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!”

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Uniform Confusion

In the mass toy-palooza that was Christmas, the Gremlin overlooked one very small, but very important thing: Uncle Zach’s Target  mini-Lego set.

When he pulled it out early this week, he re-assembled the Target dog (one of the 3 options), and then decided his favorite option of the set was to build a polar bear, and have him be halfway through building the snowman (the other 2 options).

It was during clean-up time when he was done with this that he found the box had a nifty trick to it.

“Daddy, what’s this?”

“It looks like a gift ca….uh-I don’ t know buddy. Let me see it.”

“GIFT CARD?!”

This ultimately led to several hours of looking through the Lego magazine and comparing prices and quantities to determine what the Gremlin could afford with his newfound wealth. Just when the Mother of the Gremlin and I didn’t think we could take another minute of comparing weapons between Cole and Jay, we turned the page to find the bad guys, or – even worse – Dinosaur or Star Wars Legos (“Can I get a Star Wars guy and a Ninja set? What if I got this set and this set? Or I could get this set because this weapon is cooler, but I like this guy’s costume better, but this is the guy I wanted, so maybe I could get him too in the separate pack?”).

After an arduous time of deliberation, comparing weapons to weapons and sets to weapons, and guys to sets, and weapons to guys, and guys to weapons, and weapons to weapons, and sets to guys, and weapons to sets and weapons to guys, and everything else 50 times over, the Gremlin was pretty sure he knew what he wanted. He decided he was ready to go to Target and… actually look at them in real life.

The tension built throughout the trip. Due to previous experiences, the Gremlin now has to take his turn at shopping last. He sat patiently through the grocery shopping, and started to squirm during the shopping for the Pickle, and was about to burst when he was finally released to tear down the aisle, fly past the girls toys and skid to a halt to find…

The Lego aisle was completely cleaned out.

The Gremlin whirled around.

“They’re GONE!” The Mother of the Gremlin knew he was about to go into Full Meltdown and jumped in to calm him down.

“Well, let’s get someone who works here to look in the back for more.” The Gremlin considered this carefully and finally sniffed and nodded in agreement.

“How do you tell if someone works here?”

“They’ll be wearing a red shirt.” The Gremlin, armed with this information, marched off on his mission. He zeroed in on the first red shirt he saw and stormed up to the man.

“Hey! Mister! Why don’t you have any Legos?!”

“Umm, I don’t know – I think there should be some here….”

“No! The ones I want are gone!”

“Oh, I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be sorry – do something about it! Go look in the back!”

“I don’t think I can do that.”

“Yes you can, go back there and use your eyes!”

“I can’t go in the back, I don’t work here.”

“Then why are you wearing a red shirt?”

“Yeah, good point…”

The Gremlin turned to the MOTG, “we need to find someone who works at Target.”

Almost as soon as he said that, he spotted another person in a red shirt. He stormed up to the next man.

“Do you work at Target?”

“Yeah.”

“Are you sure?”

“Well, yeah, that’s what it says on my nametag.”

“Oh, that’s how you tell! Well, then, can you help me find something?”

“What do you need?”

“The Training Set.”

“Uh, okay, do you know where it is on the shelves?”

“Yes!”

“Great, where?”

“GONE!”

After a mildly entertaining ‘who’s on first’ routine about the location of the set, they finally made it over to the shelves and found the tag by the empty area pointing to the Lego Ninjago Training Outpost. Showing none in the back, they ordered one to the store, and the Gremlin got first crack at the new shipment.

And now paces around Target employees to find their badge.

Language Barriers Redux

The Gremlin has had his share of cross-cultural encounters, however throughout his travels he had never left anyone baffled – at least until a few weeks ago.

While the Gremlin was on the Best Vacation Ever, he found that he highly enjoyed traveling on the elevator and pushing the buttons for the other people staying in the hotel.

Since then, he has been adamant about pushing both the buttons to call the elevator and then again to go to a specific floor. This is usually received with mild amusement when it’s noticed at all. When it isn’t noticed and the Gremlin gets upset, he’s usually able to push the buttons once he gets inside the elevator.

One fateful trip to Target, however, there was a well-dressed Korean family that either had few or no English-speaking members present at the time. They beat the Gremlin to the ‘push’ and called the elevator. The Gremlin began his regular wail and stomp, but calmed down after he was assured he would be able to push the button for the floor.

The Koreans, however, were oblivious, and discussing amongst themselves. The double-wide elevator came, and the Korean family stepped forward as they were in front just as the Gremlin ran inside. Unfortunately, they were still closer to the buttons than he was and managed to push the button for the floor faster than he did.

This caused the pent-up meltdown to burst forth, and the Gremlin began yelling. The unfortunate mother of the family who had pushed the button was horrified, as the Gremlin ran up after her to push the button again, and then yell more.

We have been working with him to ‘use his words’ more and more, yet this seemed to be the one case that the Gremlin explaining to the woman why he was upset did not help anything. The Koreans began speaking in very hushed tones that grew more and more agitated. Meanwhile, the lack of response was only upsetting the Gremlin more, and he was now screaming.

The situation got so out of control that the Mother of the Gremlin decided to remove the Gremlin from the situation. She ushered him off the elevator, and the distraught family – confused from all the yelling – followed. Once the elevators had closed, the family had decided to try again, and did the unthinkable sin.

They pushed the button again.

The doors re-opened to the Gremlin in full-on tantrum mode, screaming hysterically at the doors and elevator call button.

Amidst much hushed conversation, the Korean family decided to take the stairs.

Favorite Toy of the Week: Lego Space Police

The Gremlin reading to his Brother

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!”