After an 18-month (ish) absence, Pokemon have once invaded the confines of my peaceful home.
As I said, about two years ago, Pokemon was all the rage here at Casa-de-We-Have-Too-Much-Stuff-Already-And-We-Do-Not-Need-Stacks-Of-Japanese-Trading-Cards.
My two oldest children traded and collected the cards with fervor. They threw around words like, "power", "sweeper","energy", and "Pikachu", and I indulged their Poke-obsession by letting them earn cards when they were of extra help around the house. After all, it kept them entertained, and seemed like a fun, educational game. Their stacks of cards grew and grew.
My boys proudly held their thick stacks in hand, pressed together by rubber bands, and bragged of their latest Poke-get.
The stacks that were so lovingly held together, so lovingly collected, so lovingly prized, suddenly found themselves free of their rubber band. Their new home was the floor of my minivan.
And must I rehash the whole, "Clare's Minivan is Messy Enough Because of Four Busy Children" story?
You get it.
I asked the boys nicely to pick up their Pokemon cards. I waited. Days went by, and every time I turned a corner, hundreds of cards floated from one side of the car to the other.
And back again.
I could almost hear them mocking me in their native Japanese.
"Konichi-HA! Konichi-HA! WE HAVE TAKEN OVER YOUR MINIVAN AND THERE IS NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT! WE ARE HERE TO STAY!"
I warned my boys, "If you don't clean up all those cards by tomorrow, I will throw them all away! In the garbage! Tomorrow! Watch me!"
I talked a big game.
That day came, and I warned again. After all, I did not want to make good on my threat. Throwing away all the cards? Only a horrible mother would do such a thing.
I pretended to forget my warning in hopes that they would pick up all the cards. A few more days passed, and I warned again, "Pick. Up. The. Pokemon. Cards. Or. Their. New. Home. Is. The. Garbage."
Finally fed up, I grabbed a crinkly Target bag, stomped over to the minivan parked in the garage and went to work collecting Pokemon cards. I grumbled to myself, "HA! That'll show 'em! Don't mess with me! When I say I'm throwing away Pokemon cards if they are not cleaned up, I MEAN IT! HA!" After the task was completed, I threw the bag to the bottom of the large garbage can in the garage with a resounding THUNK.
It felt good.
Be gone, Pocket Monsters.
Surprisingly, my boys never noticed.
About a year later, the wailing and the moaning commenced from my second oldest son, "MOOOOOOMMM! I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU THREW AWAY ALL OF MY POKEMON CARDS! I SAID I WAS GOING TO CLEAN THEM UP!!! WAAAAAHH!!!"
Waaahh indeed. Too little, too late, buddy.
I felt not one little smidgen of remorse or regret.
I was chatting on the phone with my best friend one day a couple of months ago, and she was telling me that her oldest son had outgrown his interest in his Pokemon cards and decided to sell his large stack on eBay, "Guess what!" she said excitedly, "We sold his stack of cards for $130.00!!!"
ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY BONES, YO.
For Pokemon cards.
Used Pokemon cards.
Used Pokemon cards that we once had, but that I so happily threw away.
Who was crying now?
Also? Who knew the crap littering my minivan floor was worth so much coin?
Fast forward to March, 2011.
Pokemon is back.
I'm not sure what reignited the Poke-passion, but it is here, and it is white-hot. This time, all but my oldest child have been bitten by the Poke-bug. In fact, my 4-year old daughter speaks of her coveted Jigglypuff card in the same happy voice that other girls her age utter the name, "Barbie."
My boys have become cards sharks, trying to con the younger children out of their valuable cards. When my daughter was talked out of her beloved Totodile card by a brother, big, fat tears slid down her cheeks. I became a Poke-broker, and negotiated a Poke-truce, which resulted in the return of her card.
She has no idea what the cards mean, and she only likes Jigglypuff because he is pink, and because she feels like a cool older kid.
Or is Jiggly-Puff a she?
I have no idea.
What I do know? This time, when they are done with their Poke-friends, Mama's making some fun money on eBay.
Poke-money for the Poke-mama.