Memorials, and robot kitties

By Mir
July 8, 2009

You know your vacation was just the right length when you’ve had an absolute blast, but are starting to daydream about sleeping at home in your own bed. (Not that the camper bed isn’t also our own bed. But it’s just not the same. At home, there are hardly ever screaming children or motorcycle dudes with mullets directly under our window at 10:00 at night.) I plan to fall backwards onto our bed later today after we arrive home and make a snow angel. Er, blanket angel.

The camping itself has been hugely entertaining, but I was not prepared for how interesting I would find Gettysburg. Otto is a history buff, and more specifically, a war history buff. I watched Band of Brothers with him over the course of a month or two and spent most of it peeking through my fingers and asking, “Is everyone dead now?” I mostly just find it disturbing. But it’s hard to be unmoved when surrounded by all that history in one place. Even for me.

And the day got even MORE interesting when we were joined by Amy-Go!

Long-time readers will remember that we first met Amy-Go and her brood a couple of years ago at Joshilyn‘s house. That was a day of complete mayhem; we had JUST picked up the kids at the airport, they’d been in Georgia for all of a couple of days, and I promptly took them to a house overflowing with children and food and exuberance. I suspect my kids were a wee bit overwhelmed, at the time, and may not have even talked to Amy’s boys.

But—as luck would have it—Amy-Go and the boys were up in Pennsylvania and we were able to meet up with them at lunchtime and spend the afternoon together. So we spent the morning in the Military Museum (marveling over all sorts of things, though I’d have to say my favorite was the Cyclorama, not the least of which because the restoration story is fascinating), and then had lunch with Amy and her boys and headed off on a bus tour together.

[At one point during lunch, as Amy begged and cajoled and threatened in an effort to get her youngest to sit down and eat, she finally said to him: “You won’t understand what I’m going to say, but I’ll warn you anyway. YOU ARE ABOUT TO BECOME BLOG FODDER.” This is known as foreshadowing.]

When we first met, years ago, I somehow failed to notice that Amy’s oldest is Chickadee’s age and her middle son is just about Monkey’s age. That was terribly convenient. (Although it did take half the afternoon for Chickadee to work up to speaking to her counterpart, as she is often shy with new people. Fortunately, as Amy’s son is male, he neither seemed to notice nor mind.) So the older kids paired off and that left us with her youngest, who is now four.

Amy’s youngest child is the devil. Still. (I think I noticed this when we first met. But assumed it was because he was two.)

The devil doesn’t appear looking all fanged and fiery, you know. He appears as a tow-headed cherub with bright blue eyes and long eyelashes, and just as you’re starting to think about tousling his hair or maybe even nibbling on his cheek, he starts singing loudly about how you should SHUT UP SHUT UP, or he begins kicking the seat in front of him with a religious fervor, or you get off the bus and stand around listening to the tour guide describe the massive casualties of the battle that happened right on this spot while said devil/child runs over to the sharp drop-off and attempts to hurl himself over the cliff.

It was entertaining. And also an excellent workout.

After one stop, Amy whisked him away for a few minutes; he later trooped back onto the bus and turned to face me solemnly. “I got a spanking,” he said, sounding morose.

“You did?” I asked. He nodded, eyes wide and slightly moist. “I see,” I said. “So are you going to behave, now?”

He opened his mouth to answer, but then spotted something out the window. “HEY, LOOK!” he yelled. “Lookit that TREE!” He grinned and bounced in his seat, and Amy sighed and covered her face.

Like I said, it was entertaining!

After several hours spent trying to keep him from harming himself or others, we finished the bus tour and decided to head back to the cemetery so that the kids could walk/run and burn off some energy. That was a GREAT idea, except for one thing. There’s a big sign at the entrance to the cemetery that notes it to be sacred ground, and asks that visitors refrain from being loud or boisterous.


The older kids were great; Chickadee and Amy’s oldest wisely decided to pretend they didn’t know the rest of us, and walked all in and around the markers, discovering things like how many unknown soldiers are buried there and that sometimes people leave coins on the stones instead of flowers. Monkey and Amy’s middle boy walked and chatted and turned twigs into sword and muskets, but kept their voices down and enjoyed themselves.

Amy’s youngest decided to hold my hand—which surprised the heck out of me—and he skipped along beside me telling me that “I AM AN ALIEN CAT! I WILL BRING AN ARMY OF ROBOTS TO DESTROY YOU ALL!” We discussed whether the robots were cats or dogs (they’re cats) and why I needed to be destroyed (just because). Did you know that there are genuine civil war CANNONS placed in the cemetery? An did you know that four-year-olds are incapable of NOT climbing said cannons, especially if you ask them not to?

Amy-Go was delightful, as always. And she assured me that the day before as they’d driven all day, all three of her boys had been good as gold. “He just used up all of his good, yesterday,” she lamented. “I swear that sometimes he behaves!” I think she was going to say something else, but by then he’d tackled a very surprised Monkey to the ground and was sitting atop him, strangling one of his brothers, and Amy had to go break it up.

“I think that kid just tried to KILL ME,” huffed Monkey, brushing leaves and debris off his shorts.

“Well, on the up side, you’re still alive,” I assured him. I’m compassionate like that.

It was a delightful if completely exhausting day, and those of you who concluded that two scoops of ice cream trumps a waffle cone were absolutely correct. I think it’s probably particularly gratifying after nearly being beaten up by a four-year-old, too.

[Note: This entry is completely true. But I am pretty sure I am going to have to bake Amy-Go a pie after I hit “Publish.”]


  1. Tammy

    Amy’s “devil child” sounds like a typical 4 year old. Well, maybe a little above average in certain departments. ;) Sounds like you all had a great time!

  2. exile on mom street

    Misbehaving kids are so funny when they’re not yours!

  3. Sara

    My brother just discovered the same thing about my four year old. He’d tell me “She’s really cute. Nobody would ever think that she’s actually Beelzebub! It’s the eyes that fool you into a false sense of security. If you fall for it, you’re a goner.”
    Although I’m fairly certain that most 4 year olds qualify as Beelzebub’s apprentice…
    Sounds like you had a blast.

  4. bob

    “Fortunately, as Amy’s son is male….” I expect both Amy and her son are glad he is a male, as life as a female son (or a male daughter) would be hard – even in today’s tolerant world.

    Have you been to the Cyclorama at Grant Park, Atlanta? It’s adjacent to the Zoo. Neat stuff.

  5. Leandra

    Wow. I’m SO relieve to know that my four year old is not the only one. I call her my “spirited child” but somebody told me that’s parental code for Pain In the A**. Truer words have not been spoken.

    Glad you had a great time! I’ve never been to Gettysburg but had a similar experience in Vicksburg years ago. Oh! and welcome home! :)

  6. hokgardner

    I can so tell that my blue-eyed cherub of a two-year-old boy will be just like Amy-go’s youngest in two years. He’s already a devil in training, and he will be the death of me soon.

  7. annette


    I am greatly offended by the ice cream statement. Hey, even when I mathematically proved my theory, I left room for the two scoop people (out of charity, because, really, who in their right mind would forego the opportunity for waffle cone?) Just when I thought we were becoming friends…

  8. Lylah

    My youngest son is exactly how you describe Amy’s youngest. My husband says that if he had been our first child, he would have been an only (instead, he’s the last and the youngest of five).

    I was hoping some of his devilishness was from being 2, but I’m pretty sure it’s just who he is…

  9. Half Assed Kitchen

    Gettysburg is really interesting! Camping, however, I can do without.

  10. highlyirritable

    Ah, yes. The four year old boy. I have one of those. Wish I had read the fine print before committing. Alas, it is what it is, and truth be known, this species also has the amazing ability of displaying the most showering shows of true unabided affection of any others. Take pictures when they are sleeping, because it’s the only time they will stay still.

  11. MomCat

    The word my cousin uses for her 3 year old son is “challenging.” He’s Satan’s clone or perhaps Satan’s younger sib. My heart (but no, not my babysitting) goes out to those mothers. I’m spoiled with a well-behaved girl who will shortly, I’m sure, morph into Satania because of this.

  12. BethRD

    If it makes Monkey feel any better, my son nearly got killed by three miniature girls at a recent cookout at a friend’s house. He had climbed into a sleeping bag to see what it was like, and my daughter and the two cuties in the household piled on top of him and just about suffocated him. He was so alarmed we had to take him home and make absolute guarantees of his safety before he would agree to return for the 4th of July. At least Monkey’s near-death experience came at the hands of the devil, not tiny curly-haired moppets!

  13. Katie in MA

    That’s the mark of true friendship: hilarious honesty. :) That being said (and to use yesterday’s logic), two pies are better than one!

  14. Megan

    My devil child also had the innocent blue eyes of the congenitally evil and combined them with a rich chuckle to devastating effect. I am putting all that in the past tense out of sheer, unadulterated denial as said child is now 16 and has greatly expanded the scope of its wickedness. Example – two words: potato gun.

  15. Mary Fran

    I think it’s a function of birth order. My third (3 1/2 years old) is my worst offender as well. I have rules – like we don’t say “stupid” or “idiot”. To my youngest, apparently if you call someone a “Stupid Idiot” it doesn’t count. I feel her pain. And I believe her when she says he’s good sometimes. Mine surprises me with goodness every once in a while, too.

  16. meghann

    I think it’s a youngest child thing. My youngest (who is almost 3) is more “spirited” than the other three combined. She’s the one I found up on the kitchen table before she could even walk when she was a baby. She’s cute as all heck though.

  17. Kemi

    You are perfectly describing my three-year-old, who is also the devil child with cherubic looks. He wouldn’t think twice about tackling his 10-year-old brother, either, and does so on a regular basis.

    (What is it with these kids?)

    On the one hand, I’m happy to know I’m not alone in the whole “Rosemary’s Baby” thing, but on the other hand, I’m frightened for our future. There are just SO MANY of them who are the same age…

  18. Annette09

    I know the point of the story was about the devil child and behavior, but, as a fellow history nerd/buff, I wanted to highly recommend you and your family visit Arlington National Cemetery. Did you know this used to be the plantation of Gen. Robert E. Lee and was confiscated during the Civil War? Evidently I wasn’t enough of a history nerd/buff to know this. Anyway, notwithstanding the emotional changing of the guard at the tomb of the unknown soldier, the whole place was awe inspiring, and we could’ve spent several days there.

  19. mama speak

    The devil girl in our house has bluer than blue eyes, long dark curled lashes, curly hair and a dimple to top it off. As a true devil she a has followings where ever she goes; literal fan clubs in fact. She has a dimple & isn’t afraid to use it. The cuter they are, that more scared you should be; trust me.

    This devil army is really fun as long as you are not the person in charge. I believe they will be a generation who will make great changes in great ways.

  20. Scottsdale Girl

    hahahahahahaha!!!!! I just love other people’s kids. Really.

  21. Monique

    Mama speak, you scare me. I have a 9 month old son who EVERYONE thinks is a girl due to the curly hair, big dark eyes, dimple, LONG eyelashes and permanent smile on his face, (you know, your basic cutest baby ever). When shall I expect the transformation?

  22. Jen B

    i can’t believe it – we were in Gettysburg, CAMPING, about 10 days ago. we missed you by a WEEK. ugh … LOL

    well, maybe this august when we’re in GA ;)

  23. Amy-Go

    Not only is this entire entry true, Mir is being unbelievably kind. Sammy’s behavior was ATROCIOUS. I spent most of the day wanting to eat him alive. On a cracker. And he was utterly unrepentant. Also, within one minute of leaving Mir and her family, he was angelically sleeping (meaning he missed the last twenty-nine minutes of the lecture I was giving him). Not only am I certain that Mir didn’t believe me when I claimed he can behave, I am positive that no one in her family will EVER agree to spend the day in his presence again. And I don’t blame them! The devil? Please. The devil would get his butt handed to him by Sammy.
    Woman, it is me who owes YOU a Pie. Which I will ship. Because God knows you are never inviting us to your house!

  24. Angela

    You never, ever forgo the waffle cone. That’s just the golden rule of good ice cream eating.

  25. MaryP

    Mwah-ha. I scrolled down through all the comments, waiting for Amy-Go’s. And there it is. I think there’s a lot of pie about to go round between you guys. Question is, will Sammy get any?

  26. Amy-Go

    Demons get no Pie, Mary P. Just lots of Benadryl.

  27. C~

    LOL As usual, Mir, you make me so happy mine are grown and out of the house.

    Also wanted to point out, that Mir is famous. Because you are surely famous when you make lolcat status.

  28. Danielle-Lee

    Typical 4 year old. I’ve got one of my own, and I want to rip my hair out about 4897 times a day.

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