Thursday, February 08, 2007

The mini monsters

Published February 8, 2007

"The mini monsters are a team of three spies who are no bigger than my little pinky finger. The first monster’s name is Go-Go. He is funny and smart. He knows that 2 X 2 is 4. He goes to school and says “it’s so much fun!”
The other monster’s name is Jo-Jo. He is always sad but he loves being a spy. The only problem is that he sometimes cries in the middle of an investigation, which makes people wonder if he’s right in his head. He has been a spy since he was ten years old. When you are only about 2 ½ inches tall, it’s hard to tell if you are 10 years old or one hundred.

The third monster’s name is Ko-Ko. Ko-Ko likes to watch TV all the time and he is weird when it comes to command of the remote control. The remote is five times as big as Ko-Ko, but he doesn’t notice it at all. Ko-Ko’s strength cannot be matched. He is the mini monster who does all the heavy lifting in the team. Ko-Ko likes art too. He draws and paints the big people, especially the ones who are always into trouble when they think no one else is looking….and so begins the adventures of the mini monsters…..”
My daughter’s fourth grade essay starts out interesting and after reading it, I see potential for a cartoon series or a Pixar movie release, but then again…Monsters Inc. was already done. Oh well, at least I was able to share it with you.

We were at my parents for Dad’s birthday last weekend. The grandkids were unusually occupied for a gathering at my parents. They simply weren’t around. I opened the door to the garage and heard voices coming from the upstairs room my Dad built when I was a kid. It’s been a place where my father cuts hair and carves wood, but in the olden days it was an official neighborhood clubhouse with furniture, a small kitchen and cubby holes to put stuff in. For admission to the clubhouse you had to fulfill a set of requirements. Since I was the oldest sibling, it meant that my friends were all “in” and my sisters were officially “out” of the club. We made signs that declared who was in and who was out. These were posted carefully on the walls for all to see. We had secret passwords for entrance and secret meetings, much in the genre of “My Gang.” If there were any mean teenagers in the neighborhood and there were a few; they were officially declared to be “out” of the clubhouse. You can still see evidence on the wallpaper in the clubhouse of our time there.

And so history and imagination took over once again, 35 years later. As I listened to the thuds of the feet upstairs in the old clubhouse, I knew that some things just capture the imagination of a child in ways adults can hardly remember. Except this time it was the younger kids (the mini monsters) who had commandeered the clubhouse. In a twist of irony and revenge, the children of my younger siblings and my youngest daughter reclaimed their birth right, complete with home made signs that declared who was “in” and who was “out”. Their first official act after making their home made signs was to clean up the place and make a little couch out the cushions that were in storage in the cubby spaces. If you were a teenager in this family, it was clear you were not welcome. Well, some things never change.

The imagination of a child is untainted in their ability to believe or see things that adults lost long ago and far away. In thinking about what it is that attracts kids to cubby holes and upstairs rooms where their imagination and creativity unwinds, I am comforted by the fact that some things might just be generational, and that eventually the mini monsters will prevail.

Tammy Maher is a resident of El Dorado Hills and a biweekly columnist for the Mountain Democrat. You can reach her by email at or on the web at


tom mcgowan said...

The mini-monster shall inherit the earth! It is written it shall be done.

Post/General Mills said...

Would KO-KO like some Coco Puffs?

Pixtar said...

We are now working on a new script right now entitled 'Mini-Monster, INC' Great ideas here. We read this blog all the time. Always full of new ideas for us.