Following Directions

So every once in a while, I will try my hand at the culinary arts in an effort to reduce the stress on the rest of the family – give everyone a little break from “the normal routine.” While I can’t comment on the level of stress before/after I cook (read: before/after I create a mess), it’s really interesting to see how the Gremlin responds to this shake-up.

For instance, last night I was doing a chimmichurry steak when I had a little “pouring malfunction” with the olive oil. With the Gremlin and his mother on the couch, I saw the opportunity to allow a small cleanup window. I spoke to the Gremlin,

“Keep your mother out of the kitchen for at least 5 minutes!” Without any debate or question, the Gremlin began asking his mother to help him draw, assemble a puzzle and *gasp* clean! When the MOTG (Mother of the Gremlin) wanted a glass of water, the 2-foot wall of steel was in front of her, “No, no, momma, I get you water from MY kitchen! Sit! Sit nice!” He herded her back to the couch and headed to his room.

Of course, this was more than enough time for me to clean up the olive oil (but not enough to clean up the various spices that covered the rest of the kitchen). So when the MOTG finally made it into the kitchen, I’d managed to clean about half of the mess that had previously been in there.

*Gasp* “WHAT HAPPENED TO MY KITCHEN?!” Immediately after the wail emerged from the MOTG, another came shrieking from the Gremlin’s room.

“NO MOMMA! NO KITCHEN!” The Gremlin came streaking in like a toddler to sugar. He didn’t know why, but he was upset that his mother was in the kitchen. Fortunately, a few words from daddy let him know it was okay for her to be in there.

You know, except for the mess.

Language Barriers

The other day the Gremlin was released upon the park for several hours, in an attempt by his parents to actually get him to sleep – or act in any way, shape, or form as if he was not a living ball of energy. Various other parents in many different states of cleanliness (or not) to release their children as well, and the Gremlin was ecstatic to have other people to play with who could actually keep up with him without yelling at him to not jump in the house every 2 minutes.

So after a rousing game of “chase” around the playground equipment, the Gremlin wanted to show one of the other boys something he’d seen across the playground. He ran over to the boy and took hold of his hand. He tugged on the boy’s arm and said, “come here! Come on!” He repeated these a few times before falling silent. He turned and looked at the boy, and a lightbulb went off in his mind. “Vamos!” And he and the boy went off together across the playground.


I’m convinced he will be a mafia enforcer. The Gremlin came back in full force yesterday. He had been digging at the park – his bucket and pail having been dutifully lugged the three blocks to the park where there was sand almost as plentiful as the beach.

The Gremlin has been showing some anti-social tendencies lately, but his mother and I believe this to actually be a phase – the child is gregarious most of the time. However, he was playing quietly alone this time – excavating on the other side of the bridge than the other kids when disaster struck in the form of a seven year old.

The towering trunk of post-toddler terror teetered over the tiny tot. Without a word, the bully snatched the pail out of the Gremlin’s hands. The Gremlin was taken aback, “That’s mine!”

“Well, I’m using it now,” the seven year old retorted.
“May I have my pail please?” the Gremlin only asks once.
“No!” as soon as the words left the bully’s mouth, the Gremlin responded. He used both hands to shove the bully to the ground. He twisted the pail out of the startled kid’s hand, and stepped up the length of his body. As he stood above the bully, straddling his shoulders, he slowly reached down, and slapped him across the face.

As the Gremlin went back to his digging the now conquered bully approached his mother, who was perched on a nearby bench bouncing with laughter. She restored my faith in both humanity, and her parenting by cutting him off before he was able to get to her.

“You were mean to that boy, even after he asked nicely!”

Trend Setter

So for the second time in a row my son has started a trend in footwear.

In the fall my wife was wandering through a Fleet Feet looking for a pair of boots when she noticed a pair of sneakers that the Gremlin would love (yes, apparently the women’s boots and boy’s shoes are intermixed at Fleet Feet. Probably a marketing decision :). Seeing as how he already had a pair of Cookie Monster fluffy sandals, she figured he would also like a pair of New Balance (see all the name drops? That’s right, I’m trying to drive revenue so click the links!) featuring everyone’s favorite sweet tooth.

A matter of days later she was sick of going outside with the Gremlin while he was wearing them due to all the questions of where she got them (on sale too). This culminated one day at his play group where one of the moms actually took his shoes and put them in her purse. (And then claimed to not speak English. Fortunately enough, the Gremlin’s mother is bilingual.)

It was a relief for the summer to come, because of course the summer requires sandals. So during a trip to Marshall’s, we settled on a pair of Spongebob Squarepants Crocs for him. He loves his ‘crucks’ so much he insists on wearing them everywhere, and continuously gets compliments and requests as to where they were purchased. Again, on sale.