At 3.5 years young, Ouisie has a limited filter. Whatever springs to mind, or is on the tip of her tongue freely flows from her lips.  If you have any shade of pink or purple hair, be prepared for Ouisie to squeal, point, and beg me to dye her hair. If you have a dog, she will want to know its name, its breed, and if she can stroke it. If you have long hair, like Rapunzel, she will want to feel your hair and ask to brush it.

Here in Los Angeles, Ouisie meets and greets the city’s 10 million residents like kin. I stay on high alert, and brace myself for Ouisie’s observations and questions. I feel like I walk around looking like this:

We are renting an apartment and have neighbours above, below, facing, and beside us. With so many new noises around us, I slept with ear plugs for the first month. I heard the elevator clank to a stop. The sprinklers from the golf course got me out of bed to the false hope of a rain shower. The above neighbours sounded like giants, and I lay awake waiting for a massive foot to smash through the ceiling.

During our first week, Ouisie and I met the upstairs neighbour while walking our dog. I introduced Ouisie to the lady.  In her next breath Ouisie asked, “Do you know what we call your husband? BIG FOOT.”


Fortunately, the neighbours have a sense of humor and find Ouisie irresistible. In admiration, ‘Big Foot’ named Ouisie ‘Little Foot’ to which she responded, “Silly billy, my name is NOT ‘Little Foot’. It’s Eloise. E-L-O-I-S-E.”


We recently went to a dance performance at the W.M. Keck Children’s amphitheater, located at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. The venue is an architectural marvel with steep staircases leading to cityscape. After the performance we wandered aimlessly around the exterior of the concert hall and discovered it is a popular backdrop for a variety of portrait photographers.

Around one corner we walked ourselves right into the frame of a smutty photo session. Her red stained lips were pursed, and her long bleached hair was draped over one shoulder. A plunging gold sequined bustier caught the afternoon sunlight as she arched her back to thrust her black leather short shorts on the concert hall’s wall.  I wondered why she chose scuffed cowboy boots instead of stilettos.

I saw a soft porn model. Ouisie saw a princess.

I diverted my eyes and tried forcing Ouisie’s frozen feet forward. She pulled her hand loose from my grip and walked up to the photographer. “Excuse me, please. May I have my photo taken with her?” Ouisie asked and pointed to the girl.

The photographer looked at me. The racy blonde looked at me. I uncomfortably twitched ‘OK’ with my head. Ouisie cozied up next to the model and flashed a million dollar smile. In her eyes, she had found Cinderella at Disneyland.


I mumbled good day to the pair and high tailed it to the nearest exit.


“Gosh mom, wasn’t she beautiful? Mom, you should make you hair that colour.” said Ouisie. I was relieved she did not think I needed the bustier. Wishing to shift the conversation, and scenery, I suggested we go for a frozen yogurt. Much to my relief, we discussed the costumes and rhythmic beats of the dance performers over our sweet treats.

If I kept a gratitude journal today’s post would read: I am grateful for my daughter who freely engages with neighbours and random city folk that I would otherwise simply pass by.

Awkward. Character-building.