Whee and Whoo

When I was five, during the weekdays when my father came home late, my mother, my little brother and I would have a small reading time before our bedtime. My mother would read a picture book or a picture story show (called kamishibai in Japanese) for us, and we would have a lot of fun reacting to and talking loudly about the story.

When the reading was over, my brother and I would beg our mother to read more. We were too excited and reluctant to go to bed. But eventually, she would stop reading and tell us firmly that we had to sleep.

In order to make the transition as smooth as possible, my mother devised a game called “Whee!” She would pick and carry each of us in her arms to our bed and release us onto the bed while saying “Whee!” in a loud voice. My brother and I both loved this game. So, as soon as she said “let’s do Whee!” we would follow her without hesitation.

My brother was always the first to go. I would wait in the living room while my mother carried him to the next room (which was our bedroom) and released him with a big “Whee!” Then when she came back to pick me up, I would say to her

“I want to do Whoo!”

This was exactly the same as Whee! except that at the end my mother would release me with a big “Whoo!” instead of “Whee!”

But as soon as I landed next to my brother with my mother’s big “Whoo!” my brother would rise to his feet and say

“Me too, me too, I want to do Whoo!”

It gave me a sense of satisfaction to see my little brother being jealous of me. However, after hearing my brother’s persistent new request, my mother gave in and carried him back to the living room to do “Whoo!” this time.

As soon as my brother landed next to me with my mother’s big “Whoo!” I rose to my feet and protested.

“It’s not fair! He did it twice! I also want to do Whoo! again!”

But my request wasn’t accepted. After hearing my protest for a while, my mother gave me a stern look and told me that that was it for the evening.

I may have been the older sister, but it felt awfully unfair to me that my brother’s request was fulfilled while mine only received a look that told me to behave. Thus the Whee! and Whoo! left a bitter-sweet taste in the five year old’s heart.