Chirp, Chatter and Chase Chippy live with their mother, Charlotte in a small burrow near the edge of the cliff by the Escanaba River. The river flows thorough the small town of Gwinn, Michigan.
Chirp is the baby of the family. She is watched over and protected by everyone in the burrow. When she leaves home, her brother, Chatter always goes along. Chatter is the loudest chipmunk in the whole area and she feels safe when he is around. Chirp gets scared easily by loud sounds especially at night so she doesn’t stray far from home.
Chatter knows that he is the loudest Chipmunk because he won the “Chipmunk Chatter-bug Contest” last summer. He’s the fastest talking Chipmunk in the burrow, so sometimes it’s hard to understand him. But, definitely not when he is mad! He gets louder, and has no trouble letting others know how he feels! His chipmunk cheeks puff up and his face gets very red. He is very proud to be Chirp’s big brother. He feels like he needs to watch over her and protect her because their dad died when he was very little and just after Chirp was born.
Chirp and Chatter have a step-brother named Chase. He lives with them most of the time, but visits his dad, Charlie, sometimes on weekends. Chase is the oldest, and never seems be home. He is off playing with his friend, Sully the Snake, or at his dad’s house, or he’s off running somewhere by himself. Chase is the fastest runner in the burrow and can gather as many as 200 acorns in one day! He seems to like being by himself and always says Chirp and Chatter are annoying.
Their life seems very busy because their mother has to spend most of her time working to gather food for the family. Gathering acorns and getting ready for winter is exhausting! She has had to work harder and longer since Chirp and Chatter’s dad died. She’s so tired, she can barely read Chirp a bedtime story without falling asleep. Sometimes their home is messy. Mornings are chaotic because their mom has to leave early. Chirp, Chatter and Chase are responsible to get ready for school by themselves. Nobody can find their clothes or books for school, and Chase is bossy. They often argue and fight. It’s harder for Chase because he thinks the rules are stupid. He has different rules at his dad’s house. He feels his mom’s rules are too strict, and hates having to help the littler kids get ready for school. Chase loves Chirp and Chatter, but sometimes he feels like running away from all the responsibility he feels.
Chirp and Chatter got home from school, grabbed and acorn roll-up and went out to find something to do.
“Do you remember the last time we played on that tire swing on top of the cliff? Chirp said. I was really afraid and just wanted to stay in our yard but you told me to be brave and I followed you up there.”
Chatter replied, “Yes, it was fun! We were really tired and hungry when we got home. We were hoping that mom made our favorite acorn lasagna, but there wasn’t any dinner ready. Mom was super crabby because she was so tired! Remember, she yelled at us for tracking in mud. She was screaming at us for everything and her face got really red. You ran to your room and hid under your bed. I started talking back to mom and that didn’t end well. I got grounded to my room. I remember feeling knots in my stomach and my head felt like it was going to explode.”
“A while later, Chase helped me sort everything out. He said mom was super tired and stressed from having to work so hard. He also told me that it’s normal to feel kind of sick when you feel emotions like anger and sadness. Chase told me that his friend Fiona taught him a trick to help him calm down. He said it was simple and you only have to take a few deep breaths. I don’t think I ever taught you that!”
“Let’s do it together right now! Breathe in through your nose and pretend you are smelling acorns. Now, let the air all out, like you are blowing at birthday candles. Let’s do it a few more times.” Chirp and Chatter took 3, big, smell the acorn breaths.
Chirp said, “That made me feel really good. I feel calm and happy right now. Maybe we should all do this together in the morning before we get ready for school. This morning didn’t start very well. Chase was really frustrated with us.”
“Hey! There’s Chase!” Chatter said. “Let’s go talk to him about it and see if we can make tomorrow a better day!”
Have you ever felt sad? What happened? How did your body feel?
Have you ever felt mad? What happened? How did your body feel?
Why do you think that Chirp got sad and Chatter became mad when their mom was angry with them?
When you get sad, do you run and hide? Yell at someone? Hit or push someone?
When you get mad, do you run and hide? Yell at someone? Hit or push someone?
What could you do to get yourself calmed down?
Meet the Author: Kristine McPeak, PTA is the owner of PeaceSHINE in Marquette, MI. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Olivet College and is a Physical Therapy Assistant. Kristine is a Certified Laughter Leader and is skilled in a variety of stress management practices including Healing Touch and Emotional Freedom Technique. PeaceSHINE is a licensed affiliate of the Simply Successful Kids Program.