The Gremlin Effect

You all saw Gremlin’s the movie and remember those cute little fur balls from the 80’s, right?

Well, the past month or so my family has been experiencing what we have dubbed “The Gremlin Effect.”

This is how it goes…

Mogwais (the cute furry guys from the movie):  cute, smiley, sweet and curious

Our Toddler: cute, smiley, sweet and curious


Mogwais: Turn into Gremlins if you feed them after midnight.  In Gremlin form they are: destructive, loud and wild.

Our Toddler: Turns into a Gremlin if you take her out in public after about 5:45 PM.  In Gremlin form she is: destructive, loud and wild.

If you have a toddler I would venture a guess yours goes into Gremlin mode from time to time as well.


To summarize:

They start out all sweet and with big happy smiles…

Unless you feed them after midnight (or take them out after 5:45…).

Do that and you’ve got this…

I can (usually) take this transformation in stride.  I can maintain my composure while chasing my 22 month old through isles of glass TJ Maxx, I can keep myself from yelling when she pulls every towel within her reach off the shelves at Target, I can steer a cart full of groceries with one hand when she refuses to walk or ride in the cart and insist on either being carried or sitting on the floor pouting at Kroger.  I can, I HAVE, taken it in stride.  This is not to say I don’t get anxious and feel aggravated and, from time to time, leave the store with less than what I intended – but generally speaking I deal with it and move on.

The other night was an exception.  The other night I was TIRED.  My daughter and I were supposed to be meeting up with a friend to play and needed to run an errand before hand.  My darling daughter had been bouncing off the walls for hours – she had energy to spend and the park was the perfect place to do it.  I told her we were going to go for a ride, to the store – then to see our friend at the park.  We played the traditional run around the car game (you know the one – she runs to the opposite side of the car and as soon as she sees you coming for her runs back around the other way – repeat, repeat, repeat.).  After I successfully wrangled her and plopped her in her car seat it happened – she transformed.

I looked at the clock – only 5:20, it happened early which could only mean that it would get exponentially worse very fast.  She screamed.  I breathed in.  “OK,” I told myself, “You can do this.  Give her a sippy cup – a quick in and out at the store and she’ll run it out at the playground.”

I handed her a sippy cup and off we drove.  Barely out of the drive way I hear her throw the sippy cup into the back of the seat.  I didn’t turn around, eye contact with a Gremlin toddler only tends to escalate the situation.  She screamed.  I drove.  When I pulled into a parking spot at the store the screaming stopped and I heard her sweet toddler voice say “wet!”

I turned around and looked at her.  “Wet, mama, wet!” She pointed at her shirt.  It was then I realized that when that sippy cup hit the back of the seat she had already gotten it’s lid off.  How she did this I do not know – but she was soaked.  I quickly changed her into a pair of PJs I happened to have in the diaper bag and dragged her into the store.

She screamed.  She ran.  She snatched things off the shelves and tried to throw them.  I gave her a pouch of applesauce.  She threw it on the floor and tried to jump out of the cart.  I tightened her buckle and gave it back to her hoping it would buy me a few minutes.  It wasn’t working.  They didn’t have what I needed anyways so the Gremlin and I headed out.

I got her back into the car and… SCREAMING.  So, in my infinite wisdom,  I give her another sippy cup full of water.  (Yeah, yeah, yeah….)  She got quiet for 2 minutes and then… I bet you can guess what happened?  Yup – she got the lid off and poured it all over the seat.

Somewhere in the middle of all this I decided to pull the flaky friend stressed out mom card and we canceled the play date.  I just couldn’t do it.  I felt completely overwhelmed.  I drove home and watched as she terrorized the house pulling things out of cupboards, trying to hit the TV with her toy broom, demanding milk, pulling the little plug protectors out of the wall (is it just my kid or do those things not work for anyone?!)…  I was exhausted and I’ll admit, I sat on the couch praying she would go to bed early and wishing my husband didn’t work nights.

Mommy friends, this parenthood thing is HARD sometimes!  I share this story because I KNOW you are right there with me.  I know you have had to leave a store, I know you have had every pan you own lined up on your kitchen floor, I know you have scraped old food off of – well – off of pretty much everything, I know you’ve had to miss out on doing something you wanted to, I know you’ve sat on your couch and wished for 5 minutes of quiet.  I know because we are all in this together.  I’d love to hear from you, do you have a Gremlin story of your own?


2 responses to “The Gremlin Effect

  1. Lana has literally done none of these things.
    She is an angel.
    That and she can’t wiggle too much at the age of 4 months.
    If you need to I think babies come with a 3 year warranty and you could return her under the claim of “Gremlin Error”

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