Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Crossing the Line

Kiddo’s love, nay obsession, for trains permeates much of our lives. There is a train set on my dining table more often than not, which means my burrito plate perched precariously on a crossroads today as Thomas the Tank Engine eyeballed my lunch. Funny, I had no idea he was such a fan of Mexican food.

Is that a burrito in your boxcar, or are you just happy to see me?

More train sets double as tripping hazards throughout the house. Why does this child have so many trains and tracks? Mostly because members of our family know this is a safe bet when it comes to Christmas and birthday presents. Plus Kiddo spends the majority of his allowance on these sets.  And yes, Mommy has a bad habit of occasionally indulging a begging child, even though she swore only days ago, “No more trains!” After all, we’re coming up on a dozen different train sets, not counting the virtual ones he plays with on his tablet. 

A new wrinkle has arrived in the last couple of weeks when it comes to train-related fanaticism. Kiddo discovered that trains should not cross into barricaded territory such as abandoned mines, dilapidated bridges, and Mommy’s meals. Seriously, get that cheeky little engine away from my food. 

Inspiration when it came to barricades (especially the delight of wayward locomotives crashing through them) has reached a fever pitch. Kiddo must act on said inspiration ... by constructing barricades throughout the house. 

I watched bemused as my progeny began attacking my printer paper supply to cut long strips and then tape them together to create even longer strips. Cheerfully humming the theme music from the ‘60’s television version of ‘Batman’, he then wandered to the back of the house, long strips of paper and more tape clutched in his perpetual grubby grip. I debated on whether or not to follow my paper-swiping crusader. Since there were no crashes (or Kapows, Biffs, or Splats), I thought the resulting mayhem might not be too bad. If monumental destruction has not ensued and no child is screaming, I can usually afford to put off the chaos and muster my sanity for when I do venture to see what is happening.


The soundtrack of my life

After several minutes of happy crime-fighting humming and the scritchy sound of much tape being dispensed, Kiddo re-appeared at my desk to swipe another piece of paper. He’s pretty much the reason behind de-forestation and why shares of Scotch brand tape are skyrocketing. Corporate America loves this child. 

“Spell ‘danger’,” he said to me. 

I did so, wondering if our lives were in it, and he carefully lettered it over the page. Then he left the room again. More humming. More tape. Then a shout of triumph shot down the hall. I finally got out of my chair. 

The time to face my fear of what had been going on had arrived. I drew a deep breath and walked down the hallway. 

Kiddo was grinning as he stared at the bathroom door. As I neared, he called a warning. “Danger. Bathroom is out. Do not cross the line.” 

‘The line’ was apparently twenty strips of paper taped over the open doorway. His danger sign was taped to the centermost strip.  

“I see you’ve barricaded the bathroom,” I said, looking at my proud child’s handiwork. He had reason to beam. He had accomplished much. There was no way in. 

“Yes. The old bathroom is danger,” Kiddo said with a strange mix of delight and concern.  

“Okay. So what happens when you’ve got to use the toilet?” 

“Do you have money?” he asked. 

Wondering where the hey this line of conversation would end up, I said, “Maybe. What do I need money for?” 

“You will build a new bathroom. Then no danger.” 

“So you’ll wait to use the toilet until I have a new one built?” 

“Yes. This old bathroom is danger. You cannot cross the line.” 

“Okay.” I was fine with that. I have my own bathroom. I left Kiddo standing proudly with his barricaded facility while I went to fetch aspirin. 

Eventually, he decided danger is worth facing when one’s bladder is full. The barricades came down, and he got a version of a ticker-tape parade (now referred to as a peerade). He even cleaned it up afterward with no prodding ... that’s what nearly blew my circuits.  

And all is quiet in the kingdom again. I should enjoy this, but truth be told, I don’t trust it for a second. Something tells me this was to give me a false sense of security. I have the feeling that the next lines to be crossed will not end with both child and mother happy.

If he's wearing this look, run.

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