Sunday, July 8, 2007

Schmernia, Oh Schmernia, We Hardly Know Ye

When I think of which of the kids is the most creative and imaginative, I inevitably think of Erika, who spends most of her time at home engrossed in elaborate scenarios involving a combined universe of Polly Pockets, Littlest Pet Shop and toy horses of all kinds. But it's actually Hilary who has had the biggest impact on our family lexicon. The only made-up word, for example, that we all use is 'dye' (or 'di' or 'dai' - who knows how you spell made-up words?), which Hilary started using when she was two years old and barely speaking at all to mean 'tickle me.' She presents her arm, leg, chin, etc. and announces, 'Dye arm.' The first time Erika used it really took me off guard, as she demanded, when I was putting her to bed, 'I want you to die.'

Now Hilary has the whole house buzzing again, this time about her imaginary daughter, Schmernia. No one has any idea where this name came from, but we've gathered this much: Schmernia is 11 years old, and has a little brother named Sammy who is 2. The tragic element of this story is that Schmernia lives at the Little Gym, and every day Hilary tells us that she will talk on the phone with Schmernia tomorrow. How sad to be separated like that from her own child! And what pathos in her own life is Hilary projecting on to this banished daughter? Perhaps I'm reading too much into this, and Schmernia was really just a spontaneous, temporary creation that achieved lasting life through the interest of me, and Erika, and Kylie and Keri, who drill Hilary almost every day about her - primarily because we all like to say 'Schmernia,' and hear Hilary say it. If she had named her imaginary daughter 'Amy,' like Erika named all her dolls when she was four, this would have been a non-story.