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mother nature
summer end in suburbia
by juli mccarthy

It’s August in the sleepy little town of Suburbia Grande, and the sounds of late summer abound. Cicadas chirp flirtatiously in the shrubbery, hoping to secure mates for their seven-year sojourn underground. Bees buzz over the fading flowers, stockpiling nectar for their autumn honey deadline. Birds and bullfrogs argue over delicious mosquito tidbits. And if you listen very closely, you can hear the soft yahoo of the Mommus suburbanus, quietly rejoicing that her young will soon be returning to classrooms.

All summer long, the Suburban Mom has been busily entertaining her offspring and its companions. The young are social, and tend to gather in large noisy groups, near chlorinated bodies of water or alongside refrigerators. Suburban Mom provides towels, sunscreen and popsicles. In an emergency (i.e. one red popsicle and two children) she also acts as referee.

Because the migratory pattern of her children tends to be circular, the Suburban Mom spends a great deal of her summer time behind the wheel of a minivan. (This is the traditional mode of transport for the species, although more adventurous specimens can occasionally be found inside SUVs.) She shuttles her children to swimming pools, sleepovers, day camps and video rental stores.

The Suburban Mom also provides nourishment for her offspring. She keeps a supply of granola bars and apple juice in the pantry, where they are cheerfully ignored in favor of cakes and kool-aid. At snacktimes, she can be heard uttering this repetitive call: "Have an apple! Have an apple!"

Summer evenings bring fresh challenges to the species. It is her responsibility to see to it that her children are in bed at a decent hour (the better to wake her at the crack of dawn). The children become combative at dusk, and the parent is frequently reduced to bribery. With promises of zoo visits ringing in their ears, the children usually settle eventually.

Unbeknownst to her progeny, the Suburban Mom uses her children’s bedtime as an excuse to wallow in sinful selfishness. She may watch a television show that has no singing puppets. She may read a book without pictures. Some truly decadent specimens have even been known to bathe, alone, with the bathroom door closed!

As the end of summer approaches, the Suburban Mom begins to prepare for autumn. She must leave her native habitat and head into the wilds of a shopping mall to outfit her children for the coming school year. It is only the exceptional specimen that can accomplish this task without tears -- either hers or her children’s.

In August, the young become irascible and touchy as they face another school year, and a prudent parent keeps her exultation to herself. The children would not take kindly to the knowledge that their parents look forward to six whole hours of solitude, and may in fact become dangerously recalcitrant. The wise Suburban Mom therefore waits until the last week of August, late at night when her children are sleeping soundly, then walks outside and quietly whispers,
"Yahoo!" She smiles as the call is taken up and echoed by others of her kind throughout Suburbia Grande.


A whole gallon of attitude, poured into a pint container.

more about juli mccarthy


hollow woman
a suburban mom develops an unexpected superpower
by juli mccarthy
topic: humor
published: 8.23.00


adam kraemer
8.9.00 @ 11:47a

I am convinced that this is why all Jewish parents send their kids to camp.

lila snow
8.13.00 @ 5:54a

As with so many other species,Daddus Suburbanus never even enters the picture, does he?

juli mccarthy
8.13.00 @ 8:48a

Daddus sububanus does not suffer from the changing of the season like the female of the species. For him, the seasons are only two: lawn-mowing season, and snow-shoveling season.

jack bradley
8.25.00 @ 4:31a

Hey, What about GayUrbanicus Proffesionalis? We migrate the globe, unhampered by any progeny, to spread beauty and fabulousness to all ecosystems. God, that sounded queeny, didn't it?

jael mchenry
8.25.00 @ 8:55a

Jack, I think it was your use of the word "fabulousness" that put you over the edge. As a prime example of the Singlus Whitus Femalius, I am lucky enough to spend most of my time selfishly obsessing over my own minor emotional difficulties. I have great respect for the Mommus Suburbanus and the wildlife she must corral on a daily basis.

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