Off to the races

By Mir
March 2, 2007

After spending most of the day a the aquarium, when we returned home it seemed like we needed a little Outdoor Time. Unlike yesterday, today was sunny and mild and gorgeous.

First we all played bocce for a while. What is bocce, you ask? I have no idea. I think Otto made it up. But he had this big bag of colored balls and insisted this was a real game, throwing them at a small white ball and screaming loudly. Oh, wait. I think the kids may have added the screaming loudly part.

When bocce wore thin, the kids insisted they wanted to play tag. This consisted mostly of them clinging to me like spider monkeys, insisting that I was “base” and that their sibling was ‘it” and they were “safe.” At one point Monkey was trying to get Chickadee and she was hanging on me. Otto whispered to me, and when Monkey was mid-countdown (of how long Chickadee got to stay safe), he and I ran off, leaving her baseless. Because we’re mean that way.

Somehow the various tag wars devolved into a series of races. Otto’s backyard has a pole at the far corner, suitable for a sprint down and back (go ’round the pole!), and at first the children were content to race each other. Later they insisted that Otto and I run as well, which was a problem. First of all, we are old. Second, we are unmotivated. And last but not least, I’m asthmatic. Yeah. That went well.

Otto and I each ran a race before the kids decided they were really better off without us. We then contented ourselves with regulating their races.

Given the directive to run down to the pole, circle it, and come back, Chickadee will… run down to the pole, circle it, and come back. She may be oppositional when it comes to EVERYTHING ELSE IN THE WORLD, but she can follow sprint directions.

Given the directive to run down to the pole, circle it, and come back, Monkey will… run towards the pole in loopy zigzag patterns, laughing hysterically the entire way, and then… throw a shoe. It’s like he’s a old horse. Every single time, he’d be mid-race, and maybe even winning, and suddenly he’d be hopping around waving a socked foot in the air.

Georgia mud is a new concept for them, but this was still a bit much. Fortunately, he seemed to really be enjoying himself.

I took to post-race interviews with my imaginary microphone.

Me: Chickadee Rose Lastname, you’ve just won an amazing race! How do you feel?
Chickadee: Great! But sort of sweaty.
Me: What do you think about the unprecedented problems experienced by your colleague during the race?
Chickadee: Huh?
Me: The shoe problem, what did you think about that?
Chickadee: I think he forgot to fasten them before the race.
Me: And Monkey Matthias Lastname, you suffered a crushing blow mid-race, becoming unexpectedly disqualified due to a wardrobe malfunction. How are you feeling right now?
Monkey: My sock is dirty!
Me: Can you tell us, will you be changing your strategy for the next race?
Monkey: Yes! Next time I will be putting duct tape around my shoes to keep them on my feet.
Me: Thank you so much for speaking with us today. Good luck to both of you in your careers.


  1. Mom2One

    Dear Mir,

    You make me laugh.

    Thank you,
    Your Friend :)

  2. carolyn

    I love fun stuff like that.

  3. bob

    1) it’s CLAY, not mud.
    2) it only counts as a wardrobe malfunction if your mom is embarrassed about what was exposed to the public, not if it only presents a laundry challenge.

    Sounds like a good time was had by all.

    didja see me waving?

  4. jess


    Bocceball? Not you too! What have the men in our lives gotten us into? The first time I met my husband’s parents, they all got me to play this weird game, one I’d never heard of either. I’m assured up here (in Minnesota, where it’s apparently well known: I’m from somewhere else in the country other than my hubby, too) that it is a really fun game and that tons of people know about it. I have seen it mentioned on an episode of Stargate SG-1. But that was by Richard Dean Anderson–who’s from Minnesota, too. I didn’t realize it’d spread to the lower regions of the U.S. as well. It must’ve skipped my neck of the woods.

    And I about fell of the chair at the “…and then…throw a shoe. It’s like he’s a old horse” comment. I don’t have any clue why that struck me so, but it made me laugh quite hysterically myself.


  5. Cele

    Bocce ball, wow some parks have bocce ball courts. My second husband use to play bocce – but he’s Italian so I think it’s an inherited talent. I had fun, but I was too good at it.

  6. Heather

    Ah, bocce. A game best enjoyed in a ridiculously hilly backyard beside a river. (No, seriously. That’s where I usually end up playing.)
    Love your sense of humour, miss Mir.

  7. Brigitte

    I guess there were a lot of old Italian grampas near where I grew up, there were even public bocce courts in their neighborhood.

    My 27-month old daughter is always exhorting me to (shudder) EXERCISE too, and I have to do a little bit despite my oldness and fatness to set a good example. She says “Stand up please. Up! Up! Up!” Will she be an aerobics teacher when she grows up?

  8. MomCat

    It’s wonderful to laugh first thing in the morning. Thanks, Mir! :) Those are the best kind of memories. (Be sure to frame the sock!)

  9. Terri

    What did you think of the Aquarium? And at least the weather is turning around for you guys. Enjoy the rest of your weekend! I’m assuming it will include the kids’ introduction to Mellow Mushroom…. :)

  10. Ani

    Beware Georgia red mud on white socks. It will NOT come off.

    Welcome to better weather!

  11. Sara

    I love bocce. I’m horrible at it, but I have a blast when I play. My kids love it too. They enjoy the chase and skill. I enjoy the glass of wine I have when I play it.
    Oh! Otto just sealed his place in my heart by whispering that you should run when you were base. That’s my kinda fun. I guess I’m just a big ol’ meanie too.

  12. tori

    Is your future husband Italian? My husbands family always plays Bocce ball and I had never heard of it before I met him. We grew up just a few towns apart, so I highly doubt it is a geographical thing. We finally bought our own light up Bocce ball set for the summer. It seemed like a great idea except in the summer it gets dark so late that the kids “have to” stay up way too late in order to play with the light up balls. It’s fun anyway. I’m glad you are all having a great time! Maybe I will play hookie from all my weekend chores and go to the aquarium since it is way too cold here for Bocce ball.

  13. Melanie Marie

    Bocce ball is safe, at least he didn’t try to make you play ‘corn-hole’. I am so NOT kidding about the name! It makes me ashamed to be from the north.

  14. anna

    Get that girl on a track team, stat.

  15. ScottsdaleGirl

    HAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAH! “wardrobe malfunction” *snickers*

    And as a former girl, I would say that the following of direction was directly correlated to WINNING.

  16. Woman with Kids

    That’s how Boy 2 does things… the long, windy, longest way possible, preferably while looking at the scenery and not where he’s going. Makes it fun to take out in public, no?

  17. chris

    That is funny. Bocce is a real game, but I thought only old italian men played it. Is otto an old italian man?

    Glad the weather has cleared up for you. But I miss you. This visitng Otto has really cut into the time spent chatting with *me* Not sure this is going to work out ;-)

  18. Homemom3

    I’m not sure what side of the states you are on but here in NC we’ve played that game. Yes, my kids scream as well. We learned about this game at Tyron Palace (fun learning place for kids and historical site for adults) and love playing it now.

  19. Buffy

    Still trying to picture bocce.

  20. TSM-terrifically superiorily mediocre

    Never trust a man with a big bag of colored balls.

    Actually, bocce is way fun, and my husband intro’d me to it a few years ago. I, too, thought he made it up, because he was the only person any GOOD at it.

    Hope you’re enjoying your trip!

  21. Ben

    I think they played Bocce in Star Wars.

  22. Brown Eyed Girl

    Children if are nothing else…the best entertainment there is.

    I’m glad you got a better day.

  23. Aimee

    *snort* Monkey as an old horse continually throwing shoes is the funniest thing I’ve heard in DAYS.

    Oh, and I stink at bocce. My husband’s Italian, and he grew up playing. Me? Not so much.

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