Definitely Evil Genius. Or Brilliant Klepto.

It’s amazing what determined children can do, even when you are paying attention to them. Not that I fault him for this one, but the other day the Gremlin was being denied ice cream (I know, I’m an horrible father for not giving ice cream to my 11 month old). Another girl at the park had a stick of frozen deliciousness, and decided that it would be entertaining – as the Mother of the Gremlin and I were repeatedly telling him he couldn’t have any – to put the ice cream in his face and pull it back just out of his reach. Her mother saw her doing this and even old her that she shouldn’t do that, but the girl did it again and again.

As the girl turned to make sure her mother was watching her defiance, the Gremlin struck yet again with cut-bottle (cutthroat) accuracy. He grabbed her hand with one of his, and the ice cream with his other, pulling it from the stick and putting it in his mouth. He bit off, and swallowed over half the cone. While the girl cried, her mother, the MOTG, and I laughed as we attempted to clean the remains of the ice cream from the Gremlin’s clothes (a futile effort in the end).

It seems he’s also not afraid to work in front of a crowd. While we were at the park the other day, the darling little sprite was edging toward a family picnicking at one of the tables nearby. Sadly, we were too late to catch him from climbing under the table, but we saw he was moving straight through to the other side, and met him there. One of the most bizarre things happened, there, though. He emerged with a ham and turkey on white. Being able to see him, where he was going, and everything in front of him, it was astounding that he was able to acquire a sandwich from the picnicking family without them knowing, and without us seeing.

Once he got the basic skills down, there was nothing standing in the way of him using this on a larger scale. The MOTG found out yesterday while picking him up that the day care has a snack time. On special occasions the ‘Child Care Specialists’ were tasked with handing out treats – 3 small pieces of graham cracker to each child. And it seems that even though each ‘Specialist’ only has two infants to deal with, the apple of my eye managed to steal all the graham crackers that the other children were not holding, and put them in his bowl. There was a rash of cries that broke out, and only after realizing that my little darling was the only one not crying did they investigate and realize he had taken the rest of the graham crackers away from all the other children.

It was especially encouraging to hear the ‘Child Care Specialist’ – being as seasoned as they are to work in a very prestigious university/hospital’s day care – explain how the 11 month old child threw such a fit (apparently he has also learned to pinch and bite, as well as cry), that they decided to let him keep the graham crackers he conquered. Yeah, that’s a great lesson for him to learn.

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Okay, This One Might Actually Be My Fault

So I was playing with the Gremlin a few days ago, and he was getting frustrated trying to open a bottle of Vitamin Water. He’s able to get caps and lids off, but he had yet to figure out how to unscrew things, and it was hysterical watching him, because he would get angry with it after about two minutes of trying, throw the bottle and cap, and then realize that he wanted to figure it out and crawl after it. Very convenient if you’re trying to watch season 3 of Boston Legal, and you don’t want a 10 month old grabbing your legs trying to get you to pick him up. So he works at it, throws the bottle, and goes after it again.

Anyway, I was playing with him two days ago, and he was playing with the bottle. So I figured that if I showed him a little about how it worked, it would keep him interested (read: occupied). So I took his hands and showed him how to unscrew the cap on the Vitamin Water bottle. I didn’t think too much about it for the rest of the night, he didn’t go for the bottle for the rest of the day.

I came home yesterday, and was lucky enough to drop my keys and have to bend over as soon as I came in the door as a shoe flew at my head.

“What were you doing with the Gremlin yesterday?” the Mother of the Gremlin was standing there, second shoe in hand, the Gremlin in her other arm with his ‘innocent’ face on.
“Um, nothing. Why?”
“He figured out how to unscrew his bottle today, as well as the Desitin cap.” I tried as hard as I could, but I couldn’t keep the chuckle from coming up. I ducked again as a shoe flew over my head.
“I might have been showing him how to screw the cap back on the Vitamin Water bottle.”
“Oh good, that means you can clean up the 8oz of forumla he just dumped in his room.”

Dang.

I hate it when he gets that look in his eye

He definitely has a look that he gets when he’s sitting there figuring things out. He doesn’t move, is quiet, and just stares at what it is he’s trying to figure out. He did it twice last night. He’s finally grasped the concept of lids and caps. Specifically the caps of bottles that we give him (that he has previously not been able to get into, but would spend hours trying). And last night he figured it out with a bottle of grape Vitamin Water. We didn’t pay any attention to him staring at us looking for towels to clean the mess up with.

Well, as it was his bathtime anyway, he was quickly transported into the tub, and the mess was cleaned up. After his bath, he was dried off, and the towel was hung on the handle of the bathroom door (which we keep closed due to the amount of small items and chemicals kept in there). So again, he sat patiently and waited for his moment of unsupervision. 15 seconds was all it took him after I went to go clean the kitchen, and the Mother of the Gremlin went to get his room ready for bedtime. He staggered over to the bathroom door, and used the towel hanging over the handle to gain access to…THE BATHROOM. Free in his domain he immediately focused on… wait, was that the refrigerator door, or the door to his room?! Maybe it had… FOOD! And he exited the bathroom, grasping his conquest – a bottle of Old Spice Shower Gel.

As he stumbled into the kitchen and I saw him gnawing furiously on the bottom of the Old Spice container, I realized that he had seen us opening the bathroom door, and figured out that he could use the towel hanging off it as a lever/extension of the handle. All this and he still refuses to start talking…

He Did Stop Terrorizing Me…

And as the Mother of the Gremlin finishes her practicals, we found a day care in the office. They do better than all of the state’s regulations, have nicer facilities, only 2 infants per person on duty, and even have private nap rooms if your child has the attention span of an ADD-afflicted stock trader on crack. It’s also comforting when the people who are around children all day don’t believe that your child is not what age is claimed on the form. That’s right, the precocious little … darling … has been so difficult that the day care people are requesting proof of age (birth certificate) to prove that he belongs in that age group (and not the next one up – in which there are no vacant positions).

Apparently he was calm all day during the day (due to the classical music playing in the background) until he was taken to the park (no classical music). He was the first out of the stroller (keep in mind there are only two babies per person in the nursery), and upon extracting the second child, ours was nowhere to be found, as he had stood up and made a sprint for freedom. Or the hot dog vendor (it’s interesting how the MOTG was home with the Gremlin all summer, and now he can recognize any type of hot dog stand…).

The second incident that sparked the requiring of the proof of age takes a bit of setup. The daycare is split into two different categories, infants and toddlers. The rooms were designed with the little people in mind, and the handles were made down at their level. Well, more thought was put into this (“Do we really want 1 and 2 year-olds to be able to let themselves out of the room?), and it was decided that the two rooms would switch, so the toddler room got the room that was previously the infant room, and the infant room inherited door handles that are just slightly below the normal level of doorhandles.

Apparently a synonym of “slightly below the normal level” is “within our son’s reach”. As alert as he is, the escapes are planned at a moment when he is not going to be watched for the next 15 seconds, and then executed with cutthroat (or cutbottle) efficiency. He scooted his way over to the closet, opened the door, and sealed himself inside. He’s been playing with doors and hinges for the past few weeks at home, and learned them quite well. The ‘Child Care Specialist’ was searching for him for ten minutes before the Gremlin realized that a) it was dark and b) it was so dark he couldn’t see the handle. This results in everyone’s favorite time: Cry Time. The noise led them to the closet, and the MOTG had to be called down off rounds to calm him down.

We have until Friday to produce proof that he is, in fact, 10 months old.