Talking and Dancing

The other day the Pickle declared he was not a brother: “I not a brubber! I Pipple!”

He also now does his “ninja dance” which consists of him saying “hee-yah”, running five feet, and jumping up in the air, and slamming down with as much force as he can. If we ask him not to do ninja moves, he says ‘okay’ and then when we try and talk to him about it again claims to have been ‘dancing.’



So we may have confused the Pickle this year. It started with my mother coming in town two weeks before his birthday, and a planned trip to visit the Mother of the Pickle’s family over his birthday, the Pickle ended up with two annual celebrations. For the first one, we had a very small party – the five of us went to a local park and grilled out, partied with a pinata, did some hiking, and had one of the best cakes ever. Two short weeks later we were back in Chicago doing a very similar thing – a family/friends gathering with presents, fireworks, and even more cake (the cup kind).

So when we left for the day today, and I was queried by the curious youngster on our destination, I wanted to try to relate it to him and make sure he knew where we were going.

“Do you remember for your birthday we went to a park?”


“We’re going back to that park.”

“Oh-KAY!” I should have realized there that something was up – if only by the exuberance in his voice, but the tiny two-year old turned and talked to his brother.


Thankfully there were no tears shed as we cleared up that misunderstanding (at least until he demanded the ice cream/cake desert we did not have), but it was interesting to see the connection between the park and the events there.

No! That’s For Brother!

With the Gremlin in all-day kindergarten, the Pickle is finding himself the center of attention during the day. He goes on errands to the bank, fun trips to the park, and even shopping with his mother. But just because the Gremlin is out of sight, doesn’t mean he’s out of the Pickle’s mind. Just the other day the little terror himself found himself in Target when the unthinkable happened. Another boy, about his brother’s age, decided to look at the Legos too.

The Pickle was immediately on the offensive, walking up to the boy and looking him over. The boy did not know how to deal with the minuscule monster and tried to ignore him and look at the first set – a Lego Monster Fighters set. The Pickle was having none of this.

“Nono! Brubbers! Brubbers!” And he snatched the set off the shelf, tottered over to the cart, and stretched up to dump it in his cart. The boy looked surprised – most likely unable to decipher ‘brubber’ to ‘brother’ so he moved on to the second of the four sets – a Chima set. Again, as soon as he crouched in front of it, the Pickle ran over shouting, ‘NO!’

Again, he appropriated the set, dumped it into his cart, and monitored the other child. Finally, the boy approached the Ninjago set.

“No! Ninjago! Ninjago is for brubber!” The Pickle went for the set again but the boy had now turned his attention.

“What? You know Ninjago?”

“Ninjago, Kai, Zane, Jay!”

“Oh, wow,  you’re the coolest little brother. I don’t think I can even be mad!”

Goodnight Ritual

We’ve recently run into the issue of having two young children going to bed at relatively the same time. The Mother of the Gremlin and I were concerned that the younger would incite the elder child, and that neither would stay up. Unfortunately, due to the recent ‘week of the stomach flu’ it was a sad necessity. We held off as long as we could, but the Pickle was still stirring when the Gremlin finally climbed under the blankets. We paused outside the door – waiting to hear if we needed to go back in, and heard the following.

“Pickle! It’s night time! Go to sleep!”
“Ugh, Pickle, yes, it’s me. I guess I l-, well, go to sleep.”
“Aga oo eeeeee!”
“Fine! I love you Pickles!”
“Ubrabru aeieeeeee, oo uh uh!”
“Oh, fine, I’ll tell you a goodnight story. Now, there were two ninjas – Kai, and Zane. They went to go meet Sensei Wu-”

It was at this point that I had to go lay back down again, and the Mother of the Gremlin went to go do homework. She returned a few minutes later to ensure everything was calming down.

“-and then Cole jumped on the evil skeleton and kicked him in the face!” The MOTG peeked in to see the Pickle passed out on his bed, and the Gremlin still going strong.

“So Cole ran back to where Kai, Zane, and Sensei Wu were…” The MOTG left him, and once the week of the flu passed, we both felt better about putting them to bed together.

He’s Such A … Good Big Brother?

When we first found out that the Mother of the Gremlin was pregnant, we were extremely concerned that the Gremlin himself would not be a very good big brother. This was not in the least because the Gremlin is a picky, bossy tyrant of a 5 year-old, but rather from the fact that to function, he requires his life be scheduled to the minute – somewhat akin to Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory.

It was an amazing surprise when the Pickle arrived and the Gremlin … loved him. The best anecdote we have of this to date is the fact that wherever we drive, the Gremlin will always reach over across car seats and hold the Pickle’s hand.

Now this is not to say that we have been sitting back and just hoping the Gremlin would magically come to enjoy his brother’s company. We had been putting enough time and energy into preparing him for his brother’s arrival that had we been alternatively tasked to create alternative energy or create peace in the Middle East, we would have put big oil out of business and be given the Nobel Peace Prize. One of the things we had been talking to him about was if he or his brother got in trouble.

“So buddy, we need you to keep calm more than anything – if you’re yelling or whining we can’t understand you. But just stay calm and tell us what you saw. You won’t get in trouble, and we’ll get your brother fixed up, okay?”

We weren’t sure if this was soaking in or not until Thursday. Everyone was going about their daily routines – the Father of the Gremlin was diligently working (and by that I mean, writing an update for this site), and the MOTG, Gremlin, and the Pickle were packed in the car on their way to CostCo. They had just pulled onto the expressway when the Gremlin piped up.

“Mumma, you should pull over and take a look at Pickles. I think he has something in his mouth and now he can’t breath.” The MOTG looked back, and the Gremlin calmly smiled up at her – holding his brother’s hand – and there were normal signs of stirring from the Pickle’s car seat. The MOTG was skeptical, but the Gremlin seemed very sure.

Once she pulled over and walked around the car, the MOTG did not manage to stay as calm as the Gremlin. The Pickle’s face was moving from dark red to purple, and he was swinging and jumping, trying to move in his car seat. The MOTG fished around his mouth, and managed to extract a wood chip that had become lodged in the Pickle’s throat. Once it was removed the Pickle began to breath again, right up to when he made a lunge that grabbed the wood chip and tried to again stuff it in his mouth.

The MOTG safely disposed of the wood chip, and made an inspection of the car seat and clothing to ensure no further playground-related items would be able to be inserted into the Pickle’s airway. She got back in the car and started down the road.

“Thank you very much for telling me that, buddy, you probably just saved your brother’s life.” The Gremlin just smiled, and kept holding onto his brother’s hand.

Pickle Update and Working Hard (Or Hardly Working)

With a 7 month-old crawling Pickle, the attentions of the Mother and Father of the Gremlin have turned to such fun activities like: ‘Making Sure Pickle Doesn’t Pull the Flatscreen Down’ and ‘Making Sure Pickle Doesn’t Fall Down the Front Stairs.’

This has kept the Gremlin acting out looking for attention. Through various tantrums and other authority-defying actions the MOTG first figured out what he was doing and asked him about it.

“Buddy, do you think you were good?”

“Not even remotely.”

“Yeah, it feels like you didn’t even try.”

“Mumma, sometimes there’s no point in even trying.”

Favorite Toy of the Week: Lego Star Wars Droid Escape

Pickle Update – My Brother Taught Me How To Defend Myself

The Pickle has been developing steadily, from control of his hands to basic vocalizations. We had been working on ‘ba-ba’ – the word his brother the Gremlin used for ‘pacifier’ and the Pickle seemed to have picked this up. He’s been duplicating that sound twice, and the Mother of the Gremlin and I joked that it almost sounded like he was saying ‘ba ba ma-ma.’ And then she put him down for the night.

The MOTG fed the Pickle, made sure his diaper was changed, swaddled him in a blanket and set him in the crib. At this point I was not there, however the MOTG swears the Pickle spit out his pacifier, looked up at her and enunciated

“Bad, bad ma-ma!”

This is not the only disturbing trend we noticed this week. The two thrift stores by us are probably two of the best in Seattle – they’re in a family neighborhood where the average income is above the mean. This means there are many great deals to be found, which then inspires the MOTG to make the rounds at least once a week.

While at the busier store, the MOTG had the Pickle in ‘exploration mode,’ so named because he finally (and enthusiastically) faces out towards the world instead of cuddling up to his momma. He was busy taking it all in when he spotted The Enemy. The Pickle exploded at the sight, waving his arms, kicking his legs, shouting in his best danger voice at the top of his lungs!

The Enemy was at the other end of the aisle, also in ‘exploration mode,’ and holding…. Franc the teething giraffe. That’s right – there was another baby, with the Pickle’s toy!

Both mothers thought this behavior to be somewhat entertaining, and approached each other to allow further exploration. The Pickle, realizing he was closing in on his target, began to calm down and calculate his next move. Just as soon as the other Franc was in range, the Pickle made his brother proud.

He reached out with both hands and caught the other baby’s teething giraffe. He then pulled it away, and began to shake the giraffe up and down. The mothers and other people in the aisle thought this was entertaining until they realized that Franc the giraffe was delivering rather harsh blows to the other baby – each punctuated by the squeak of the teething toy’s noisemaker.

The mothers stopped any additional damage from being inflicted, however they then made the mistake of attempting to get the kids to ‘play nice’ together. This involved giving Franc right back to the Pickle.

He again immediately grabbed the neck of the giraffe and began pounding it against the other child with a squeak, squeak, squeak! They were broken up much more quickly this time, however the Pickle was so upset about losing his Franc that the MOTG had to take him home to show him that he did, indeed, have his own Franc.

Favorite Toy of the Week: Franc the Giraffe (aka Sophie)