There’s quite a bit of sibling adjustment happening ’round here. The kids have missed each other so much—more than I think either of them realized—but both have grown somewhat used to being the only kid in the house, and so we are seeing some natural jockeying for position now that they’re together again.
For Monkey’s part, I think he has blossomed in his sister’s absence; he is the beta to her alpha, and with alpha absent, beta has discovered that he can monopolize the conversation if he feels like it (neat!). He is much more assertive now than he was when she left, and Chickadee finds herself a little puzzled as to why she cannot just steamroll over him at the dinner table the way she used to. She is also finding that he’s more entertaining than she remembers; whether this is due to absence making the heart grow fonder, Monkey now being a fellow teenager, or Chickie being more tolerant (or some combination thereof), I have no idea. But I’ll take it.
What has NOT changed is this family’s penchant for 1) being inappropriate and 2) torturing each other. Um. Yay?
Monkey’s newest and most ardent love is Dungeons & Dragons. There’s a small group of nerdlings at Hippie School who play together, and for a while there, they had a college student who came in once a week to run campaigns for them, and that was ZOMG THE GREATEST, because he’s in COLLEGE, MOM, and HE KNOWS DRAGON STUFF. Unfortunately this Nerd Sensei has a schedule this semester which does not accommodate their weekly lunchtime game, and LO, A SADNESS FELL UPON THE LAND.
But my boy is nothing if not a problem solver: He decided he would take up the fine art of DMing (that’s Dungeon Mastering, or being the guy who runs the game) so that the group could continue to play. This means that although Monkey attends Hippie School 3 days/week and is taking classes online in addition to that, he now spends roughly 90% of his time planning campaigns. Because: PRIORITIES.
This also means that a significant portion of dinner every night is now dedicated to Monkey detailing various traps, monsters, and quest details with a high degree of glee and self-satisfaction. Because he takes this job SERIOUSLY and he is VERY CLEVER and because we love him, we try really hard to stay awake while he explains everything.
Well, Otto and I do. Chickadee tries to find ways to drive him insane. Stick to your strengths, after all!
A few nights ago he was just BURSTING to explain to us that he’s invented a new monster that will play a pivotal role in the next campaign. NO ONE HAS EVER INVENTED ONE BEFORE, he told us. Were we ready for this brilliance? REALLY READY? Check it: It’s an octoplatypus. Part octopus, part platypus.
Otto and I made the mistake of trying to be logical. Wouldn’t the platypus part drown in the deep sea, and the octopus part dry up and die on the land? How does this work? DOESN’T IT LOOK REALLY CREEPY? It was a good-natured discussion, though it was apparent that Monkey was losing patience with us and our lack of imagination.
Chickadee listened carefully, finally offering only this: “If it’s a combination of an octopus and a platypus, the name is wrong. You should call it an octoplatypuspus.”
Monkey was horrified. “IT IS AN OCTOPLATYPUS.”
“Puss,” Chickie added, quietly.
“NO,” he said. “That is DUMB. It’s an OCTOPLATYPUS.”
“Puss,” Chickie echoed, louder this time.
(Gosh, who could’ve seen THIS coming?)
Monkey attempted to continue with his story (because there’s a chamber! with two doors! and you have to roll a D20 to somethingorother whatsis!) without naming the creature very often, but every time he DID say “octoplatypus” there was a distinct “puss!” echo from across the table.
He tried to stay mad, but it really was funny. The more agitated he became, the greater glee his sister took in interjecting “PUSS!” at every appropriate juncture.
Finally, Otto cleared his throat. “Chickadee,” he said, sternly. “Stop it. I want to hear him say it and YOU DON’T SAY ANYTHING AFTER. Okay?”
Monkey declared, “OCTOPLATYPUS!”
“E is my favorite letter,” said Otto.
There was a pause, then three of us burst into laughter. “THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID!” gasped Chickie.
“I don’t get it,” said Monkey. Eventually I explained that “pussy” is sometimes used as slang for “vagina.” (And just in case you’re wondering, yes, that DID make me the villain of this scenario, somehow.)
“YOU ARE ALL VERY INAPPROPRIATE!” my son exclaimed. He was not wrong. Eventually we adults found our composure and explained that okay, we were all going to be appropriate, now.
But somehow, the octoplatypus(pus) is now living on in infamy. At random points throughout the day, one family member will say something—anything, really—and be followed by a quiet “puss!” from another family member. If that doesn’t evoke an appreciative snicker, someone else will add “that’s what she said.” It’s out of control.
“Puss” is the new family “gorgonzola.” I’ve got to find a way to make this stoppus.