So today, the Gremlin visited the Taste of Chicago. After scarfing down two ears of corn, a hot dog, and some funnel cake, the Gremlin returned to the Family Village to wreak some havoc. After staying in the “bouncy house” for so long that one of the directors had to come over and ask that he get out, the Terrible Two Year Terror spotted his second favorite thing: free stuff.
He barreled over to the table and began talking up the woman behind. Once his mother caught up with him, she found out that the woman was an official of the Head Start program in the Chicago Public School System. Upon finding out the age of the Gremlin, she began talking about Head Start, and how it worked and how it would be beneficial. During the boring conversation, the Gremlin had one goal: schwag.
He really wanted one of the toys they were handing out, and was pointing to it insistently. Finally, after realizing that his mother was more concerned about his education than the once-in-a-lifetime possibility of getting a free toy, he chimed in.
My Wife: “Hi, sorry about him grabbing like that.”
Head Start Advocate: “Oh, it’s no problem, we’re here to attract kids about his age.”
My Wife: “Yeah, I’ve heard of Head Start, but never really knew what it was. What do you do?”
Head Start Advocate: “Head Start is really for kids to start to get the basics – the alphabet, numbers, and things like that.” It was at this point the Gremlin realized that the focus was no longer on the toys, and he’d have to speak up if he wanted it.
The Gremlin: “A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z, 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10. Please I can have that?”
Head Start Advocate: “Oh, well, we also teach other things like potty training, and-“
The Gremlin: “I go peepee in the potty! PLEASE can I have that?”
Head Start Advocate: “Oh, well, I guess you’re a little old for our program, then.”
The Gremlin: “I two and half. Now I can have that? Please?”
Head Start Advocate: “You’re two? I don’t think you want that honey, it’s for five to seven year olds. Here, you can take a look at it.”
She handed my wife a form at the same time she handed him the toy he wanted. It was a clear cube, with an arced piece of metal or plastic going to opposite corners, forming a dip. In the middle of the arc, was a single hole. On one side of the arc was a metal ball, the purpose being the cube can be rotated to get the ball into the hole in the arc.
Head Start Advocate: “He’s two and he’s already potty trained?”
My Wife: “Yeah, he did it himself, he’d get really upset if we didn’t take him to the bathroom when he had to go – he refused to go in his diaper.”
Head Start Advocate: “That’s extremely impressi-“
The Gremlin: “All done!”
He set the cube on the table, the ball resting in the hole, and started looking underneath the sign they’d draped over the table. The Head Start Advocate took the sheet out of my wife’s hands and said,
“Just put your email address here, you’ll receive information on the Gifted Programs offered by the City.”