I call it!

I call left window! I call corner piece! Second pole position! First song! Second song!

We have this ritual at our house, the ritual of calling things. You know, like calling “shotgun” when you go for a car ride (we call that, too.) But there are rules involved. You can’t “call” certain things too preemptively. You have to be on the way to the car, or pretty close to being on the way to the car, which at times with a family of five can be as early as twenty-minutes out when we’re all standing around in the kitchen taking turns remembering all the things we forgot.

We call first song (the first song that plays when we clean up the dinner dishes) and where we want to sit on the couch if it’s a movie night. And the rule for these calls are, you can’t call either one until everyone is seated at the dinner table. This often startles our guests. As soon as the last person’s butt hits their chair (It’s usually my butt, but (get it?) it is often my husband’s), everyone shouts out their “call.” Oftentimes this ritual will cause the last person to the table to hover their butt over their chair, sometimes even doing a fake sit, to draw an offsides call. But it’s the simultaneous yelling of “First song! Second pole position!"(the choice seat on our L-shaped couch. Personally, I like third pole position, right next to corner piece (self-explanatory) but where I’m still able to put my feet up and reach my wineglass on the coffee table.)"Corner piece!" etc. that has many of our dinner guests frantically searching for explanation with their eyes. Or sometimes actually searching for the door, if it happens to be meatloaf night, too.

My daughter likes left window in the car. At first, this was a necessity since it was the only place she could sit without getting carsick. Arriving in the states at the age of ten, after only a few very rare car rides in Russia, motion sickness was a problem for her. Fortunately, she outgrew that, but not her love of left window. This often leads to comedy (well, we think it’s funny) when my tiny little daughter is seated at the left window and one of my enormous sons is squished into the middle seat. We call this “Squished uncomfortable position.” And sometimes, because my children enjoy irony as much as I do, they’ll call that position, too.

Our nutty rituals provide some order, a modicum of fairness (except for maybe that whole left window thing, but even that has gotten better since the kids have grown enough to be able to ride shotgun when only one parent is around) and I hope, a whole lot of fun memories. If anyone out there calls anything nuttier than “third pole position”, I’d love to hear about it. You may call us crazy; I won’t mind. Just remember, if you’re ever at my house for dinner, you have to be fast if you want First song.

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Filed under: Adoption, Family, Teenagers

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