To fully understand the workings of the backyard, you need to be familiar with the terminology. So in the interest of making our backyard stories clear, here are some of our more heavily used backyard terms. Think of it as a crash course in the minds of four pre-schoolers- and two grown women who have spent WAY too much time with pre-schoolers.
1. A Shelly; Noun as in "I hear a Shelly!"; A mourning dove. Marylou had a pair of them nesting on her porch which Emma named Shelly and Sheldon. Consequently, any mourning dove is now a Shelly.
2. Warm & Chubby; Noun as in "The warm & chubby is on!"; Adjective as in "I'm getting all warm & chubby"; The dryer vent at Marylou's. When it is on, the kids sit next to it and put their bare feet up to it, allowing them to get warm & chubby. We're really not sure why they get chubby, but we've decided to go with it. We've actually put quarters in the dryer for no reason other than to entertain them in this manner.
3. Toot; Noun as in "I found a toot!"; A rubber band, preferably a dirty one from the sidewalk that recently held a copy of the L.A. Times or a sales flyer from Rite-Aid. Origin TOTALLY unknown.
4. The Thick of It; Noun as in "I wanna go to the thick of it!"; A cluster of bushes in front of the apartment building at the corner of Franklin and Pennsylvania. The kids like to bushwhack their way through it like explorers and sing the "Into the Thick of It" song from The Backyardigans.
5. Little Piggy; Noun as in "I'm a little piggy!"; A child who wants to be chased will typically offer up the suggestion that they are a little piggy so that I can be the Big Bad Wolf and go after them. See Also: Time-out.
6. Time-Out; Noun; 1. A punishment as in "You have a time-out for hitting Sean." 2. An invitation to be chased wherein the child will assign him/herself a time-out, and then leap up from the time-out chair and race around the lawn, hoping to be followed and tickled.
7. Nicky; Adjective as in "No, that one's Nicky."; Small or baby-sized. Marylou's sister's youngest is named Nick, and although he is no longer the youngest or the smallest of our acquaintance, old habits die hard. Little rocks, little caterpillars, little pillbugs are all Nickys.
8. Roly-Poly Heaven; Noun as in "I found another roly-poly Heaven."; A rock pile, log, tree stump, or compost pile that houses any more than two pillbugs (commonly called roly-polies). Note: The word "Heaven" can also be added to snails, slugs, flies, praying mantises, ladybugs, and any other creature of interest when found in numbers greater than two. Owen recently found Snail Heaven right near the Thick of It, for example.