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Wordie Wednesday: amuck

run/go amuck (also amok)

1. to rush about in a murderous frenzy: The fanatic ran amuck in the crowd, shooting at random.

2. to rush about wildly; lose self-control: When the nightclub caught fire, the patrons ran amuck, blocking the exits.

The playdate

Get that kid in a room full of other kids his age, and you can guarantee a quick descent into chaos. Gregarious and charming is a dangerous combination, and this kid has both in generous amounts.

It starts with a twinkle in the eye, a quick grin and a sidelong glance toward the adult or adults in the room.

“Look over there,” he seems to be saying, “so you can’t see what I’m about to do.”

Then, his hand reaches out to grab a toy from his sibling. A dash to the other side of the room, followed by a wail from the sibling. The friends who are over to provide a diversion – a rest for the exhausted parents – are emboldened by his casual disregard for the rules of play. They pick up toys and strike each other with them – playfighting with dolls, firetrucks and plastic kitchen fruit.

Their volume increases. The sibling bolts for a parent, demanding justice and the toy to be returned. The adults reluctantly disengage themselves from their two minutes with a cup of coffee, and halfheartedly attempt to prevent the children from injuring each other. The toy is returned.

The instigator moves on to another room, followed by the bevy of friends. Ripping clothes out of closets and dresser drawers, they leave a trail of fabric bread crumbs that belie their mischief.

The moms lift their second (or is it third?) cup of steaming coffee to their lips, sigh and return to their conversation.

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