My only brush with a literary agent came a few years ago when I wrote a little rhyming picture book about a toddler bidding adieu to her pacifiers. The toddler appreciated and collected pacifiers the way her parents collected records and other treasures. Before braving this critique, I read my two pages to a wide and disparate audience–delighted by the reaction from friends who were bad liars/credible critics. I’d suffered many humorless picture books that featured fairies coming to whisk away pacifiers to the woods, during the time that I was wrestling my child’s soothies from her clenched jaws. Through my generous friend CKim (incidently one of my two Korean friends), I had the chance to show a well-known literary agent my book. As this agent represented one of my favorite children’s book authors of all time, I may have had a star or two in my eyes, hoping that she’d like it.
She called me a few days after reading my two pages of text and said in a thick European accent that I densely could not specify, “I do not know the pac-ee-fi-er lit-er-ra-ture.” This cracked me up at the time. I too had no knowledge of pacifer “literature” but did she get the attempt at wit or at the very least the effort I made to look up the word pacifer in different languages and find ONES THAT RHYMED? Maybe not. (I now regret using my one chance with a great literary agent for this. If I happen to miraculously write something great one day, like you know War and Peace, I will be forever branded the “pacifier literature lady.”)
With that build up,here is the text for your amusement and, if you must, your mockery. xoxo
Dad has his records. Mom has her books. I am in the stroller giving dirty looks.
(picture of a toddler in a stroller watching her dad flip through records at a store, looking bored)
These antique pins I’ve found could poke me in the eye.
These shakers seem to fall and break whenever I pass by.
(photo of kid in a antique store with rows of different salt shakers)
These watches would be nifty, if only i told time.
A coin collection is not allowed for fear I’ll eat a dime.
What makes me warm and fuzzy and comforts me at night? My pacifier, soothie or Mr. Binky Bright.
A soothie is a work of art. I hold mine to the light. The question that I ask myself is how it feels to bite.
(Drawing of a kid holding a soothie up to the light like a diamond)
There is beauty in its color–its shape and its design. Mom says best of all, it eliminates the whine.
In Paris, they have suzettes. In Norway, they have smokks.
(Picture of kids in Paris sucking on their pacifiers and in background the Pont Neuf with discarded pacifiers decorating it instead of locks)
In Denmark, they have suts. In Estonia, lutts.
In Romania, suzetas. In Portugal, chupetes.
There is a pacy for every occasion. for every frame of mind. The plastic drugstore pacy of the fourteen-karat kind.
There are pacys for the happy times and pacys for the blue. There are even DYI pacys to decorate and glue.
There are pacys for the holidays–for ring a dinging through the snow and pacys for the protest marches–yelling “We won’t go!”
Though I’d travel far and wide for them, by jet or by balloon, my extra squishy oldies are the ones that make me swoon. Best of all, my binkie, my little friend, my Boo, is always in my mouth, reminding me of you. No matter where my parents are of what hurdles I face, my soothie is my partner in crime, in each and every case.
One dark, gray day my parents brought me to my room. “It’s time to part with pacy. You’ve had a good, long run.” This news was as you’ll imagine was anything but fun. I thumped my chest and pulled my hair–my angry ape rendition. That day I skipped or meal or two–revolt against nutrition!
To part with my collection, i ranked them A to Z. The furry ones, the spiky ones, the ones most dear to me. I watched mom slam dunk them, one by one with glee. I wondered without pacys, could I still be me? Goodbye my boo boo pacy for when I scraped my knee. Goodbye my pearly pacy for afternoon high tea.
Mom suggests a new collection–dollies or stuffed bears. But my heart is filled with pacys; nothing else compares.
At night without my friends, I tossed and turned and cried. But by morning, what a miracle, my tears had even dried.
I searched my house for my new collection.
The stress balls on my daddy’s desk are good for squeezing tight.
The warm glow of my nightlights can make the dark alright.
The makeup brushes in mom’s purse I sweep across my cheeks. I picture mom in the mirror and me, the little girl who peeks.
(Drawing of girl watching her mom put on makeup in mirror)
I’m growing up my parents say, and this sounds good to me. But from time to time, please let me smile and think of my binky.
The End (If you are someone who typically reads this blog, I promise no more rhyming picture books on these pages. It was a blip).