Empathy and the Gremlin

Brothers are a surprisingly polarizing issue. On one hand you tend to engage with parents, couples who want to have kids, and random people who think your baby is cute. The other type of people you meet are people who were traumatized by their sibling – older or younger.

A few weeks ago – before the arrival of the Pickle – the Gremlin was at the Woodland Park Zoo for one of their many child-friendly events. Some themed variation of this event occurs about every month or so, and the employees and planners at the zoo have throwing this type of event down pat. Among other things, they have ‘healthy’ freebies in various tables around the main entrance.

The Gremlin, also having this routine down, meandered up to the table that held the more healthy approximation of fruit roll-ups, and held out his hand. The wonderful employees the zoo has working these events was more than happy to oblige the Gremlin, and dropped one in his bag. By that time, the Mother of the Gremlin managed to move her obviously pregnant self over to herd the Gremlin away when the employee engaged the Gremlin with a sorrowful tone.

“Oh you’re going to be a big brother, huh?” The Gremlin nodded sadly.

The man looked around, picked up a handful of fruit roll-ups, and dumped them in the Gremlin’s bag.

“I’m sorry man!” The Gremlin nodded somberly and walked away.

Favorite Toy of the Week: “Franc” the teething giraffe (for the Pickle, but it allows the Gremlin to play more than watch his brother, so it’s always the first thing he grabs)

Brothers watching Curious George together in the morning


The Hoarding of the Fruit (Snacks)

The Gremlin is known for hoarding food in his room. I’m not sure if this is in preparation for 13 Baktun, or just a rainy day. The other day he was “making Mommy margaritas” and had a bag of limes in there (which, once discovered, the Mother of the Gremlin promptly raided so she could make margaritas).

Well, it so happens that our dear little foodie is such a terror at the grocery store that the only way we have found to keep him even semi-tame is to allow him one food treat he can buy and take home.

What the treat is usually depends on the area of the store he is in when he remembers he is usually allowed a treat. The other day, that happened to be right by the fruit snacks. This semi-gelatinous goodness had been a long-time favorite of the Gremlin’s, and it was even easier for him this time – they had Curious George fruit snacks, on sale.

After overcoming his initial paroxysm of delight, he happily clutched the box all the way to the checkout. And through the checkout (throwing such a fit the cashier was even acting timidly while using the hand-scanner on it…). And to the car.

Once the MOTG was finally parked, she wrested the box away from the tiny, vice-like paws of the Gremlin and was about to put it in one of her bags when she noticed it was a bit light. She turned to the Gremlin.

“Buddy, how many packages of fruit snacks did you get out of the box?”

“I ate two, momma, and put the third away for later.” The MOTG did the math in her head.

“Wait, how many did you eat?”

“Two, momma!”

“Where did the third one go?” The Gremlin avoided making eye contact, trying not to tell the MOTG. But she pressed again. “Buddy. Where is the other package?”

“In my pants.” The MOTG rolled her eyes. She flipped his coat off to the side and felt around in his pocket. Nothing. She turned the other pocket inside out. Still nothing.

“Buddy, do you remember what daddy says about lying?” He knew the answer to this one, and answered with enthusiasm.

“It’s bad!”

“That’s right buddy, so I want you to tell me where the last package of fruit snacks is.”

“Momma, it’s in my pants.”

“I just looked in your pants.”

“No, momma, ” the Gremlin laughed, thinking about how silly his mother was being, “not there. In my pants.”

The MOTG got the idea, and gave a little tug on each side of his hips. The Gremlin’s cargo pants dropped to the floor and the package of fruit snacks slid over to his mother’s foot. He reached down and picked it up.

“Momma, I share that with you.”

“No, thanks, buddy. You can go ahead and have it.”

“Oh, thank you momma, I’m so happy!”

So the MOTG loaded up her bags, and started off, the Gremlin contentedly munching on his fruit snacks. As she walked down the street to the condo, cars honked and whistled as they went by. Not seeing any cars in the middle of the road, or accidents, the MOTG shrugged it off and called for the Gremlin to keep up. Suddenly, she was disturbed by a man running up behind her.

“Excuse me, ma’am?” The MOTG turned to face this new obstacle between her and her lunch. (Funny how they both get really cranky when they don’t eat.)

“I think your son is having some issues with his pants.” The MOTG turned to look, and saw the Gremlin was still doing his best to keep up with her, running as best he could. It seems that, unburdened by the added bulk the single package of fruit snacks added to the Gremlin’s waistline, his pants had fallen to the sidewalk, and were beginning to come down and turn inside out over his shoes. Apparently the cars had been honking due to the miniature waddling pictures of Thomas and Friends on our son’s tighty-whities.

The MOTG took this in for a minute and then put all her groceries down, but the Gremlin strode past her.

“Momma, hurry up! I want McDonald’s!” He hadn’t said anything because he wanted to go get lunch as much as his mother had. And he rocked the Thomas undies proudly.