That up there has been an official word in our household since January of 2009, which was around the time that Mags learned to walk. She was like Godzilla crushing block buildings or swiping a Matchbox race car line-up in one fell swoop. Most of the time it was the the unsteady beat of her new walk that led to these debacles. Tuck (only 3 at the time) was as patient as he could be. We helped him understand that she didn't mean to, that she was just learning. But then...it happened. One day he reacted with a screech. She LOVED it. Chaos ensued. And the phrase "MAGGIENOOOOOOOOOOOOO" was born.
It was his sounding alarm of sorts. A way to let us know that she was too near to his toy of choice. I'd rush into the room with my dish soap hands and defuse the situation. She'd have this devilish little smile on her 15-old-month face that was so darn irresistible. It was nearly impossible to stifle a giggle when I saw it. Strategies to help distract her would be given, hands would be taken, little sister would be led out of the room with promises of bubbly hands like Mama's. It would work. But then...
She craved his reaction. No matter how much I did to give him his alone time, she's find a way in there to him. He was like a magnet. She couldn't help herself. Soon, just the sound of her little pitter patter coming down the hall would trigger his battle cry.
One particular day, after one too many of these screams, I said to him,
"Tuck, she's just trying to get your goat. The more you scream, the more she likes it. Remember, if you don't react to her, she'll get bored and leave."
A whole conversation occurred about what "trying to get your goat" meant. After the explanation, the phrase made him laugh.
Chris, who affectionately nicknamed Mags "Captain Destructo", worked hard to tame the beast, too. We actually ended up writing a story for the kids called Captain Destructo. We posted it on our podcast, Night Light Stories, thinking there were other families and siblings having the same issues that would be able to relate. You can hear it here.
After many weeks of this, one day I heard IT as I was putting laundry away. Tuck was using the strategies we had given him to apply in these "sister situations". Ignore her. Distract her. Get up, walk away, and come get Mama or Daddy. Play in the living room. Tell her no in a softer voice. Offer her another toy. Play WITH her. Lead her gently out of your room if one of us wasn't in there with you. Both kids were playing peacefully and so I said,
"Great job, guys. I LOVE how you are playing TOGETHER so nicely."
Tuck looked up at me, smiled and in his matter-of-fact tone said,
"She was trying to get my sheep, Mama, but I didn't let her."
Once I realized what he was trying to say, there was no holding back my laughter. I didn't even correct him. In fact, we added it to the many commonly used made-up phrases we have in our house.
Sheep are much sweeter than goats anyway.
|Photo taken November 2009|
Do you have any made up phrases that you use in your household?
Feel free to share in the comments!