Anecdotes and Collected Shorts

The Gremlin is ready for summer. He was saying this and sighing the other day, and so I asked him what his favorite part of the summer was. He then regaled me with his favorite summer ritual – removing as many clothes as possible. Apparently when he gets warm, he will ask his mother to take him to the Chicago Park District pool and sprinkler park. Once there, he will dress down to his trunks and then inform his mother that he no longer wants to swim, but wants to play in the sand. Apparently, that’s his ‘cool-down’ for the hot summers.

The Mother of the Gremlin has started to frequent a coffee shop called Family Grounds Cafe as it offers direct injections of caffeine, but also has a separate playground for toddlers – allowing mothers to gather together in relative peace. I say only relative because of one of the signs on the wall at the FGC:

“Unattended children will be given espresso shots and puppies. To date, 14 puppies have been adopted here.” and the 14 is actually a space of chalkboard that can be written on. The MOTG saw this sign and immediately corralled the Gremlin, having just seen an FGC employee walking around with a small portable kennel cage.

Sharing and Spelling

So one of the Gremlin’s favorite places to go is the Barnes and Noble in the Old Orchard mall. This is not because of their expansive literary selection, their readings or other events, or an employee. This Barnes and Noble happens to have a Thomas train table.

The Mother of the Gremlin has an expansive criteria on when to go because the Gremlin is 3, and has decided that he owns every Thomas engine ever. This criteria is: during lunchtime. This is the time at which the train table is least used, so the Gremlin can usually play to his heart’s content for about half an hour (the required time for a parent to regain enough energy to fight the Gremlin about leaving).

When the Gremlin arrived, most of the other children had left – there was just a lone straggler who was lining up all the trains in a row, rolling them to the top of the bridge, and then flipping the bridge open, launching the other trains across the table. I liked the kid immediately.

The other child immediately surrendered to the Gremlin his favorite – the Cookie Factory Cargo Pack – and the Gremlin was immediately entertained. A matter of minutes after that, the other child’s mom got hungry, and the Gremlin was left with all the trains.

After almost 45 minutes of engine euphoria, another child approached the table, and stared longingly at the 15+ trains the Gremlin hoarded on the opposite end of the table, having seen the approach. The MOTG prompted the Gremlin to share, and – having just saved up an extra 15 minutes of fighting power – was forced to haul the Gremlin off at a decibel level usually reserved for tornado warning systems. In the car, the MOTG tried to talk to the Gremlin about sharing.

“Buddy, you weren’t sharing with that boy.”
“No momma, I did not want to give him any trains.”
“Why not?” The Gremlin shrugged, and the MOTG went on. “Buddy, remember how you felt when you got there and that other boy gave you some trains to play with?”
“Yeah.”
“How did you feel about that boy?”
“I thought he was S-T-U-P-I-D.”

Well, looks like we can’t spell things in front of him anymore…

Ears Like a Bat

So this week the Mother of the Gremlin and I have been eagerly awaiting the Thomas Talking Railway Station (and by eagerly, I mean we’ve been wondering how long it would take us to injure ourselves or him after hearing the same Thomas phrase repeated 50 million times) that I foolishly purchased off woot.com because I’m an impulse buyer for almost anything they have.

Anyway, Grandma came up this week, so the Gremlin was ecstatic right up until we put him to bed. Once we finally got the little darling down (and I promise, I didn’t use duct tape. This time), we were showing Grandma the recent purchase. Well, as any curious person would, she pushed THE BIG RED LEVER.

THE BIG RED LEVER inevitably kicks off a display of lights and sounds that will become indelibly imprinted on your brain over the next few days, and is set to a specific frequency that not only causes children to become addicted, but is also capable of causing migraine-level pain in adults. The Talking Railway Station is no different, with Sir Toppam Hat coming out and talking to the person who will be flayed for touching THE BIG RED LEVER.

A few minutes after we’d looked at it (and the two talking trains that came with it – Molly and Billy, of which we already have 2), we heard the Gremlin up and about. Going into see why he couldn’t sleep, the Gremlin greeted us before we even got to his bed.

“I want to play with the train.”
“Uh, what train, buddy?”
“The Thomas train you and Mommy and Grandma were playing with.”
“Buddy, you need to go to sleep. It’s bed time now.” Not being able to argue this, the Gremlin laid down, but had one last shot to get in.
“You think I don’t know, but I do. I know.”

He had heard half a second of one little child’s-toy speaker across the entire house while the TV was on, and knew it was a Thomas Train.

Sled Practice

So the Gremlin was at it again the other day – protecting those bigger than him, and standing up to bigger kids who are ‘being mean.’ With the recent record snowfalls, the Gremlin was able to break in his new sled.

After his mother got sick of pulling him after her on the sidewalks, she began to search for a hill she could take the Gremlin to. After trying several Chicago Park District parks, unsuccessfully, she found a hill by the lake.

The Gremlin screamed with delight as he flew down the hill, and kicked his mother out after the first time. He also picked up some bad habits as he was the youngest kid there, by a year or two at least. He attempted, and mostly accomplished feats like going down the hill while standing on the sled, going head first, and jumping out when you got to the bottom.

It so happened that he both heard and was the target of some other boys who were there who thought it would be fun to target people and see how many they could knock over. They skimmed the Gremlin once, knocking him down, and were already headed up the hill when he was able to right himself.

The Gremlin does not take kindly to being bullied, and today was no exception. He grabbed his sled and set off after the both of them. He had almost made it up the hill when the bullies headed down, and the Gremlin – on the less-steep slope the kids were using to haul their sleds with more ease – turned around right where he was and followed them down.

Although the Gremlin wasn’t able to get hardly any speed, he surprised them enough, and managed to steer his sled with enough accuracy (as he had been practicing for the last three hours) to make both bullies jump to opposite sides in surprise. The Gremlin, utilizing another newly-learned skill, had already jumped off his sled (though at this point it was going approximately 3 inches an hour) and was facing down the two kids, who each had at least a foot on him. The Mother of the Gremlin later told me that he was so angry, all that could be heard was the last part of his tirade.

“Ajabudamatadobonoetgatwasbrilligandfarthyjamaknoda – DON’T DO THAT!” And he retrieved his sled and headed back up the hill. The mother of one of the bullies heard this and came over, speaking to the MOTG.

“Is that your son?” she asked
“Yes.”
“He should really watch out – he could have hurt someone.”
“I know! I nursed at Northwestern and I’m sure the collision at that speed would have caused a capillary hematoma.”
“Yeah! You should really talk to him about that! A what?”
“A bruise. In the meantime, please ask your son or sons to stop doing the same thing at a much higher speed, as what I saw them doing could actually hurt someone.”
“Ugh, I’m sure my little Maxie would never-“
“Actually,” another mother standing off to the side piped up, “they were. ‘Little Maxie’ hit my 4 year-old over there, and when I went over there to see if he was okay, the other one tried to hit me.” 

The other mother flushed and walked back to her son.

“Is that true?”
“We were just having fun…” The rest of the conversation trailed off as the mother packed up both of the kids and left the park.

At least he didn’t push the kid down and smack him again…

The Psychological Gremlin

So I went out last night – after putting the Gremlin to bed I left the Mother of the Gremlin to hold down the fort. Apparently, a matter of minutes after I left, our little darling began to make things interesting.

“Momma! Momma! Come here!” The MOTG poked her head into his room, hoping to defuse a 38-lb situation before the commercial break ended. Little did she know, she was dealing with the Gremlin in full capacity of hit wits.

“Momma, I’m not tired, can I come watch TV with you?”
“I’m sorry, buddy, but you need to go to sleep now.”
“But I want to watch TV. And I feel a little sick.” The Gremlin pouted.
“Then I think the best thing for you would be to rest with your eyes closed and try to sleep.” The Gremlin changed tactics.
“But Momma, I want to watch TV and cuddle you because I love you so much. Can we cuddle on the couch?” This took the MOTG back for a moment as the Gremlin had becoming more and more independent as of late and hasn’t wanted to cuddle either of us.
“Buddy, it’s time for you to go to sleep.”
“But I don’t want to!”
“I know, but you need to sleep now. If you don’t lay down and stay quiet, I’m going to have to get your father.” The Gremlin smiled and looked up.
“No you won’t, Momma.”
“I’m going to go get him now if you don’t lay down.”
“You’re lying, Momma. Daddy left, I heard him. I want to watch TV!”
“Buddy, Daddy would not be happy with either of us if I let you stay up and watch TV with me.”
“But Momma, we don’t have to tell Daddy…”