Sending A Message

I really think he was made to be a mafia enforcer. His teacher assigns homework in packets, and grades them once a week. This limits feedback and makes for very interesting interactions with the Gremlin. His nightly homework looks something like this:

Write the letter D ten times

The Gremlin had been writing his letters on the first line, prompting this feedback that greatly upset the Gremlin. His teacher would like him to write the letters in between the lines – using the dotted line as a ‘middle’ guide. She marked this as such:

His teacher’s correction

The Gremlin decided he needed to “send her a message” and did the following on his homework last night:

The Gremlin’s submission

That’s right – he doesn’t want to get in trouble, so he did all 10 on the lower line correctly, however his ‘message’ is the first line – circling all 10 on the top line, and crossing out the ones done as requested in between the lines. We’re hoping she doesn’t clue in on his attitude until later in the year…

The Gremlin was complaining to his mother about having to do this when the following interaction took place.

“It’s so boring to write inside the lines. Besides, I don’t want to be a ‘lemon’!”

“A what? What do you mean?”

“Our teacher read a story about a book of antelope. They were all following each other up a mountain, and then they ran off a cliff and became lemons.”

“They- who- what?”

“You have to be original. You have to be yourself or else you’ll become a lemon and follow the other lemons off a cliff!”

“Do you mean a lemming?”

“No, I mean a lemon! Cause they’re sour and nobody likes them, and I don’t want to be an antelope!”

(We still haven’t figure out what ‘antelope’ is actually supposed to be. I’m thinking its ‘animal’ but the Mother of the Gremlin is not so sure)

The Unhappiest Helper

We love the Gremlin’s new school. His teacher is young, active, and the Gremlin has her wrapped around his finger. Mostly. She is new enough from school to have several good routines drilled in. One of them is the “happy helper.” Said helper is chosen on a daily basis to carry items to the office, and do small tasks around the class. The Gremlin was on to this immediately.

“I am NOT being the happy helper! No way! She says it’s a good thing, that it’s special, but I know! I KNOW! She just wants to trick us into doing work! And not just work, doing her work FOR HER!”

Regardless of how intent he was, it was inevitable he would be chosen eventually, and that happened last week. The Gremlin came home in a tizzy.

“She made me do it. Grrrr. It was AWFUL. I refused to do any of it. She wanted me to take stuff to the office, but I wasn’t going out of the classroom. I just sat in the Helper Chair and didn’t move. And that just made me more angry.”

“Why did that make you angry?”

“Because the pillows felt nice on my butt. There are two pillows and they’re so soft. The other chairs are hard and they hurt, and now I want to sit in the Helper Chair all the time – it’s not fair I can’t sit in it otherwise. My butt hurts!”

Pickles’ Goodbye and Weekend Update

With the Gremlin now attending school on a daily basis, the Pickle is starting to figure out that he has more freedom around the house – most especially when it comes to his brothers toys. On Friday the Gremlin went to school, and the Pickle ran into his room, jumped on his brothers bed and dove into the pile of stuffed animals his brother doesn’t usually let him touch. As he rolled over in a pile of plush dogs, the Pickle cackled out

“Bye bye, bruh-bruh!” (His word for ‘brother’)

Also this weekend the parents of the Gremlin and the Pickle thought it would be a good idea to take the children to Remlinger Farms – a local fair – because, well, exhaustion has killed the brain cells that judge our common sense. The highlights:

A donkey head-butted the Gremlin the chest:

The scene immediately post-headbutt

The Pickle got lost in one three foot square section of a hay maze

He seriously didn’t realize he could turn around and go back down this corridor. Whenever he would get to a dead end, he’d get mad and try to push it over.

There were rides – like the Dumbo ride that would spin around and you pulled the bar to raise the seats (only these were pumpkins), and the teacup spinners (the Gremlin’s favorite)


For some reason I have a really weird smile here, but the Gremlin was happy

There were go-karts

His first go-kart

And go-karts for adults

Yep, I got the chopper



Growing Pains

The Gremlin and I headed out Monday for our annual camping trip. Even with the egregiously bad roads on the way, we headed towards Middle Fork campground at the behest of the Gremlin. We planned on sneaking into one of the drive-off spots on the way to the campground so as to avoid the congestion and cost (not that last time we went I reserved a 3-party campground or anything…). We ended up at one of the most beautiful spots I’ve seen even while hiking.

How close we were to the river

View from the riverbank from our tent

Additionally, the Gremlin received a new surprise. Because the Mother of the Gremlin and I feel that we’re not living as quite as dangerously as we should be, I surprised the Gremlin with a bow and arrow set. This has turned into one of the cooler presents of the year, and every activity we did from then on had some component of  shooting the bow and arrow involved.

An armed Gremlin – yikes!

While the camp was set up without incident, dinner also passed easily (though I’m sure the s’mores helped). We spent the evening running through trails left by previous campers, shooting the bow and arrow, throwing rocks in the river, shooting the bow and arrow, drawing pictures of what we were doing, shooting the bow and arrow, throwing things in the fire, and did I mention shooting the bow and arrow?

Did I mention the bow and arrow?

Finally, we retired to the tent where we took turns telling stories until we ran out and had to go to bed (surprisingly enough, the Gremlin ran out first, so it was still relatively close to bed time). Everything was going well – especially the rocks under the tent going well up into my back – until about 11pm when the Gremlin began rolling from side to side and saying, “no, nono!” with increasing emphasis. I shook the Gremlin awake and for the next hour tried to calm him down and get him back to sleep. Even the moon rising over the river and lighting up our campsite was no consolation to the Gremlin. I finally had to say the dreaded words:

“Well, do you want to go home?”
“Well, if you can’t get to sleep in the next few minutes, we should go – we can toss everything into the trunk and stow it correctly later.”

So with the clock ticking, the Gremlin went into “I’m going to try to go to sleep” mode, and – as you’d expect from someone who is worked up and trying as hard as they can to sleep – he failed immediately. So we began to break camp at midnight, cleaning up the site and the Gremlin helped hold the lantern, until it was time to pack up the car.

“I’m sorry buddy – we’re not going to get to go hiking tomorrow.”
“That’s okay, this is kind of a cool hike at night right now!”

Even being exhausted, scared, and upset he’s going home, the Gremlin had a great attitude and was still enjoying the moment – something I needed help with at the time too. It brightened my mood – especially the next morning (this morning): the Gremlin’s first day of school!