Anatomy of a Fight

The Scene: Skokie Northshore Sculpture Park
The Date: June 17, 2005
The Occasion: A picnic and photo session
The People: Melisa, Julesie, and the two boys (Older boy being days away from 13; younger boy being 10)

This park is chock-full of interesting sculptures in all shapes, sizes, and materials. We thought it would be fun to make the drive up to see it and enjoy a picnic. And it was. Two specific memories from that day stand out in my mind; one is the inaugural use of the phrase “Gotta pee pee at the BP, coined by Julesie. (EDITED: I stand corrected: it was “I gotta TEE TEE at the BP.” I’m old.) The other? The fight.

It started innocently enough; we were all taking turns posing on and near various sculptures:

And then we came upon a sculpture that was large enough for several people, but apparently only one boy.

A shoving match ensued:

The older boy, victorious, claimed his territory.

The younger boy got teary-eyed:

…and then went in for the retaliation. If you click on the photo to make it larger, you can see the blotchy nature of the younger boy’s face as he, smiling, hops onto his brother’s back. The older boy, well, he’s just pissed off:

As I approached the older boy to chat with him about what was happening, he decided to get all anti-paparazzi:

In the meantime, the younger boy moved on to bigger and better sculptures, working on his acting skills which might someday earn him an Oscar.

And the older boy, approaching puberty like a runaway train, stepped away from the rest of us to contemplate how much his life was sucking at that moment.

And still, the younger boy posed.

At the end of his rope and not understanding why his mother wouldn’t put down the camera, the older boy couldn’t take it anymore.

And then, finally, when almost all hope was lost, he was ready to talk about it.

And we were able to go on with our day.


What do I want you to take away from this post? The idea that not all childhood photos should be of the smiling, happy variety. I mean really, you can get a great memory flash in your brain by looking at a photo of a smiling kid, but it’s the stories behind the not-so-happy photos that tell some pretty entertaining stories. (Obviously if anyone is in danger, I would follow the advice of Tom Bergeron and Bob Saget before him: PUT THE CAMERA DOWN!)



  • devilish southern belle

    How very like boys! Mine are 15 and 14, and I have had very similar experiences at different times throughout their lives. I actually have a photo of my youngest one really pitching a fit at a lake outing when we were younger. Mouth wide open from screaming in rage, eyes shut, face red….the works. And they say girls are dramatic!

  • House of Jules

    Man, they were so little then! I think I was still taller at that point. The dramatics! So great. Oh, and it was “I gotta tee tee at the BP”, said in a fake southern accent… which is what will happen when you really gotta go. Southern accents all-around!

  • Michelle

    Oh. You mean like how we got home a bit late (7pm btw) from a party and while putting shoes away Mister Man punched Little Miss in the face? Yeah… except I didn’t have the camera out in time for that one. Darn! 😉

    I drove by that sculpture garden today on my way home from the NU game!

  • Melisa

    Melissa: Yeah, three years AND puberty. 🙂

    DSB: I would LOVE to see that photo! I also have a really good one of my younger son at 3 or 4, crying his head off and looking alot like Archie Bunker.

    Julesie: I corrected it! Thanks.

    Michelle: Yeah, exactly like that. You should have run for the camera. 🙂 Next time just tell Mister Man to warn you before he does something like that and you’ll be all set.

  • Sarah Clapp

    I totally believe you should take picture that are not just happy smiley faces. I have so many pictures of Charlie crying, or pissed off. They are some of my favorites. The one on my blog homepage is him basically fed up with me trying to take his picture. I love that picture.

  • Weaselmomma

    You can email me @ weaselmomma @ yahoo dot com. I am pretty sure we are no more than 20 minutes away from each other. We could so stalk each other in real life too. Right now I am up for bid on minivan trade up dot blogspot and I could take you out for drinks. No pressure, but check out this project, it’s cute and funny. Let me know what you think.

  • Melisa

    Sarah: I love that picture too. 🙂

    Weaselmomma: I have just e-mailed you; I am 99% certain that we could be neighbors. I hope you’re not my real neighbor though, because we have heard them yelling at their kids constantly and don’t really care to get to know them. But I’m pretty sure you’re not her, so we’re good. 🙂 I went to the minivan thing and I am confused by that whole idea. We may have to e-mail back and forth a little bit, because I am not understanding how he is going to get himself a minivan by having all these other people trade their own stuff and services. We’ll talk!

  • Jennifer

    LOL! That was a great post! You’re right – some of the funniest memories aren’t necessarily the happiest if times! One of my favorite memories from a few years back was when my son, referring to my daughter, said “She’s no princess…she’s the DEVIL”!!!

  • Anissa Mayhew

    Right! One of my favorite pictures of all times is one where my daughter had a dance recital, she got scared last minute and cried all through the performance. She just bawled and bawled while dancing the whole time. She is a mess, snot on her face and red and splotchy and that picture is just the most precious thing EVA’!