May 15, 2008


Grandpa and Grandma returned from their world travels yesterday. Our boys, as well as us, were delighted to see them today when they dropped by for a late-afternoon visit. While they would have been happy to see them regardless, they were especially interested in opening the gifts that they brought.

Andrew received a chess set that he loves, as he fancies himself a regular Bobby Fischer these days. It's a beautiful wood and leather travel set and the game pieces are Chinese emperors, queens, etc. He met Mark at the door when he arrived home from work asking for a chess match to be placed on the calendar for after dinner. They're currently sitting next to me and playing a game. Andrew is regaling us with his game knowledge and reminding us of how these pieces look different than the game pieces on our old set which he has informed Mark can be his now. (Funny, I think Mark thought it was his already since it has belonged to him for years...) Apparently the queen on this set has a "pointy, slanty, pointy hat."

Thomas received a panda bear puppet. (Wyatt, look away, I think you'll be the proud owner of a new panda bear puppet soon as well.) Grandma had photos on her camera to show Thomas of the pandas they saw on a preserve and he immediately took to the new puppet by "getting" us all with it and carrying on a conversation with it in Thomasese. Panda appears to understand T's language as he held up his end of the conversation with enthusiasm.

By the time dinner rolled around it became obvious that panda came with an added-value free gift. He arrived in a small, striped plastic shopping bag and that bag was a fixture on Thomas' arm all evening. He spent the better part of dinner taking panda in and out of that bag, then carrying him around the house as if he was in a kennel. Think Paris Hilton with Tinkerbell on her arm.

We left panda and his bag downstairs during baths, but when Andrew got the chess set out to ready for his game with Mark, T remembered that pandas need love too. Panda sat with him while he drank his milk then helped tell daddy goodnight, all from the comfort of his convenient carrying case. Panda then of course joined us for bedtime books, with Thomas clutching him in his bag. When it was time for rocking I suggested that panda go night-night in Thomas' red chair but he had other thoughts. So we rocked, with Thomas holding that red and yellow striped bag over the edge of the chair, crackling and rustling right along with the rhythm of the rocker. I was amused but not concerned because for as cuddly a child as he is, Thomas has never wanted to sleep with anything in his bed except for his beloved blankie.

You saw this coming, but tonight marked a turning point for T. He now has a companion worthy of sleeping in his bed. A plastic bag. He wrestled panda from the bag, put his head on him like he's a pillow, then began shrieking when I wouldn't leave the bag in bed too. We may let our kids eat too much high fructose corn syrup and we let the roughhousing on our bed get a little wild sometimes, but come on people, I do have limits. Bedding down with a non-pourous, crackly, handled plastic bag from a foreign country pushes even my boundaries.

Thomas has an ear infection and the accompanying diaper rash from the prescribed antibiotics so his mood is a little tenuous. Add to that his fervent desire to assert his "two-ness," and what followed was a showdown. We negotiated as best we could while he was screaming, and I felt like screaming, and in the end agreed that panda would sleep in the rocker. In his bag.

If anyone's looking for a very stylish, waterproof handbag, give me a call. I've got one I'm looking to unload.

Welcome home PaRon and Grandma.

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