Posted by: sulya | 15 September 2009

Something About the Pot & the Kettle Plus Some Germans


Boy says, “I was reaaaaallly patient.”

“Um, baby, you were hugging me and whispering in my ear I want to go, I want to go, I want to go from here, I want to go, I want to go from here over and over again.  That’s not exactly patient behaviour.  Patient is when you know that you will get to do what you want to do and you wait nicely, quietly, confidently for it to be your turn.”

Wow, I think, someone else in this car could sure use that lecture…. Not gonna’ say who…

We get to Chapters with the train table and after a while of sniffing out all the trains and the toys they are trying to sell around the trains, some other kids arrive.  The bigger kid of the two little boys who show up without a parent anywhere to be seen at first, could be 5 or a tall 4 I can’t tell.  He walks right into my personal space when he thinks I might read a book to my boy – walks away when it becomes apparent that isn’t going to happen.

My boy and the tall boy get to the train table.  His little brother shows up to play too.  At a certain point my boy says, “Ha Ha Ha, that train has no face, he lost his face, that’s funny hey?  Ha ha ha ha haaaa.”


In fact the boys both look to me with wide eyes like I could explain what is going on here.  My boy tries again.

“Rheneas has no face,” he says, “that’s funny.”  He throws out a forced kind of laugh for good measure.

The older boy starts to smile a bit, makes eye contact with me.

I say, “Be pretty funny to lose your face I think, hey?  Walking around without a face.”  I make my best approximation of a faceless face… He starts to laugh this time.  He does think it’s funny.  Personally, if I were not dealing with small boy-people I would just find it macabre (not that “macabre” is necessarily a bad thing…)  But, whatever.  In the boy’s world he has to particularly tell me when we visit Toys’R’Us that he wants to go look at “the cars that don’t have faces” so it just is what it is.

The younger boy just stares at his older brother.  Looks briefly at me.  Back to his faceless train.

After a while a very beautiful, statuesque blonde woman in a lovely summer dress comes to sit and watch her sons.  She makes the dutiful parental eye contact with me, a small smile.  Still more time passes and an absolutely giant, handsome silver-haired man carrying an 8mth-old baby girl arrives and asks his wife if the seat next to her is taken.  One gets the sense perhaps “words” had been exchanged at some point prior to this moment.  He jests that perhaps the baby girl can have the seat, but not him.

He sits.  They begin to speak to each other in German and it all makes sense to me; the two children had looked at me for literal translation and explanation of what my small bespectacled and definitely not German-speaking child was trying to share with them.

During this time the baby girl has been seated on the floor by her father’s feet to tear apart a discount book.  Periodically she growls.  And I mean GROWLS.  Fiercely.  With conviction and tone so guttural that I cannot help – after a few growls – looking up and laughing.  I mean it’s a REALLY big sound from such a little girl that I can’t help smiling broadly, making eye contact with her and saying, “Are you sure?  I mean I’m not sure I believe you feel that strongly about it.  It does seem like a fascinating book.”

I get the grown-up equivalent of a reaction just above crickets from the father, a very small smile from the mom.  This is not “polite” so much as it is simply “reserved.”

At a certain point the older boy disappears and returns to the train table where my boy and the younger boy are playing quite happily and brandishes a Schliech Panda Bear * at all passing trains.  The gesture comes replete with growl clarifying full-stop where the baby girl got HER growl…

My boy is not happy about this animal intrusion.  He is starting to slouch his shoulders and I feel the beginning of a pout just as he says, “I don’t LIKE THAT!”  The older boy’s parents tell their son to back off but he’s not really keen on the idea and has a little brother that he probably ignores with imagined impunity until someone yells most days so my son is so much chopped liver with his complaints…

I say, “Don’t worry about it baby, Panda bears only eat bamboo, he’ can’t getcha’.”

The father actually lets out a small laugh this time.  Makes eye contact with me, says, “A little knowledge is a powerful thing.”

“Yes, it is,”  I smiled back.

Eventually, my son went and got his own panda and so did the little brother.  Baby girl was still contentedly ravaging her discount book.  There was growling all around until their wasn’t anymore and all the way home I kept thinking about patience and how a little knowledge is, indeed, a powerful thing.


* Shleich animals are hard rubber, anatomically correct German-made figurines.  Clearly, in the case of their fantasy animals and dinosaurs the anatomically correct part is somewhat questionable but I thought I would explain for those not in the know about such toys.


(Personally, I think the faces are way freakier than the absence of a face but whatever…  Again, I am not a small boy-person…)


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