Quick! To The Panic Room!

A Mother's Quest for Peace and Quiet

Thomas the Train, Tootsie Pops and Other Obsessions

Thank Gawwd for Thomas the Train!

If it weren’t for that “cheeky little engine” Caveman would be glued to my leg 24/7.

Thomas from the “Island of Sodor” is the center of all Caveman’s routines. And nothing, I mean NOTHING, can disrupt them.

At bedtime, I must cram myself into Caveman’s mini-bed and listen to a CD of Thomas stories.

And Caveman has other bedtime rules that must be obeyed. I know I may not leave the bed until the first story on the CD is over. Believe Me, I’ve tried. Caveman responds by grabbing Me by the hair and forcing my head back on the tiny, infant pillow we share.

Last night we were following all the procedures:  I was wrapped around Caveman and listening to our CD, when I heard a high-pitched shriek coming from the Family room and…


Mini-Man: “Okay, go ahead. I won’t do it. Start again.”

Then I hear Mini-Me counting and making a disgusting, slurping noise.

Mini-Me: “seventy-nine (slurp), eighty (slurp), eighty-one (slurp), eighty-two…”

I’m listening to her count when suddenly I hear Mini-Man yelling out miscellaneous numbers in a monotone voice.

Mini-Man: “Fifty-eight, ninety, twenty-four, thirty—”

Mini-Me: ” Come ON! I’m telling! MOM! MOM! MOM!”

Now the first Thomas story is not over, so I know I can’t respond to Mini-Me’s cries for help. That would be breaking the rules, and Caveman would punish me for that.

Instead, I grit my teeth and wait until the bell rings on the CD, signaling the end of the first story. And like Pavlov’s dog, I respond appropriately to the bell by giving Caveman a kiss goodnight and turning down the lights.

I hurry into the Family room to find Mini-Me hopping madly around with a Tootsie Pop in her hand. Mini-Man is lying on the sofa with a smug look of satisfaction on his face.

Mini-Me: (furious) “MOM! He is messing me up! Tell him to STOP!”

Me: (tired, exasperated) “WHAT is the problem?”

Mini-Me: “I’m counting how many licks it takes to get to the center of the Tootsie Pop,  and HE keeps making me confused!”

Now you would think that counting the licks is just a commercial-inspired game, but to Mini-Me, it’s serious business.

Like Caveman’s obsession with Thomas, Mini-Me has her own obsessions. And one of them is trying to outdo characters on TV. That owl, or a new slick Tootsie Pop pusher, is taunting her into trying to solve the big mystery.

Mini-Man is far more cynical than Mini-Me. Age has spoiled him.

Mini-Man: “Mom, she is driving me crazy. Tell her she can’t do it. Tell her to give it up.”

Me: “No. She can count if she wants. Don’t interrupt her.”

So Mini-Me begins to count again. Mini-Man gets off the couch, throwing a smirk at me that says, “she’s all yours,” and goes to his room.  I know he has beaten Me, which might have been his plan all along. He’s crafty that way.

I finally take the Tootsie Pop away from Mini-Me, jot down the number of licks she is on, and put the sucker safely away so she can continue her quest tomorrow.

So ends the day.

In my bed I listen to the now quieter sounds in the house. Caveman’s CD  is playing Thomas’ “Theme Song” over the baby monitor. Man is tapping the keys of his computer. And Mini-Man is strumming his guitar and singing off-tune.

I pull out my phone and go through all twitter posts @leannrimes. Then I pull one of the books from the large stack that I MUST flip through in order to fall asleep and realize I have my own routines, my own obsessions.

I wonder what has caused all of these quirky behaviors?  Why is the Family so weird?

But like the answer to the Tootsie Pop mystery, the Family may never know.


June 17, 2013 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. I never actually tried to count the licks myself, but I DO remember thinking that owl was totally lame for giving up after only THREE and biting the thing. Sheesh, even a spastic kid like me had more self-control than THAT!

    Then again, I thought Tootsie Pops were nasty and thus wouldn’t not have been tempted to eat one much less crunch into its filling-destroying center after a mere trio of slurps. Tootsie Rolls = yum. Lollipops = also tasty. Putting them together = an abomination against nature. I was a candy purist.

    Comment by Enzo | January 28, 2010 | Reply

    • Now Twizzlers, that’s a different story!

      Comment by tothepanicroom | January 29, 2010 | Reply

  2. It is 302. It’s on our bulletin board written in green marker. Welcome to my weird children as well. (We have snowballs in our freezer…)

    Comment by Jill Doczi | February 6, 2010 | Reply

    • Awesome! Now the world knows!

      Comment by tothepanicroom | February 6, 2010 | Reply

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