30 July 2011

Why, I Oughtta...

Eamon Wolfe has learned to Count, and the world is his oyster. Nothing is beyond his grasp, because with the skill of the Counting comes the power of the Negotiation.

ME: Eamon, would you like a pretzel?
EAMON: No, THREE pretzels.
ME: How about TWO pretzels?
EAMON: No, FIVE pretzels.
ME: Points for moxy, but no dice, kiddo. Here are your two pretzels.

(Be quiet. If I never talk to him like that, he’ll never grow up to become a 1930s movie gangster with a heart of gold, and then what was the point?)

With great Counting comes great Responsibility.

Of course, with less than great counting comes…great amusement. Well, for me.

EAMON: Wake up, Daddy! Wake up, wake up, wake up!
AARON: Ugh. Five more minutes, Eamon.
EAMON: Okay, Daddy. One, two…
AARON: I didn’t mean literally.
EAMON: Fwee, five, six, seben…
ME: What happened to four?
EAMON: Four, eight, nine, ten, eweven…uh…eweven…um…eweven…WAKE UP, DADDY!
ME: He went to eleven. That’s more than fair. You said five.
AARON: Everyone go away.

I was amused, anyway. One out of three ain’t bad.

Now that he has learned the art of the Negotiation, Eamon cannot help but extend it beyond the Counting into the most important realm of all: Toys.

EAMON: Where go now, Mommy?
ME: We’re going to Target.
EAMON: Why go Target?
ME: You need more diapers.
EAMON: Okay, more dippers. And pants.
ME: Pants? You need pants?
EAMON: Yes, okay. Pants.
ME: Okay, pants.
EAMON: And toys.
ME: You don’t need any more toys. You have a ton of toys.
EAMON: Yes, right, toys. Go Toys R Us, Mommy.
ME: No, we’re going to Target.
EAMON: Okay, Toys R Us.
ME: No, Eamon. TARGET. Not Toys R Us.
EAMON: (large sigh) Okay, Mommy. Target first. Then Toys R Us.
ME: No, no Toys R Us. Just Target.
EAMON: Right, Target. (quietly) Then Toys R Us.

We went to Target. We bought diapers. We bought some pajama pants. And afterwards, as we drove from the parking lot:

EAMON: Mommy! Toys R Us!
ME: We were never going to Toys R Us.
EAMON: (crossing arms) Hmph!

Aw, chin up, kiddo. Today was a tough break, for sure, but keep your nose clean and in no time, you’ll be running the show. Just a few years. Maybe eweven.

In the meantime, I have this great James Cagney movie we can watch.

My, what an innocent looking piles of blankets and toys (See?! He has a ton of toys!)

Oh my goodness! Could it be...?

Nope, it was just my imagination. Just an innocent pile of blankets and toys after all. (It's not my fault he was disappointed. I never said we were going to Toys R Us.)

Hey! It is! It's Eamon Wolfe! (Okay, so we bought a toy at Target. Who am I kidding? He already runs the show. Hmph.)

24 July 2011

Potty, what?

Recently, Eamon has developed a strange habit in which he inserts the word “What” after many words or phrases. For example:

MOMMY: Eamon, let’s put on your Captain America shirt.
EAMON: Cappin Merka, what?

MOMMY: Eamon, were you being facetious?
EAMON: Eamon feshus, what?

On paper, it looks dignified, rather like the genteel speech of a nineteenth century English nobleman.

In reality, he sounds more like Dave Chappelle's impression of Lil Jon.

(For those of you who do not know Lil Jon, Wikipedia tells us that he is an American rapper, music producer, and entrepreneur known for the genres hip hop and crunk. In the words of Eamon: “Crunk, what?” So while Mr. Lil John has been successful in his own right, those of you who have heard him speak know that he is perhaps not the most articulate of all celebrities).

Whenever Eamon does not understand something someone says, he dutifully repeats it in his quest to tame the English language, but always adds the “what” afterwards.

Unfortunately, being so young, there are a lot of things that he doesn’t really understand.

One of them is the potty.

Eamon has a potty. A cool little brightly-colored Elmo potty. It has a button on the front that you can push to hear encouragement from Elmo, and it lives in our upstairs bathroom.

Eamon uses it to store his dinosaurs.

Sometimes, he sits on it. He insists on being stripped down to his birthday suit, then sits on the potty, proud as can be, until about five minutes later he gets bored and gets off. At no point does he actually, well, use the potty. To him, it’s just a decorative chair for naked relaxation time.

I feel kind of bad for Eamon because, as smart as he is, he just doesn't get it. I don’t think he even knows when he has to go pee, as he looks rather shocked and amazed whenever he accidentally starts peeing in the shower. He has told us that he doesn’t want to wear diapers anymore, but has yet to understand the connection to using the potty. He might be emotionally ready to stop wearing diapers, but he is nowhere near physically or intellectually ready to start using the potty.

But yesterday, Eamon got to see his cousin Lucas. Lucas is a Big Boy, three months older than Eamon, and is potty-training and doing a great job with it. Lucas is Proud to Be Diaper Free. While poor Eamon had to sit through the indignity of having a stinky diaper changed in front of a handful of family members, Lucas could toddle off to the privacy of a bathroom to take care of his personal business.

I think this might have inspired Eamon. At least, I’m hoping that’s what inspired Eamon during this morning’s episode:

MOMMY: (entering Eamon’s room, immediately smelling a stinky diaper) Eamon, did you go stinky?
EAMON: Yes. Mommy, hands. Hands all dirty! (Shows Mommy his hands)
M: Why are your hands so dirty? What did you…oh no.
E: (confidently) Eamon go stinky. Eamon change diaper. Eamon help.
M: (spluttering) But there’s poop…oh my gosh…Eamon…it’s EVERYWHERE.
E: (not as confidently) Eamon change diaper. Eamon…help?
M: Oh my gosh…

We stripped the bed. We stripped the kid. And you can’t get mad because…he was trying to Help. He was trying to take The Next Step.

He was trying to be a Big Boy. But he just doesn’t get it.

Potty, what? Sigh.

Someday, kid. Someday.

21 July 2011

Cookies and Bugs, Darn it!

Every day, Eamon learns new words and phrases.

Some he loves, like “Darn it!” Anytime anything slightly does not go his way, there’s a squeaky little “Darn it!” This should probably appall me, but instead I find it rather adorable. I mean, “Darn it” is an acceptable alternative to other particular phrases, right?

But even with the inclusion of this watered-down exclamation, Eamon still isn’t learning new words and phrases fast enough for his taste.

So he’s resorted to making them up.

Yesterday, for instance, he had a runny nose and kept shaking his head. Finally, he marched up to my mother and announced, “Nini! Bugs. Inna ear.”

A bit taken aback, my mother asked for further explanation.

Far too often, Eamon finds that he has to explain things to the adults around him, a tedious responsibility that has probably prompted the inclusion of “Darn it!” into his vocabulary.

“Bugs, Nini! In Eamon’s ear! BUGS!” Everyone knows that saying something again and louder is a perfectly valid method of further explanation here in America.

Later, my mom used the otoscope to check in Eamon’s ears, and while there were no 6-legged invertebrates having a tea party in there, there was some cloudy fluid. So yes, he has a slight cold. And yes, even though I had never thought about it that way before, that can feel like having small bugs flying around inside your ear.

Then this morning, Eamon informed me that in addition to his “Bugs inna ear” syndrome, he also had “Cookies inna nose!”

(On a side note, as I changed a poopy diaper, he also informed me that it was my job to “Take out cookies, Mommy! Take outta Eamon’s nose!” I explained that there are only so many gross bodily functions I can handle at one time, and he was on his own with the nose-cookies.)

Why cookies? Why bugs? How on earth should I know? Eamon has yet to reach that level of metacognition--or if he has, he has yet to be able to string it together using only one syllable words.

But despite his current lack of a robust vocabulary, the kid undoubtedly has a vibrant imagination.

At the mall last weekend, we stopped to look at one of his favorite sites: the letters of the EXPRESS store. The E starts on the ground and they go up vertically until the S hits the ceiling. Eamon loves these large letters. He touched the E and proudly announced, “E!” He touched the X and said, “X!” He stood on his tiptoes and brushed the P with his fingertip, and then he couldn’t reach the rest. He turned me. “Mommy! Lift up! Eamon touch letters!”

I assured him that I could get him to the R and maybe the next E, but the last two were beyond hope.

Eamon thought, and within seconds had a solution.

“Eamon fly up. Touch ceiling.”

I started to explain that this was rather unrealistic, but apparently it is only unrealistic if you are a sensible grown-up, because in the instant I blinked, he DID fly up and touch the ceiling. I know this only because the next thing I heard was, “OW! Eamon bump head on ceiling! Oh no. Darn it! Come back down. Walk on floor.”

He then took my hand, and off we went to lunch.

16 July 2011

And Lo, the Giant Tyrannosaurus Trembled and Ran Meekly Inna Table

Every morning, the story grows bigger.


“Mommy!” cries Eamon, as I walk in the door to greet him after waking. “Red Claw!”

Of course, you know who Red Claw is, don’t you? How could you not? Doesn’t everyone watch hours and hours of Land Before Time, in which there are many villains who threaten the peace and sanctuary of the valley, but none so vicious and cruel as the infamous T-Rex Red Claw? Of course you do.

“What about Red Claw?” I ask.

“Inna table!” he whispers, pointing at his dresser/changing table.

“Red Claw is in your table?” I query.

Eamon nods. We check the table, even when the table proves absent of any gigantic, long-extinct therapods, Eamon just shakes his head. “Hiding,” he tells me.


Enter Mommy, first thing in the morning.

“Shh!” cautions Eamon. “Eamon scared!”

“Why are you scared?” I whisper back.

“Red Claw! Inna table!”

“Red Claw is in the table again?”

“No,” says Eamon. A slight smile plays upon his lips before he remembers he’s supposed to be scared and returns to an expression of utter terror. “TWO Red Claws! Inna drawer!”


“Good morning, Eamon!”

Eamon quickly throws down the book that he has been "reading" to entertain himself, and assumes his terrified expression as per his new morning habit. Improvising quickly, he pulls his blanket up around him as if trying to hide. “Mommy! Two Red Claws! Running! Eamon scared!”

“The Red Claws were running?”

“Chasing Eamon! Oh no! Eamon scared!”

“I’m sorry that the two Red Claws were chasing you last night.”

Eamon nods solemnly. Then he throws off the blanket and stands up proudly in his bed. “Eamon say, ‘No Red Claw! No bite me, Eamon!’” He waggles a little finger as he recreates how he told off two giant, slavering and starving carnivores.

“You told the Red Claws not to bite you?”


“And then what happened?”

“Ran away! Inna table!” He smiles triumphantly, then adds, for emphasis, “Hah!”

In a few more days, I expect that we will be up to a sword-fight taking place on a narrow bridge overlooking a moat of razor-toothed alligators.

I have often been accused of being too lazy to reign in my own rather wild imagination. It is better at having adventures than I am, which is why I am content to let it be in charge. I generally prefer to simply follow my imagination wherever it leads rather than standing up to it and acknowledging the actual world around me. Off we go, my imagination seated proudly on the prancing Rozinante, while I follow behind, occasionally remembering the basics like food and shelter.

So I can only be ecstatic that Eamon appears to have a similar imagination. Together we can ride off into the sunset, defeating nefarious windmills and lecturing nonexistent Red Claws on the impoliteness of biting small children.

Somebody has to.

10 July 2011

Painted Wings and Giant Rings

My parents stumbled onto My Gym over a year ago, and Eamon has been going since before he could walk. He went through the “Tiny Tykes” and the “Waddlers” onto the “Gymsters” and has just graduated to the “Terrific Tots.”

And boy, is the Terrific Tots different. In all the previous levels, the instructors have a variety of activities bookended by two 5-10 minute “Circle Times.” During Circle Time, the parents sit in a big circle on the floor, children on laps, and the instructor sings songs and plays games while the parents attempt to get their children to play along. Some do, but most sit there looking a little confused or daydreaming in their own little worlds. Sometimes the kids wander away completely, and no one really comments.

In Terrific Tots, however, the children sit on a mat. By themselves. The parents are nearby, but not actively clutching the children like in the previous levels. The instructor explains the directions while the children listen, and then (here is the fun part) wait their turn to participate in the activity. And if a child gets off the mat, the instructor stops everything and reminds the child to wait patiently on the mat.

So when my mother told me that Eamon was being promoted into the Terrific Tots class, I admit that I had my doubts. Eamon is…well, a 3 foot tall ball of energy. It’s not that he can’t focus…it’s actually just that he finds almost everything interesting and wants to explore all of it. He wants to meet everyone and enjoy all that life has to offer…and I just wasn’t sure how that was going to fit in with him sitting still on a mat and listening to directions.

When my mom called me right after the new gym class with her report, I didn’t have high hopes. But Eamon came through with flying colors. He only had to be reminded to sit on his mat twice, and each time got back on the mat quickly and quietly (like he really had plain forgotten, not that he was being defiant). He listened to all the directions, did his best in all the activities, and apparently charmed everyone after doing a hand-stand (with assistance) by standing up afterwards, throwing out his arms gymnast style and exclaiming, “TADAAAA! Eamon did it!”

Even so, I was pretty sure that it might have been a fluke. A one-time thing because the class was new and he was around older children he wanted to impress.

This past Friday, I took him to the gym myself, back to his old Gymsters class because the Friday Terrific Tots class is full.

When the instructors called Circle Time, Eamon ran over and sat on the circle without even waiting for me. As the instructor went through the routine, he listened and followed every single direction…without any help from me. He laughed when she told a joke, he answered when she asked a question.

I watched the other moms and dads, wrestling with their 2 year olds, trying to help them understand that it was time to jump (Eamon had already been hopping for a good minute), or to stand on their beanbag (Eamon did this immediately, turned to me and shouted, “Where it go, Mommy? All gone!” then opened his feet and yelled, “Dere it is!”), or to sit and listen to the story without wandering away (Eamon planted himself front and center in front of Miss Allison and watched the entire story with rapt attention).

And I realized…Eamon is a Terrific Tot.

For all you parents out there, you probably already know how it feels, when you realize that your child is stepping out of Toddlerhood and into the Little Kid Era. The overwhelming pride (“That’s my little man!”). The gigantic sense of relief (“Thank heaven we made it through!”). The thrill of excitement (“Think about all the things we can do now!”)

And the tiny but tenacious thread of despair as you realize that every day he becomes more independent, he needs you just a little less.

The other day before bedtime, I was reading Eamon a story called Where is Baby's Birthday Cake? I tried to insert the word “Eamon” instead of “baby.”

“No, mommy,” Eamon said pointedly. “BABY. Not EAMON.”

“But you’re my baby!” I said.

Eamon just shook his head. “No baby, mommy.”

“Then what are you?”

He responded without hesitation, “Eamon. I EAMON.” He then looked at me as if I was an idiot, not knowing who my own kid was, a look I expect I’ll be getting more and more often.

So I finished reading the book, word-for-word as written.

But secretly, defiantly, whenever I read the word “baby” out loud, I thought, “Eamon” in my head. I then tucked him into bed, managed to sing “Puff the Magic Dragon” (his favorite bedtime song) without crying or explaining the irony to my sleepy 2 ½ year old, and kissed my darling boy goodnight.

01 July 2011

A Sense of Humor Only a Mother Could Love

I am happy to report that Eamon continues his study of comedy, but has decided to infuse it with his own special geeky twist.

Hence, this joke the other day:

EAMON: Stop sign, daddy! Stop sign octagon!

DADDY: Yep, a stop sign is an octagon.

EAMON: Octagon three sides, Daddy!


EAMON: Haha! Octagon three sides! Eamon CWAZY!

You might remember my hope that Eamon would one day find this particular ion joke funny. I think we are well on our way, folks. Any two year old who finds the idea of a 3-sided octagon hysterical…well, that is a two year old after my own heart.

And let me just say, thank goodness he’s such a cute little guy. Maybe it will (somewhat) help to offset the budding nerdiness. In the meantime, Eamon Wolfe, I find you absolutely adorable and hysterical, even if you have a sense of humor that only a(n equally nerdy) mother could love.


I record these toddler ideas of a joke not because they necessarily belong in the golden tomes of comedy classics beside "Take my wife...please" but because I want to give VH1 plenty of material when they do the Behind the Comedy of Eamon Wolfe's life. And I didn't feel like this particularly deserved its own blog entry, but it amused me highly with its sophisticated sense of word play (lies; it's entirely unsophisticated, but it amused me anyway):

ME: I love you, Eamon Wolfe.

EAMON: No Eamon Wolfe! No!

ME: You're not Eamon Wolfe?! Then who are you?

EAMON: Eamon.

ME: So you're sticking with the first name. Good choice. But...Eamon who?

EAMON: Eamon...DUCK! Quack, quack! Ha ha! Eamon CWAZY!

So yes, folks, in one fell swoop, Eamon 1) made a joke about his own name, therefore proving that if any classmates try to make fun of it in a few years, Eamon will probably have about a thousand possible ways to one-up them ala last 5 minutes of 8 Mile, making them look like childish amateurs for even attempting to tease him; and 2) has gone and invented himself a tag line. Expect to see his memoir of that title in about 30 years, and I guess I should go ahead and snap up www.eamoncwazy.com while I'm at it. Thank you and goodnight.