A Post That I Simply Can’t Resist Writing.

For the most part, I make a big effort not to tell “cute things my daughter said” stories to anyone but the grandparents. I have a list of topics that are often boring to other people, and this subject definitely has a place there.

But I simply can’t resist telling these two connected stories.

Every Sunday night, we have “Movie Night,” when we watch a family movie. A few weeks ago, I chose the 1937 movie Lost Horizon (a great movie if you haven’t seen it).

My eight-year-old daughter was so delighted with the movie and the idea of Shangri-La that she was inspired to write  a sequel, about what happens when Robert Conway returns to that magical land. “I’m going to call it ‘Lost Horizon: Everyday Life in Utopia,'” she told me. Everyday life in Utopia! I love that phrase so much. It’s my new motto for my happiness projects.

I’d told her about the word “utopia” and what it meant. Some days later, I was reading aloud to her from Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time. I explained that Camazotz, in the book,  was a “dystopia,” and gave a little lecture about how that was the opposite of a utopia. My daughter listened patiently.

About a week later, as we continued with A Wrinkle in Time, I asked in a teacherly voice, “Now do you remember the word for the opposite of utopia?”

“Metopia,” she said, without missing a beat. It took me a moment to get the joke.

Everyday life in Utopia and Metopia!

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  • Barbara

    cute! Thanks for sharing!

  • I love the idea of a family movie night too. My little boy is only 5 so our choice is a little limited but I think I’ll start rolling it out on Sundays now too.

  • Courtney

    We do a Friday night movie night. It is the perfect end to our busy work/school weeks. And, we’ve been able to share some of our favorite movies with our daughter!

  • K.t. Hicks

    I do wish people who decided that “your kids are not interesting” would put “and neither is your freaking office political drama stories.” My kids are my job, and your problems with your co-worker are NOT interesting to me, either 😀

  • As the grandma of two children who live near NYC, I can’t get enough of good stories about children these days, so bring it on. Your daughter sounds absolutely delightful. My mother was a storyteller and reader also, and my own memoir owes its existence to night-time exchanges like the ones you and your daughter are having.

  • Grandma Honey

    I have to disagree with you that cute things your daughters say are boring. I wish you would share more of these as you did today! That’s why I love your books even more than you blog, because it’s more personal….easier to relate to.

  • Penelope Schmitt

    One good story provokes another. When my younger son was about 6, his Grandma gave him and his brother a proper tea, with china cups and little cookies. He lifted his cup, took a sip, and declared: “Grandma, this is SURPOOB!” Superb never tasted so delicious. That malapropism entered our family lexicon forever!

  • Rivki Silver

    Cute and clever! I enjoy hearing about cute things kids say, but I guess if that’s the ONLY thing a person talks about, it could get old. 🙂

  • Allison

    How clever your daughter is! I love your list of topics to avoid. A friend and I were JUST talking this weekend about how there is nothing that triggers the internal eye roll more than having to listen to someone tell you, at length, about a dream they had! They always lose us after the second sentence. So funny to see that on your list!

  • Susan Suggs

    Very cute story. I, like you, don’t like to share my kids’ funny stories. However, here’s one…. When my twin sons were four(ish), we had a handyman. His name was Joe – he did all of our painting and other work. One week, I spent the better part of the week telling my sons about Leonardo deVinci and Picasso and Monet… trying to open and expand their exposure to ART. So, at the end of the week (in front of friends and family) to name a famous painter – they both proudly exclaimed ‘JOE’. duh.

  • Karianne Salisbury

    Thanks for sharing! I love these type of stories! I write on writedreamsweat.com

  • hkalin

    Great story! What a smart kid! I think you & your daughter might
    enjoy this short clip (3:28) of a trip through the Himalayas set to
    “Shambhala” by 3 Dog Night: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PDpVS7D9AJs

  • Pamela

    Loved reading this! Perhaps it is a matter of perspective, and those of us with older kids really DO like to hear the profound sayings of younger children. Thanks for sharing!

  • Sadye

    This one was worth sharing … and when you make an effort NOT to talk endlessly about them, I think it’s more than OK to share one once in a while!

  • Lost123

    Can someone explain the joke…I don’t get it!

    • gretchenrubin



  • Travis Turner

    Thanks for sharing! Great story!