, consisting of Violet and Phoebe, received greater indulgence but fewer long, thoughtful, adult explanations. The Bigs will get, “Well, darlings, in the Second World War the Allies were fighting the Nazis in Europe and Imperial Japan in the Pacific, and…” Whereas the Littles hear, “Well, darlings, a long time ago the Goods were fighting the Bads….” There was, in short, a distinct Upper- and Lower-house quality around here. These two parties coexisted peacefully, each secure in its domestic sphere of influence. But now the wall is coming down, old alliances are fracturing, and we are entering a multipolar phase that already has me longing for Cold War certainties.

(It should be noted that Mr. Meghan is officially designated as one of the “Littles” too…but for other reasons that we won’t go into, at least for this week)

Anyway, the disintegration of the Gurdon Clan seems to be tied to the day that Ronald Reagan cried, “Mummy, tear down this wall…and would it kill you to pick up afterwards?”.

The moment of open breach came on what turned out to be the day Ronald Reagan died. Our family was bicycling in a Virginia nature preserve. Molly, Paris, and my husband were far ahead on their own bikes, and Violet and Phoebe were traveling in a little rented trailer behind me. Pedaling along, I expected to hear from behind the usual amiable chatter. Instead, the tranquility of the egrets was shattered by discord.

“But you said I could use her!” Violet cried with misery.

“No, Violet,” came a soft and deadly voice.

“You’re hurting me!”

“Hey, girls, what — ?” I craned my head, braking.

“Ow, Phoebe!”

I stopped the bike and found Violet clinging desperately to the legs of Phoebe’s cheap pink plastic doll as Phoebe yanked grimly on a handful of Violet’s beautiful hair. “Why, girls!” I remonstrated, unhappy and surprised, sounding for all the world like Kofi Annan, “This isn’t like you!”


It is now abundantly clear that Paris and Violet are saving all their best jokes for each other. He rushes home from school to play with this once-scorned hanger-on. Over breakfast the other day their eyes were sparkling with mutual regard and the air was full of, “Hey, Violet — ” and “Paris, listen to this — ” as if the rest of us had vaporized.

My husband and Molly, being lost in the paper and Harry Potter V, respectively, had actually vaporized. Phoebe sat with two fingers tucked in her mouth, watching the repartee like a spectator at Wimbledon, and I sat watching her. For nearly three years, the Littles have been each other’s closest allies. Now Violet is forming a new axis. I am not sure what this means for her little sister. Perhaps when Phoebe starts nursery school she can join some Group of 77.

And then there is this:

“Violet, did you know there is a boat in your nose?”

“Well, Paris, there’s an earring in your eye.”

What does this all mean? Well, it’s quite obvious that Meghan is desperately hanging onto her spot at NRO by showing off her Poli-Sci chops disguised as a musings on the family. Thus children are countries that must be invaded, converted, or killed. Alliances are formed and broken. Trade agreements are abrogated. Treaties are trashed. The “littles” are invaded by the “bigs” and have democracy shoved down their little throats while we torture them, sexually humiliate them, and steal their oil…

…or maybe she just wants to point out that kids say the darndest things.

It’s probably one of those…

Bonus Paris Masculinity Sighting: Her brother chuckles maturely. “Violet, there’s beetroot coming out of the top of your head.”

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Yeah. Like I would tell you....