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SunFeb07

The Korean Tiger and the Green Mask

Sung was eagerly anticipated by his siblings, Minh and Anita. They asked many times a day when he would come, what they could do with him, would he play with them?

Well, he came and he was not what they anticipated, of course. He roared around the clock until he exhausted himself into sleep. Minh and especially Anita were dumbfounded. I think they felt if I had promised them double dips at the Washtenaw Dairy and then pawned yogurt off on them. But. Sung came to life. He caught hold and held on, laughing and playing. He’d do almost anything if it meant that Anita and Minh would play with him. And they mostly did. He was so much fun, much of the time.

But underneath all that playing was an element of “Gotcha.” Sung drove them nuts when he went into one of his flooded-with-fear-and-anger tantrums. So they had some submerged or not so submerged resentment and they knew what he was afraid of. They were capable of collusion. In this way, they managed a big “Gotcha.” Sung hated one particular green Halloween mask that Minh owned, an ugly thing that Minh was proud to own since it proved that he could be scary if he wanted to be. (The least scary kid around.)

It was hideous, rubber, green, bulging eyes, and fanged teeth. Minh had used it for Halloween and kept it in the bedroom, despite Sung’s pleas for him not to. But Minh did keep it in a drawer, out of sight.

On the night of the big “Gotcha” Minh and Ken and Anita were in the living room while I read to Sung in the kids’ bedroom. Sung had two favorite stuffed animals at that point, a raccoon given to him by Ken’s brother, John, and a bear, Winnie the Pooh. The raccoon had a big belly, so Sung called him Potsee. Pooh was Pooh, not as important as Potsee, but there.

You can see the two of them in the picture

potseePotsee sits on the left with a smiling Sung

I heard muffled voices in the living room, laughter. We continued reading, Bedtime for Francis, the perfect book for Sung who resisted bedtime fiercely. We finished the story and went out to the living room. He passed around kisses and begged for a snack. Well, why not?

More laughter from the living room. We were in the kitchen now, Sung and I. Something seemed a little weird, but I dismissed it, spread peanut butter on a graham cracker and poured some milk. Sung ate the snack, went off to brush his teeth and get into bed. “I’ll tuck you in, “ I called, “as soon as I put the milk in the fridge.”

Screams. Yells. Pounding feet. More laughter, louder this time, from the living room. Out of control laughter. We-got-you-this-time laughter.

“Potsee, “ screamed Sung. “Potsee!”

What could have happened to Potsee? Did those two older ones, take him? I went into the bedroom. Potsee was in bed under the covers, just his face showing. But it wasn’t his face. He had a green mask on his face, the very one Sung feared.

I reared in anger. “Not funny,” I called. “You two are in trouble.”
“Oh, Mary,” said Ken. “ It’s not that bad.”
I gave him the evil eye and took the mask out to the garage. Far enough away that Sung would calm down.

I frowned at the two older ones, who were still laughing, although, by now, they looked a little contrite seeing their younger brother so upset. Still I was sure they thought it was worth it. They had claimed the upper hand. If Sung bugged them too much, they’d come up with something to retaliate.

I huffed at Ken. How could he have allowed the kids to do that? I told him he was going to be the one to comfort Sung if he woke with nightmares.

Sung didn’t wake with nightmares. Oh no. He had his own plan.

It was the middle of the night, the usual time when one of the kids would often awake and cry out. One of us would stumble into the room to offer comfort. But this time, there was no crying. There was a fierce sound.
What WAS it? RRRRRRRRRRRR. LOUD! RRRRRRRR!

Yelps and astonishment from Minh and Anita. “Sung, you’re crazy!’

Laughter from Sung who stood in the middle of the room, holding Potsee and roaring for all he was worth. He was pretty good at it.

“Wow, Sung,” said Ken who had come into the room with me. “ You’re not a raccoon. You’re a Korean Tiger! You sure roar like one.” Minh and Anita were wide eyed. Their little brother had managed his own, “Gotcha.”

Everybody went back to sleep, the Korean Tiger held both Pooh and Potsee, wholly content. The three of them bonded together by crazy things, a bear, a mask and a fat raccoon.

They still talk about Potsee and the mask and the revenge of the Korean Tiger. They laugh and think it’s one of their best stories.

Ken did get Sung a stuffed tiger and now, Sung has a toddler son. He and his son and Ken play the roaring game over and over until his son, falls to the floor laughing helplessly.

Then one more time… RRRRRRRRR.

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I welcome all types of reviews on my book, The Year The Trees Didn't Die, and thank those of you who write reviews. Your reviews can be through email, blog or website or in print. For more information on reviewing this book, please contact me directly through the "Contact Mary" box on the homepage.

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