He’s Definitely A Chicago Boy

So with the arrival of “the family” this weekend, all the out-of-towners were of course drawn to Chicago’s main dietary accomplishment – deep dish pizza. “The family” was invited over on Friday night, and a pizza party ensued. It was an entertaining and enjoyable night, resulting in something even more enjoyable for the parents of the Gremlin – leftovers. Mmmmmmmm, deep dish.

In celebration of Chicago, his Aunt Kelley went in with his mother to get the child: a cloth pizza. This pizza is eight slices of fuzzy temptation, complete with olives, onions, pepperonis, tomatoes, and even a packet of cheese. It has become one of his new favorite toys (as his parents frequently travel to the authentic Italian restaurant to get brick-oven pizza with smoked meats and authentic cheeses), and I’ve spent the last few days tracking down small bits of olive and onions and other accoutrements.

So a few days later, it happened that the Mother of the Gremlin warmed up a slice of pizza for lunch. Knowing our darling dearest is lactose intolerant (just intolerant, not allergic), she wisely steered our son (and his love with everything cheese) away from the inch-thick slab of Wisconsin goodness, and fended him off while maneuvering and sitting on the couch.

Even with the soy yogurt solution, he quickly realized that she was attempting to distract him, and came in to investigate. It so happened that the MOTG had forgotten a fork, and the two met in the hallway. As she told him “Please stay away from the pizza” she remembered that she also needed something to drink. So she retrieved her fork and dispensed herself a refreshing beverage, only to return to find a curious oddity in the living room.

Where there had previously been a large slice of cheesy, hot, Girodano’s pizza, there now sat a small, fuzzy, piece of cloth with what looked like a cloth imitation of an olive and a slice of onion. As she stood, surprised by what was before her, she heard a rustling in the Lair of the Gremlin. She entered cautiously, knowing the Gremlin to be a fickle creature, and didn’t see him at first. Unless… yes! A sock actually attached to a leg! And curiously, hidden behind both the bookshelf and the crib. As she stepped over to where the Gremlin lay smacking his lips she put out a question.

“Is that my pizza?” The bright, blue eyes of the Gremlin froze, and then peered up at her as if to ask why she was invading his territory while he was eating. After he realized he was supposed to do something, he lifted the last quarter of the slice and – hoping to still keep what remained – asked another question.


Realizing that his ploy had failed, the Gremlin scrambled to secure the decoy he had so cleverly sacrificed to have his fifteen seconds of freedom. One day, he told himself as he tottered back to reunite the lost slice to the rest of the pie, one day he would have an entire slice.

He’s Not Addicted, I Swear!

My 18 month old child is now fully able to make coffee, on his own.

For the last few months, he’s been obsessed with cooking. He always wants to be involved, and enjoys doing some of the more menial tasks. One of these includes grinding the coffee beans. Every day, he would watch as we got out the bag, poured them into the grinder, and then let him press the button until they were powdery morsels of caffeinated goodness.

We never paid attention to the fact that, after that, he was still sitting right there on the counter when we would transfer the grinds to the coffeemaker, add water, and start it brewing. This morning, however, the Mother of the Gremlin happened to walk back in the room after hearing an odd whirring sound from the kitchen. As he wasn’t crying, she took her time. However, when she came back in, she saw the Gremlin examining the base of the coffee maker studiously. As she approached, he pushed the button, and it began to whir away.

After stopping the coffee maker (as she believed it to be empty), she was surprised to see water in the reservior. She began to understand what was going on, and checked the filter.

Now we just have to train him to wake up before us quietly and do this.

Ooooh! Big Bathtub!

At the Lincoln Park Zoo, there is a little-traveled pond with a man made waterfall. Occasionally, there are tours of this site (if you get the extended tour of the zoo), and that includes a tour of the waterfall. The guide takes everyone, including young children, up the rocks and over to the start of the waterfall.

I should preface this with a small anecdote about swimming. Though he was not 18 months before he joined the course, our little Gremlin has been participating in swimming classes for the last several weeks. (FYI – it’s not a good idea to hold a child partially in the water, and encourage them to flap their arms. Those who know how to splash will end up soaking the instructor, and knocking his glasses off – which will result in a 10 minute delay of class while he searches for them, but also tries not to step on them while searching.) However, after the initial splashing phase, our little darling took to water like horns to a de…. uh, well, he likes it.

So when he was at the top of the waterfall, seeing the other children dangling their feet in the water, looking out over something that looked like a giant bathtub (complete with faucet), the inevitable occurred.

It was at this time that the Mother of the Gremlin stepped up. Having been honing her reflexes for approximately 18 months now, she immediately reacted to the situation. Her keen eye watched as our son leaped into the pond, and continued to eye him as he paddled – completely submerged – towards the faucet. Just as she was feeling compelled to possibly take action, he popped his head back up and took a deep breath as he continued towards the giant faucet.

Well, at least the swimming classes were a good investment… even if the instructor won’t get anywhere near him anymore.

*Update* the pool instructor retired at the end of that winter session