Trouble Role Model: Maurice Sendak’s Really Rosie

Sadly, Maurice Sendak died today. I would consider his character Really Rosie as a troublemaking role model for my daughter Rosie. In fact, she’s partly named after Sendak’s Rosie. In memory of Sendak, check out this blog post that I wrote last summer: Really Rosie! and Really, Rosie?¬†When I have time, I’d like to think more about this quote from Sendak on the purpose of his work:

Children surviving childhood is my obsessive theme and my life’s concern.

Really Rosie! and Really, Rosie?

My daughter, Rosie, started summer camp today. Her preschool class ended two and a half weeks ago. During the in-between time, we spent all of the days together, going to the beach, the grocery store, the newly renovated library, local parks, and biking along the Mississippi River. We made up stories and had great talks about everything from soylent green (she brought it up) to our fifth favorite color to the possibility of life on other planets (prompted after a viewing of A Wrinkle in Time). I was able to bear witness to her (mostly) wonderful troublemaking spirit and was reminded of how she (and her brother FWA) helped to inspire my creation of this blog back in May of 2009.

Being beside Rosie is always very helpful for my own thinking about troublemaking. Much like me, her troublemaking usually comes in the form of an insatiable curiosity and a refusal to merely accept what she is told. Because she asks so many questions and always demands explanations for why she must do this or believe that, she reminds me that engaging in troublemaking (or being around someone who is making trouble) can be exciting, exhilarating and exhausting. Indeed, troublemaking has its limits and shouldn’t be uncritically embraced as that which we should do all of the time. And when it is practiced, we need to remember how it can drain us or those around us. Throughout the past two and a half weeks, Rosie has prompted me to exclaim with joy, “Really Rosie!,” one minute, and then utter in annoyed disbelief, “Really, Rosie?,” the next.

When I was a kid, I loved the show, Really Rosie. My daughter Rosie was (at least partly) named after it. For some time, ever since I saw Spike Jonez’s film of Maurice Sendak’s other kids’ classic, Where the Wild Things Are, I have wanted to write a blog entry, contrasting the gendered representations of the troublemaking girl in Really Rosie and the troublemaking/troubled boy in Where the Wild Things Are. Hopefully I will get to that entry sometime this summer. For now, I want to mark the occasion of the beginning of my summer writing (now that the kids are in their summer camps!), by paying tribute to one of my favorite troublemakers: my five year old daughter, Rosie. In honor of her, I’m including the video for Really Rosie below:

Part one:

Part two: