The Kids in 1999


They once were small, but how they’re bigger.  They were once Californians, but now they are NYers.  Yesterday we went to Astoria Pool and in the evening to Flushing Meadow Park to play Miniature Golf.  The US Open didn’t bother us much and the kids had a great time all day.  (Shoot, they even wanted to wait to get home to eat after each excursion!)  It was  a GREAT Queens Family Day!

We were looking through Mason’s baby book and an e-mail that I wrote when he was about 3 came out, and I liked it.  So here it is since I’ve been enjoying Astoria Moms so much, I thought I’d get back into the family reflections business.

Mason has turned into a little boy while we weren’t looking.  I mean, we knew he was biologically a boy.  And since the trains and trucks we bought
Chandler had laid fallow until Mason walked upright and joined the species we had an inkling of what gender means, really. But, about six months ago the kids went to a well endowed birthday party with a swashbuckling theme for one of the little boys in the courtyard.  They were each awarded hollow plastic scimitars to wear on their belts and take home.  Mason, about once a week will un-sheath his sword and wreak havoc. The first few cuts will be at one of us, though he quickly settles down to assault the furniture when his sword privileges are threatened.  But the most disturbing thing is when he just points it at you and says “F’SHIEU–Fire…F’SHIEU—Poison…” in a voice that is as cute as it is menacing.  It is a low gravelly incantation or malediction that is more worthy of Christopher Walken than Christopher Robin that Mason threatens us with. 

So I’ll be sitting on the couch reading the paper when I’ll hear “F’SHIEU–Fire… F’SHIEU–Poison!”  I’ll lower my paternal isolation device (The New York Times) and find myself facing the business end of my son’s curved scimitar.

“I shot you with poison and fire Daddy” will be his juvenile lisp. Mason’s position is usually a perfect fencing stance; left hand up, sword fully extended, feet pointing out, knees bowed.  “I shot you with Poison and Fire ‘F’SHIEU-Poison… F’SHIEU–Fire..'” he’ll re-emphasize with the slightest quaver of his sword now inches from my face above the lowered paternal isolation device after his deft balletic leap forward.

MY naive response is to point my hands at him and say “F’SHIEU—LOVE… F’SHIEU—Peace!”  And the Smile Mason gets once I engage him in this game is magnificent.  The whole room lights up brighter than a light-saber.  We’ll swap F’SHIEU’s back-and-forth for a while and then he’ll let me know that peace and love are inferior to poison and fire.  By this time, in his mind, I have been savaged.  Laid to waste by a steady stream of fire and poison.

Now Mason knows that this upsets Chandler to no end.  And he exploits this little gem of intellegence often.  Chandler will be working on a “project” with paper, tape and markers (Chandler is quite the artist!).  So up will come Mason our superhero-buccaneer and shoot her with poison and fire.  The calculated response is invariable: tears.  Chandler, at this point comes running to us for succor, but if we’re not about woe be unto Mason.  Chandler can hit with the best of them, and when Mason has no sword he is no match for her.  She’ll grab the sword, disarming Mason and then set on him with her fingernails pinching and scratching his arms mercilessly.  Truly “hell hath no fury…”


4 responses to “The Kids in 1999

  1. the mange event

    Kids growing up, it’s so bittersweet.

    When my oldest daughter turned 15 the other day, I dug out this journal I wrote for her when I was pregnant… how MUCH things have changed in the world, perceptions, circumstances.

    btw, Western Queens, like New York, huh… dude, that’s cool. Representing the Pacific NW here for ya, 😀 , nice to meet you.

    ps – better NY than CA anyday…

  2. Yeah, The Kids are not sold on NYC, but they’re growing well and in good ways. We had it good in Grad School, but that gravy-train had to derail eventually.
    When 9/11 befell us we were pregnant with thing 3 and I still worry about the world she’ll inherit. Thank Goodness Gracious L. is here though. Part of me wishes that I could always have one little one to watch, cherish, love and cure, but growing up is better.

  3. As an adult I can’t imagine an abrupt transition between NY & CA… as a kid I imagine it’s a pretty traumatic experience.

    In my late teens I moved a fair amount around the country, but ya know, it was of my own volition. Add to that zero kids & it’s a whole different genus.

    Especially THESE days… it must have been a horrifying experience to be in the position of expecting a child in the midst of such immense uncertainty.

    I agree with you in that diving into nurturing is sweet, but it’s also deceptively comforting. Kids, ultimately, are individuals, no matter what values + ethics you try to instill. And when they let you down with their decisions, which they will, it’s crushing.

    I dunno if it’ll help you at all, but I find all the crap MUCH easier if I breathe and just try to live. You can perish & leave a whole mess of hurt or you can live and at least know that there’s some measure of your that being tried…

    I’m just saying this because you sound distressed. Perhaps depressed. Stressed, ok, add an -ed to to a negative adjective & that’s about what I’m mulling over. 😀

    be cool & hang in there WesternQ.

  4. WQ,
    I’ve been a mom for only 3 years and watching videos of my now 3 year-old from last summer (before I cut his hair! still with chubby baby cheeks!) kills me. My 5 month-old grew out of some super cute baby clothes and I almost cried knowing that this is the last baby (well, I’d like to think so) and that this is the last time he’ll be this small, in these little clothes that I’ll soon give away.

    I love reading your remembrances of your kids….I must get prepared for the “battles” that are sure to brew between my boys (hopefully the “poison” and “fire” remain pretend!)

    and thanks to your shout out to our blog!

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