Marry-land and Ill-annoy

Marryland and Illannoy
Marryland and Illannoy

Sunday was a looooong day in our house.

The day began fine. Riley and Veronica were off at soccer and Ryan and I camped out on the couch to watch Sunday NFL. But once we were all back together, things deteriorated quickly. The kids were picking at each other like a scab, ignoring frequent requests to stop.

In fact, anything that was asked of either of them was ignored, leaded to much shouting and overreactions from everyone, myself included. If you ask Veronica, she might say me most of all. It was just one of those afternoons where things built up and ultimately spilled over. I was tired of being ignored, tired of having to raise my voice to get anyone to pay attention to me, tired of Ryan’s mis-timed attempts at sarcasm and humor, tired of him asking me every time I raised my voice, “why are you speaking so sharply?”

By bedtime, I was in need of a break. We both have these days once in a while, and when we do, Veronica and I try to prop each other up. If one of us is getting particularly annoyed, the other will step in to cool things off.

As bedtime approached, Veronica suggested I stay downstairs while she read to the kids. She feared another escalation because I was still in a sour mood. But I waved her off. We’re still reading the new Diary of a Wimpy Kid title, and I remembered Ryan’s waves of laughter the night we started the book. I needed to hear it again.

Reading began without incident. Pretty soon, my lousy mood lifted as both kids listened attentively and Ryan bellowed with laughter at the story of Greg Heffley attempting to find a date for his Valentine’s Day dance. This was just the medicine I needed.

Without offering spoilers, in the latest installment of the Wimpy Kid series, Greg spends an awful lot of time thinking about, and trying to gain the attention of, girls. Even though he finds the book hilarious, Ryan makes it very clear that he does not share Greg’s interests. I worry that he might lose interest in the book, but he hasn’t so far.

Still, at one point when the book was all about girlfriends and dates and dances, Ryan declared his frustration.

“Oh, these people should all live in MARRY-land if they’re so interested in girls!”

I laughed. I asked him to repeat himself. I wanted to make sure he was making an intentional pun with the name of the state. He was. I gave him credit for making an excellent joke.

I also recalled another time he had done something similar.

Ryan was perhaps six or seven, and we were visiting family in the midwest. We took a day trip to Illinois and Ryan was behaving miserably. Acting up, talking back, being disruptive in a restaurant, all making for a very trying day.

We asked him repeatedly what had gotten into him. He finally provided an answer.

After one last prodding, I saw his eyes light up every time they do when he knows he is about to say something funny.

“I’m being annoying because we’re in Ill-ANNOY!” he declared.

That was the last time we asked him about his behavior that day.

That’s my son — lightening my lousy moods one state at a time.

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