Wednesday, March 15, 2006
The “Gordon” Rule: Diary of a Bad Idea
Sunday I got to go to Target all by myself and in my “nobody’s bugging me” bliss, I naturally thought of the kids and picked up one of those little Thomas the Train pieces (The ones about which my husband always says, “We should not even start buying all of that crap!”). I bought “Gordon”, my Little One’s second favorite train (after “Percy”, which I got for him a few weeks ago much to my husband’s chagrin). “Gordon” has a freight car that hooks to him magnetically. It seemed like a good idea. I thought I was being a nice Mom. But not so fast…
Unfortunately I had no way of predicting that that very night I would be woken from a deep, dreaming sleep at 1:30 in the morning by the Little One standing over me (“Gordon” in hand) saying in a loud, wide-awake voice, “Mama! Mama! I need you to help me find the freight car!”
I got up and found the freight car right on his bed (he’d gone to sleep with “Gordon” and the freight car, but “Percy” had been banished to the floor), handed it to him, kissed him and told him it was the middle of the night and he needed to go back to sleep. Life was good in dreamland for about an hour and a half when it sounded like the little one was crying and shouting “Mama! Mama!”
So I jumped out of bed and ran to his room to see what was wrong. And when I got there, he said (in a very bright, happy and wide awake voice), “Mama, Gordon is going through the tunnel… but the freight car’s not going in the tunnel… but Percy is a mad train… he has mad eyebrows… but Gordon’s not mad… Gordon’s a happy train...”
Mama, however, was not a happy train at this juncture.
I know it sounds cute, but at 3:00 in the morning, it really isn’t. Trust me. So through clinched teeth and with the best manners I could muster, I whispered loudly, “Listen! It’s the middle of the night! Mama does not talk about trains in the middle of the night! Go to sleep!”
By Monday night I was sure the novelty had worn off, and the Little One went to sleep with “Gordon”, “Percy,” the freight car, and various other heavy machinery. I was sleeping very soundly at about 3:00 when I heard him crying and I ran in only to hear him say, “Mama I can’t find Gordon.”
I was annoyed and felt several little toys next to him and said, “They’re all right here! Now go to sleep!”
I shuffled back to bed and the second I dozed off, he cried again, and when I got in there he said he couldn’t find Gordon. I couldn’t actually find him either, but I said I would not look for him until morning. “NOW FOR THE LOVE OF GOD GO TO SLEEP!” I begged.
On Tuesday I had to return/exchange some things and the plot thickened when he found a “Bob the Builder” set that had “Scoop” in it. For those not hip to the Bob scene, Scoop is a yellow backhoe. We have a yellow backhoe which the Little One calls “Scoop,” but he finally learned that his was just not up to par because, “it doesn’t have a face on it.”
And he shouted, bawled and stomped because I said we weren’t taking it home. He was screaming at the top of his lungs at Target, and frankly, I was so shocked that I kept having to turn my head away from him to laugh. He screamed non-stop until we got home.
On the bright side, I got to bond with a fellow mommy. The cashier eyed the marshmallow peeps I’d gotten for their Easter baskets, gestured toward my screaming child and asked, “Peeps?”
To which I replied, “No, Scoop.”
“Ah,” she nodded sympathetically, “with my kid it would have been the Peeps.”
Already being embarrassed I didn’t share that I have another kid who would have been screaming about the Peeps, but (praise God) it was a school day.
When we got home I assumed the Little One had tired himself out because he just crumpled on my lap and snuggled silently for a long time. Or rather I thought we were snuggling… I realized he was actually just calculating his next move when he meekly and sweetly looked up and asked, “Mama, can we go to Target and get Scoop today?”
I said (strategically), ” Why don’t we find Gordon?”
To which he (victoriously) exclaimed, “No! I don’t want Gordon! I want Scoop!”
And he’s the easy-to-get-along-with person in our family.
So now I can’t help but wonder if those nutty people who don’t let their kids watch TV might be onto something. What’s worse, I’ve realized that eventually I’m going to have to say those dreaded words to my husband… You were so right about those damn things!
Every time we’ve left the house since Operation Target Trauma, the Little One starts crying anew, “We need to go get Scoop!” So I’ve been reduced to taking up chanting to take my mind off of wanting to toss him out of the moving vehicle. Here’s my mantra: Persistence is a good quality... It will serve him well in life. Persistence is a good quality… It will serve him well in life. As of today everyone’s life and limbs are intact, but “Gordon” is still waking me up at night, so if you read about me in the paper one of these days… this blog is my defense. Umm… Your honor? I tried not to go completely insane. I really really tried.