As the mother of a 3-year-old girl, I can tell you many things about Hello Kitty. I can tell you that she lives in London, is perpetually in third grade, and has a twin sister named Mimmy.
But I cannot tell you the one thing my daughter desperately wants to know about Hello Kitty—why she doesn’t have a mouth.
I guess I know. Sort of. Because the artists who drew her didn’t give her one. (Thanks a lot, jerks.)
But that’s not meaningful to my 3-year-old daughter, who doesn’t understand that Hello Kitty isn’t real, that she’s just the figment of some horrible, horrible person’s imagination who was put on this earth to destroy the souls and empty the wallets of unsuspecting mothers like me.
And I’m not going to tell her. Not only because she wouldn’t understand, but because I don’t want to burst her happy little pink, sparkly bubble. I don’t need to remind you all that we’re Jewish. She’s never going to have Santa Claus (I’m both psyched for and terrified of the day when she causes a major scandal at school by telling all of her little friends the truth about Santa), and Hanukkah Harry just sounds like some alcoholic pedophile with a bulging paunch to me, so I figure the least I can do is let the kid have Hello Kitty.
Until she started obsessing about the damn mouth. In the past months, I have purchased a pair of Hello Kitty slippers, a Hello Kitty calendar, and a Hello Kitty story book for my little addict. This might seem indulgent, I know, but my daughter would probably tell you it’s barely adequate, seeing as how I refused to buy her the sequined Hello Kitty handbag, beaded necklace, toothbrush, t-shirt, stuffed toy, and coloring book (we already have two of those at home). She’s a trooper, though, and has found a way to make do with her meager collection. But the end result of my daughter spending all of her time gazing longingly at her beloved Hello Kitty is that she’s walking into things even more than usual, and she’s realized that the cat doesn’t have a mouth.
And she wants to know why. All the time.
Yes, it’s just another why question, one of the hundreds I am getting every day, 95% of which are designed to irritate the shit out of me, 94% of which succeed. So, I try to be clever, if for no other reason than to entertain myself. Over the past few days we’ve gone from the juvenile (“Maybe she left it at the zoo”), to the offensive (“Maybe she sold it for smack”), finally arriving at the desperate (“So she can’t torture her poor mother with endless questions”). None of those seem to appease the Little Inquisitor. Eventually I just hand her a sippy cup of milk and turn up the music.
Tonight she brought it up again. I had nothing to offer, so I turned the question back on her. “I don’t know why Hello Kitty doesn’t have a mouth, sweetie. What do you think?”
My daughter looked at me like I was an idiot. “Because she’s Hello Kitty, Mom.”