Sunday, September 30, 2012

Mess Monsters

Now that Charlie is three, he’s more interested in stories.  His reactions are reminding me of Catherine’s initial joyful reactions to hearing stories made for her, except he wants his stories repeated immediately.  He is really into fighting off pretend monsters so this was something I knew would work for him.  Here’s hoping that I’ll get a cleaner house out of this story too!

Once upon a time, there was a little boy named Charlie.  He lived with his mommy and daddy and his big sister Catherine.  Charlie liked to play with Catherine.  They had lots of fun together, but they made messes.  They made a lot of messes.  They tried to clean up, but it seemed that no matter how hard they tried, there were always lots of messes.  This frustrated their mom who really liked to keep the house clean.  

One day Charlie and Catherine were cleaning up when they noticed a tiny green critter run through the playroom.  “Did you see that, Catherine?” Charlie asked.

“Yes.  What was that?  Look how it made such a big mess too.”  Catherine pointed to all the blocks that had been knocked over and the crayons that were now on the floor.  

“It went that way.  Let’s see if we can catch it.”  Charlie picked up his bug sucker (a bug capturing gun) and Catherine grabbed a net.  They headed toward the corner.  They pushed aside a toy basket and with quick hands shooed the little green critter into the bug sucker.  “Whoa!  Look at that.  What is it, Catherine?”

Catherine and Charlie grabbed a magnifying glass and peered into the chamber where a little green critter was pounding frantically on the case trying to get out.  He had a tiny orange nose and purple ears and was making a buzzing sound as he slammed his head around.  

“He looks crazy,” Catherine said.  “I’ve never seen anything like this before.  Let’s go look on my magic bookshelf to see if we can find out what he is.”

Charlie held tight to the bug sucker while Catherine and he climbed the stairs to look through the bookshelf in her room.  Fortunately, Catherine was good at reading and so she found what she was looking for right away.  On her magic bookshelf was a large, shiny, gold book titled Magical Creatures in your Home.  She looked through the pictures and found a section about Mess Monsters.  She read aloud to Charlie, “Is your house messy all the time?  Do you clean up only to find the mess comes right back?  You might have Mess Monsters.  These messy little devils don’t hurt people, but they really like to make a mess.  They find lots of joy overturning baskets, pulling pillows off of beds and couches, pushing crumbs on the floor, and leaving shoes everywhere.  They move so fast and are so small that they are hard to see.”  Catherine paused, “Wow, this sounds like our house!”

Charlie looked at the monster in the jar and said,  “I wonder where they like to hide.”

Catherine continued, “Mess Monsters like to hide anywhere that it’s really easy to make a mess.  For that reason, they prefer children’s rooms and toy rooms.  They tend to avoid grownup rooms.  To get rid of the mess monsters, you will need to do the following: 1. get a spray bottle filled with water 2. add pepper 3. practice your best monster face and noises.”  Catherine turned the book toward Charlie to show examples of good monster faces.  Charlie was very good at monster faces and noises, but he still liked to practice.  

“It says if you make your monster faces and noises then the Mess Monsters will come out to see and when they do, you can spray them with the pepper water.  It makes them hold still and sneeze.  They you can catch them in a pillowcase.”  

Catherine and Charlie came up with a plan.  Charlie was the best at monster faces and noises and so he would lure the monsters out and Catherine would spray them.  Then, they would both take pillowcases and snatch up the monsters.  

They decided to start in Charlie’s room.  Charlie made his very best monster face and noises and 26 tiny Mess Monsters popped out.  Catherine sprayed the pepper water everywhere and immediately 26 Mess Monsters went into 26 sneezing fits.  Catherine and Charlie grabbed their pillow cases and snatched them all up.  Their cases were full of Mess Monsters scrambling to get out.  They quickly took their pillowcases out to the backyard and dumped them out.  Then they went into Catherine’s room.  This time 54 mess monsters popped out when Charlie made his monster faces and monster noises.  It was a lot of work to catch all 54 sneezing Mess Monsters, but they got them all.

Finally it was time for the playroom room--the messiest room in the house.  Catherine refilled her bottle and Charlie looked in the mirror to practice his best monster face.  When they opened the door to the playroom, Charlie made his worst monster face and his loudest monster noise and 549 monsters burst out to see what was going on.  Catherine was stunned for a moment, but fortunately she had refilled her bottle.  She sprayed as quickly as she could and they gathered up all the sneezing monsters.  It took them one whole hour!  They were tired as could be and the playroom was the messiest it had ever been, but finally all the mess monsters were out of the house.  Charlie noticed that they were quickly running to the neighbors’ houses!  

As soon as Catherine and Charlie got back into the house, their mom was waiting.  They told her all about the Mess Monsters.  They could tell she didn’t believe them.  Even though they were really tired from capturing the monsters, they still had to clean up all the messes.  However, Mom did notice that from that day on that the house was a lot cleaner.  

Charlie got a bug capturing gun for his birthday.  I call it a bug sucker as it has gentle suction to pick up and capture bugs.  He loves it and was delighted to have it included.  The magic bookshelf works for my kids too.  I’ve used it in other stories before.  If you prefer, your kids could consult the internet or go to a special bookstore to find a way to rid the house of Mess Monsters.  I was just going to have the kids spray the monsters with water, but Catherine thought to add pepper.  I liked the idea of sneezing Mess Monsters and so I could include it.  If I can include a kid's detail in an interesting way, they always love that!     

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