New Trains

So we had an interesting experience last night. We have been agonizing over an upcoming milestone for quite a while – the Gremlin relinquishing that age-old item of comfort and security: the pacifier.

These fonts of power had been a cornerstone to both the general comfort, and sleep cycle of the Gremlin – they worked overtime as an all-purpose tool. Won’t stop crying when you put him to bed? Pacifier. Scrapes his knees and won’t calm down after Mommy kisses it better? Pacifier. Want him to be quiet in the car? Pacifier. Want to know how crayon got on the ceiling? So do we.

So two days ago we began telling the Gremlin that because he was such a big boy, he was going to have to give his pacifiers to the Pacifier Fairy who would come and leave him a toy in exchange. We were planning on doing this sometime in early to mid-October, and began telling him last week in preparation for the monumental task that we felt we were about to face.

So last night he looks at his mother and says, “I ready. Here are ba-ba’s (pacifiers). Ba-ba Fairy going to bring me a TRAIN!” This was news to the Ba-ba Fairy who hadn’t even been able to go look at what trains were available yet. The Ba-ba Fairy made it to Timeless Toys just before closing time while Daddy stayed home and watched the Gremlin (aka played Fallout 3 and tried to keep a running dialogue to ensure consciousness as the Gremlin isn’t allowed in the room while Fallout is on due to language. Both mine and the game’s). The people at Timeless Toys were so gracious about keeping the store open just a few minutes later and helping the Ba-ba Fairy pick out a train that she purchased a track set as well. (And though it is doubtful this will ever be read by them, thank you so much again!)

And then, at bed time, the ritual occurred. The pacifiers were put in a bag (he insisted on “Lisa’s Bag” from the Blue Sky Bakery across the street), and left right outside the front door. After bedtime there was a bit of trepidation from the Ba-ba Fairy about leaving a Thomas set right outside our door until it was pointed out that the only other person who might even see it was our 30-ish neighbor, and even that was doubtful because he usually uses the back door.

The Gremlin went to bed without any pacifier-related issues and he awoke early and content in the morning. He had been playing with his toys until both parents were up, and finally, when both were awake enough to process where the coffee grounds went and get that started, we reminded the Gremlin that the Ba-ba Fairy leaves treats when things like pacifiers are given up. He excitedly ran to the door and tore open the package.

“Oh, I’m not sad anymore!”

Empathy

So the Gremlin – as devious and frustrating as he is — contains a surprising ability to empathize with anyone over anything. Case in point – my wife broke one of her prized Mexican fruit bowls this afternoon. She was pulling a pan out from the top of our pot rack when a lid that was on top of the pan she was moving slipped down and landed cracked the medium sized green bowl into 4 nice pieces.

The Gremlin, more surprised by the sound than anything else, jumped and looked over at his mother. It was only after she gasped and picked up the broken bowl and pieces that the ear-splitting Cry of Despair started. And then the Gremlin chimed in too. Even when his mother was only mildly upset, he started bawling:

“I WANT MOMMY TO FIX IT RIGHT NOW!” he wailed, tears streaming down his face, his sad little finger pointing at the offending pieces. It was only after we’d promised him we would get some Super Glue and put the pieces of the bowl back together that he finally stopped bawling.

Computers

I suppose it was inevitable, with a father who worked in IT, for the Gremlin to start picking up on computer terms, but a few weeks ago, the Gremlin entered a whole new world: the internet. He walked up to his mother the other day and said:

“I want to go to PBSKids.org.”My wife was so astounded that she booted up the computer and went to the site, where the Gremlin was able to play games featuring characters like Clifford and Curious George. Now it’s a regular occurrence for the child to have ‘internet time’ with mommy.