Friday, August 27, 2010

Identity Crisis



His shirt may say Leo but that’s the last thing he wants to be called. For the last couple of weeks Leo has asked to be called several different “characters.”  So far he’s been:

The Goalie (that’s the most popular one)

Soccer Goalie (similar to The Goalie but don’t confuse the two)

Mr. Conductor

The Baby

Baby Ryan

The Pilot

The Doctor

Gordon (one of Thomas’ the Train’s friends)

The Football Player

The Basketball Player

The Fireman


It was cute at first. Downright amusing. But now it’s gotten out of control. His characters dominate our lives. When people call him Leo he stomps his feet, throws a full-on tantrum and screams, “NO I AM THE GOALIE!!”

I’ve been drilling it into his head to say “Please call me Goalie” and just today he’s starting to catch on. This is affecting his interactions with his friends, my friends, strangers we see at the grocery store. A lady asked him in the checkout line today if his name was Leo or if that was his sign (because of his shirt). Imagine what she must have thought when he screamed, “NO I AM THE GOALIE!” I knew it had all gone too far when yesterday, the people who work at the YMCA play center actually wrote “Baby Ryan” on his name tag since that’s who he wanted to be. And today, his babysitter Ms. Noel covered up “Leo” on his shirt with “The Goalie.”


Now I will answer some FAQs about Leo (I mean “Baby” which is who he is right now) and his many personalities:


1. Does he have a new one every day?

Actually, he changes them throughout the day. Often he’s up to five different people in one day.


2. How do you know when he changes into another one?

For most of them he will say, “Mama say ‘Hi, Baby” (or whichever character he’s turned into). For Mr. Conductor, though, he’ll just suddenly say, “Tickets, please!”


3. Why is everyone “The” except Mr. Conductor?

Mr. Conductor is how the dinosaurs on Dinosaur train refer to the conductor. I don’t know why everyone else is “The.” He’s actually somewhat flexible with “the.” We are allowed to just say “Goalie” or “Pilot.”


4. Does he act like these characters?

He doesn’t act like any of them except Baby and Baby Ryan. For those he crawls around, cries and says things like, “I can’t talk. I am a baby.”


5. Who is Baby Ryan?

My friend Chantal’s baby. When Leo assumes Baby Ryan’s identity, he says that Ryan is Baby Leo.


6. Does he make kids and toddlers call him these names?
Yes. John is on board with it. All through sports class he called Leo "Goalie.” But everyone else is just confused. Bianca calls him “Ee-oh” and he freaks out on her. She’s just 21 months old!


7. What about if you’re just talking about him? Do you still have to use the character name?

Absolutely. He will catch you from the next room if you slip up. He even caught Bianca’s mom saying “Leo” and she was speaking Romanian!


8. At what point will you seek professional help?

I think if we’re moving him into his dorm room and he insists that the sign on his door says, “The Goalie,” then we’ll consider it.




Sunday, August 22, 2010

Ya Gotta Have Friends

Leo has had built-in friends since he was born but just recently he’s really started to enjoy playing with other kids. He and John, especially, love being together. They both ask to go see the other one and when they see each other, it’s a love fest. “JOHN!!” “LEO!!” They exclaim. Then they chase each other in circles. Tomorrow they start sports class together so I’m sure we’ll have some good pictures and stories from that. Leo already pretends to play sports with John. He’ll hold a football and say in an almost announcer-like voice, “And then I THROW the ball to John and John catches the ball and then I tackle John.” He gets tackling and tickling mixed up so he actually means he’s going to tickle him :)

Last weekend Leo met a new friend—Celia. She’s our friends Courtney and John’s adorable one-year-old daughter. They came in town for a visit and we all went out to eat and to the Aquarium. As you can see, Leo thought Celia was pretty cool:




Celia wasn’t so sure. “Why won’t this dude let go of his train when he hugs me?”




On a date at Johnny Rockets. “So do you come here often?”




With Hunter and Olivia—all holding lovies and snack traps. I thought little Olivia was laughing but I think she might be screaming because Leo is stepping on her foot. Oh,well, they all had fun using bowling pins like bird wings and running around, flapping their arms.




Talking sports in the pool with Dawson and John. “Texas is totally gonna dominate this season, guys!” Dawson and John say, “This is Clemson’s year!”



Hand in hand with his bestie:


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

What the Sprinkler Guy Thinks of Us

I usually keep a clean house. People sometimes comment, “It doesn’t even look like a child lives here” (which I take as a compliment). I mean, I let Leo pull out toys and play but only so many at once and we always put them away before nap time and bed time.

But somehow yesterday, things got out of control. This was the scene at our house when the sprinkler guy showed up:


It looks like Cousin Eddie’s house in the “Vacation” movies!

And if you think the sprinkler guy just thought we were messy, you’re wrong. He also thought we were gross because we have a potty in the middle of the floor and my child has NO PANTS ON—not even a diaper!! (Now this is because I was half-heartedly trying this potty-training method where the kid runs around naked. More on that later.)


So to sum it up, here is what the Sprinkler Guy walked into:

  • A living room with toys scattered everywhere
  • A pile of trains, planes and cars in the foyer
  • A plastic potty right in the middle of the floor
  • A bottomless kid sitting on a chair, watching TV

It’s unfortunate because normally we are a clean-house, pants-wearing, potties-only-in-bathroom kind of family. But he’ll forever think otherwise.

Oh, and when I took this picture, my half-naked son said, “CHEESE! I’M WATCHING THOMAS!!”

Tuesday, August 10, 2010



I like the name Leo because it’s sort of unusual. Not unusual weird but unusual unique. But then I saw it in the Pottery Barn Kids Catalog and I feared it was becoming trendy.

Now it’s gone from from trendy to trashy. My sister sent me this article about race car driver Jeff Gordon naming his son Leo. Now people will confuse my Leo with little NASCAR Leos.

“Is your Leo the one in the Polo shirt or the one in the wife beater?”

“Is your Leo the one with all his teeth or the one with just some teeth?”

“Does your Leo have a crew cut or a mullet?”


But it doesn’t really matter since he asks us to call him “The Goalie” or “The Conductor” most of the time anyway. And if he becomes a NASCAR fan, he’ll probably make us call him Dale.


Friday, August 6, 2010

More Leo Says the Darndest Things

This week Leo has said things that fall into the following categories:






Every morning when I come in his room, he’s turned his crib into an imaginary train. Here’s what went on this morning.

I walk in and he announces (as he always does), “I am the conductor, Mommy!”

“Yes, you are the conductor. Who is riding on the train today?”

“Elmo, Ernie, Baby Ellie ride the train.”

He then requested that I sit in his Leo chair to ride the train. I did as I was told, of course.

“I’m going to make mommy dinner,” he said.

“Oh, there’s dinner served on this train? How nice!”

He then went into this whole dinner-making routine, mimicking everything I do while preparing a meal:

“Be patient. Don’t huss (fuss). I’m making Mac N Cheese.”

When the fake Mac N Cheese was ready he told me had to put it in the refrigerator because it was too hot. Now remember, he’s in his crib the whole time, bustling around this pretend train kitchen.

Then he started singing the “Too hot for Leo” song that I always sing but knew enough to change the words to “Too hot for Mommy.” When I tried to sing along, he said, “NO! I WILL SING IT!!”

After I ate my fake Mac N Cheese he said, “Do you want ice cream, mommy?” and then went into this whole routine of “mushing it up” because it was too cold (which is what I do with his ice cream). And all of this pretend exchange was speckled with me accidentally calling him “Leo” and him reminding me that he is “The Conductor.”

When we arrived at the pretend station, he told me he needed to get out because “the conductor needs his diaper changed.”



Leo and I were eating lunch at a park and I was explaining to him what a picnic was. I said, “I like having a picnic with you, Leo.” He said, “I love you too, Mommy.” Aw!! And when he saw that I liked that he kept saying it, which I loved, of course.

Also, during our picnic, he took a bite of my sandwich and said, “I put too much in at once” and I said, “No, you can eat it. You’re doing great.” He said, “I’m just learning!”

That’s something I tell him but not that often so I was surprised he repeated it.



We were at Walgreen’s, standing in line at the pharmacy. I asked Leo, “Do you know where we are?” He said, “Walgreen’s!” and then he looked over at the Take Care Clinic and said, “And there’s the wall…and it’s GREEN! Walgreen’s!” It actually was a green wall and you know what? That totally made sense!


And now back to silly for a couple of videos. Just like “Daddy Doh Tow” which he used to say a long time ago, I have no idea what “Acid Plum” means but he does and he has a little dance-like move that goes with it. Enjoy!



Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Cousin Conspiracy

Look at this face:


Does it look like the face of a manipulative, aggressive, kleptomaniac? She’s Ellie Simcik, Leo's one and only first cousin. And according to him, she is all of these things.

When we vacationed in Virginia Beach last week with the family, Leo accused 9-month old Ellie of all kinds of crimes. We heard allegations such as:

“Baby Ellie is trying to knock me down!” (When she pulled up on the chair he was sitting on).

“Baby Ellie is pushing me!”

“Stop hitting my daddy!”

“Baby Ellie took my trains!”

“Baby Ellie took my Ernie!”

We also heard the following two sentences several times:  “I don’t like Baby Ellie” and “Go away, Baby Ellie.”

The only thing Ms. Ellie was actually guilty of? Being adorable and forcing Leo to share some of the attention.


Luckily, she is forgiving and the two of them had some good cousin bonding time:


Leo introduced Ellie to the wonders of trains. (Shhh…don’t tell…she played with them while he was napping.)

IMG_2148 (2)


Helpin’ a cousin out…IMG_2150

Hoarding Ernie and Elmo so Ellie couldn’t get them.



Cameras again? Can’t we just play in peace?




Cousins Cooking!


Yes, Elmo is mine!!