Looking for Bugs

September 14, 2011 at 1:36 pm (Uncategorized)

My kids have been playing Slug Bug incessantly since they learned it at Summer Camp. Why yes, it’s as annoying as it sounds. We play International Federation Rules: when they see one, they put their hands on the ceiling and call “Slug Bug on ____”. I have a WISE camp counselor to thank for that.

Talking through the rules, refereeing fights about who saw one first, and comforting Greta when she gets “slugged”, all while operating a potentially lethal object? Oh yes, I love it. They do abide by Mom-imposed Slug Bug black-outs, but then they’re back at it.

Yesterday I was Slugged* 18 times on the way to school. Eighteen, I thought! How could there be 18 Bugs just getting to school? Either:

1) We drive by a VW dealership. No.

2) We were driving past a group on their way to a NW Beetle Convention. No.

3) Our morning drop-off circle is way too (*@ long. Well, yes. I just Google-mapped it at 13.8 miles. We all 5 pile out to drop off Willa, and all 4 pile out to drop off Greta, and sometimes 3 of us pile out again to get coffee, and 2 jump out at the curb at elementary school, and finally lonely me walks into work. But also…

4) My children are really good at finding things. I will choose to believe 4 .

Children have a way of focusing singularly on looking, without their minds wandering to “what should we have for dinner?” and “don’t forget to call so-and-so”. Before he was 2, Auden had $29 in his savings account that he “earned” himself. He found it in three separate incidents on park outings with his dad. I love remembering that about him, not because it was so cool he found money, but because he was so proud to find something he knew his dad valued. He was just as proud to point out aluminum cans on their walks (which Mark picks up and recycles). These days it’s VW Bugs. In the recent past, it’s been bald eagles and license plates.

As adults, we’d be better off spending more time looking and less time doing.

Greta is getting better at finding Bugs first. To her advantage, she’s closer to the front of the car. When she sees one first, oh how she giggles with glee! I love that newly four year-old giggle! She wants SO much to be first in life, after spending four years mostly in third. She runs ahead to be first everywhere we go. And she is Crushed when she’s not. Crushed with a capital C because that disappointment, and the crying and frustration that goes with it, it stops everybody’s day in its tracks.

I don’t always hate Slug Bug. I do play sometimes. Unsurprisingly, they’re much better at it than me.

But yesterday while we read Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing? Parker asked me what “slug” (as a verb) means. [Sidenote: I have to say, I remember that book as much funnier than it is. I realize the whole premise is that Peter’s brother Fudge is an annoying pest to have around, but I recalled it being more about his laughable antics than about the older brother getting away with telling him to Shut Up and the mother being a total push-over for allowing both kids’ behavior. Perhaps I should stop re-reading books from my childhood and ruining them for myself.] “What?” I asked. “You’ve been playing Slug Bug all summer. You know what “Slug” means.” But he didn’t.

I realized, this whole time, they haven’t even known what the “Slug” in Slug Bug meant, or that the “traditional” method of Slug Bug involves hitting. Isn’t that ten kinds of awesome?

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