Training Day

Several mornings ago, I awoke to crashing followed by screaming followed by "what are you doing!? You're ruining my bridge! No! That's supposed to... Stop! I just-- Give it back. I was almost... Archer! Look! I-- You're breaking it! I'm trying to--"

Archer was laughing. Cracking up, more like, with the demonic little giggle he gets when he's pissing me or his dad off.

Hal was not amused. I could tell by his "No! Stop! No! You...!!!"

When I made it out to the living room, Archer and Hal were sprawled across the floor, Hal's head in his hands as Archer, one by one, knocked over every single bridge.

"Uh-oh," he said. "Uh, oh. Oh no!"

"Archer," Hal tried to reason. "Can you please stop knocking all the bridges down. Don't you want a track you can play with your trains on? One with great impressive bridges?"

Archer was laughing again.

"What are you guys doing?" I finally asked.

"Archer keeps breaking my bridges!"

Hal was hunched over, frustrated and defeated. I realized this would be good practice or me, you know, for double-motherhood, so I gave Hal a pat on the shoulder and asked Archer if he would please play nicely with Hal (ed: Archer still calls Hal "Hal" and not Daddy. We've given up on trying to convince him otherwise.)

Archer was giggling manically again as Hal proceeded to rebuild his smashed empire. I knew it would end badly, so I asked Hal if he wouldn't mind making me some tea.

"Or better yet, how about you take the dogs for a walk, you know, let me take over."

"Fine! But don't waste your time trying to build an extension bridge. He'll only knock it over and laugh!"

"Okay. No extension bridge. Got it."

Hal surveyed the wreckage before shaking his head and leashing the dogs. Meanwhile I made myself comfortable next to Archer and his mine-field of a train set.

"Can mommy play?"

"Okaaaay," Archer said, grinning.

I proceeded to continue where Hal left off. Except for some reason... the bridges. The bridges! They seemed to be calling out to me, whispering, pleading, "build me! BUILD ME! Build me tall and strong!"

I rebuilt the bridges, straightened the tracks until voila! The train was constructed, nary a missing piece.

And then? Then... Archer stood up and with a giant karate kick, shattered my every dream.

"No, Archer! Noooooooooooooo..."

"Hahahahahahahahahahaha BYEBYE TRAIN! Hahahahahahahaah."

"Please, no! Oh, God! It's.... Just.... ARCHER, NOOOOOOOO!"

By the time Hal came back from walking the dogs, I was practically in tears.

"He ruined it! You should have seen it! It was perfect and he BROKE IT! I even got the extension bridge back up and everything..." Now I was hunched over, frustrated and defeated.

Hal realized this would be good practice for him, as a future father of two, so he gave Archer's little shoulders a squeeze.

"I'll take it from here," he said.

Moments later, Archer was at the table eating his breakfast, reading Green Eggs and Ham, while Hal and I put the finishing touches on our double decker bridge.




motherbumper | 6:28 PM

Oh thank you Rebecca for making me laugh today. And at least I know I'm not alone in experiencing the GAH! factor when it comes to how B uses certain toys (when I'm enjoying them too). Kids!

(does Hal ever feel like Homer with the addressing by first name thing?)


Poor Hal. All he wants in the world is for Archer to call him Daddy. What's weird is that I barely even call Hal "Hal"... it's usually some nickname or some kind. At Archer doesn't call him "uncle Hal"... That would be awkward.

Anonymous | 7:24 PM

This is why I don't play with my children. I will sit next to them or talk to them while they are playing, but I will not get involved.

The girl has a ton of rules that forever changing and there is no rhyme or reason. And the boy...oh the boy. Exactly, what you have describe. And that is too much drama for this mama.

Stimey | 8:30 PM

Oh, this was funny. It kills me when my kids rip up my beautiful train track city too.

My youngest starting calling my husband by his first name a while back. I thought it was hilarious. Now he gets to be daddy again and the kid has taken to calling me by my first name.

It's far less funny now.

Elissa L. | 8:52 AM

that made me giggle.way to familar to us.

Mom101 | 1:30 PM

Go figure, he's acting like a toddler. What do you know!

Anonymous | 6:49 PM

Come on, baby girl. Take a block from the middle and then put it on top...

No. From the middle. Middle.

One block.


Jaelithe | 10:26 PM

Ah, a beautiful post.

Anonymous | 8:49 AM

We used to live in the country. Down the road from us lived a family with many, many children. There were so many we were never able to make an exact count. One of the little boys, I kid you not, called the man of the house "Uncle Daddy."

--Mother of 2.2

Anonymous | 9:36 AM

why didn't you put him in his room or otherwise take him away from the train table for not listening to you?


Uh... because the train is HIS toy. I would never scold my child for not "playing with his toys correctly."

Anonymous | 1:57 PM

Oh. Well you could have stated that in your story instead of initially deleting my first comment, and now implying I should have known this. You made it seem like it was Hal's toy.


I think maybe you mis-posted... There was no previous comment. I rarely delete comments and only do so when confronted with hate/slander/racism/ etc. The only post I've had to delete comments from in the last several months was my political Obama post, which I made note of deletions and closed comments.

Maternal Mirth | 3:10 PM

Wouldn't it be wonderful if everyone played nice? If you could just hand everyone a Dr. Suess book and be done with them??


kittenpie | 4:30 PM

Any kind of blocks or structure is for knocking over with a great crash, isn't it? They are like tiny, gleeful Godzillas. Of course, it IS awfully satisfying when you aren't wedded to your design - try it some time! | 5:38 PM

I can't recommend the book Siblings Without Rivalry enough.

It is solely responsible for getting my husband to play nice with the other kids, lol.

Tiffany | 2:41 PM

At that age they have no love for art! hahaha.

Great story.

gwendomama | 10:16 AM

you know, it's one thing to hang around lurking in my living room as we whine about our train bridge crasher. but another entirely to write about it! whoa girl, you got it all right on.

caramama | 10:08 AM

But that's the best part of building the bridges! Knocking them down! I'm afraid I'm with Archer on this one. ;-)