You cannot read this strip for very long without coming to the conclusion that Lynn was extremely dissatisfied with motherhood. As trumanf pointed out, it's a litany of disappointments, of children who won't behave, of things that break down, of nothing ever going right and nobody showing Elly the least bit of real sympathy or gratitude. In short, the melodramatic yoo-hoo at the drawing board was in to turning molehills into mountains. For the longest time, we've have to view the Patterson family and the world around them through the eyes of a self-defeating basket-case who refuses to be grateful for what she has because it would mean to her that people are right not to take her as seriously as she takes herself. Now, things have changed. A new idiot hero has taken centre stage: Michael. His dysfunction is the insane need to be the corpse at every funeral, the child at every christening and the bride at every wedding. Not for him the pathetic whining about how nobody understands him; he parades around beaming with pride at shoving people out of the spotlight like the damb bully he is. The point of the hybrid, as I see it, is to re-examine the past and prove that Elly was wrong and Michael was right. Instead of endless variations on the theme "children-as-burden", we are told a story about a misunderstood genius and the hateful little girl who messed up his life.