Thursday, February 19, 2009


"iapeng-in!" Andy waddles, then flaps his arms and runs. I suppose he is a penguin underwater, instead of on land.
"I am yellow! I am Bus 30! If I hit you, you will break!" Joey vrooms, turns the plastic ring he calls a steering wheel and zooms through the first floor after the penguin.

What Joey means is he is going to play chase. This is a favorite boy game,especially during the Witching Hour. Unfortunately, it can go horribly wrong during the Witching Hour, as they get tired and annoyed with each other, with their communication hurdles, and with the determination and differing wills of each other. For example, one wants to play penguin and the other wants to play bus. That is going to annoy each other, as opposed to two boys playing penguins, or two boys playing buses.

But I worry about what those words could mean if he uttered them in school, with no interpreter handy. How would his very real fear of being hit by a car be handled? Would it be interpreted as a threat?

Both boys end up crashing into the couch. Someone stubs a toe. Someone else gets annoyed about the two different games. I hug my boys, and they are off again, a bus in one direction, a penguin in another. They run into each other. It's an accident, but the results are explosive. I have to close my computer completely and get the boys engaged. We jump on the trampoline. We play a round of Feed the Kitty (a great game!) Joey gets onto his computer to play some games. Andy wants to watch some Sesame Street. The dust settles. Andy works on some of his art, darted between the kitchen art table and the living room where Sesame Street plays, constant motion.

Distract and engage. Diffuse the frustration, redirect attention, provide opportunities for success. It may not always work, but it is always worth trying.


Cathy said...

wow--sounds like a page out of our book! both my boys get really hyper and easily annoy each other at the witching hour, too. I have to constantly engage them or there's fights.

abfh said...

In the worrying about the things that kids say while they're playing category -- I took my kids on vacation when they were 6 and 8 years old. As we were walking through the airport just after we arrived, the kids started pretending to be terrorists shooting down the planes with rocket launchers. I hustled them out of there in a hurry before anyone noticed that!

Stimey said...

We also do a lot of chasing during the witching hour. We are fortunate to have a complete circle to keep them fast and in one direction.