Tell ‘em what he wins…

If you immediately thought of a car then you are spot on. My son has reached that two-year-old milestone – he’s car obsessed. Not the “I like cars.” obsessed, but the “I need to see cars, ride in cars, eat and sleep in them, I have to park them exactly as I want to, don’t move them once they are exactly how I put them, if I hand you a car you have to telephathically know exactly what to do with it or you are in for what I like to call ‘tantrum lighting round’ and make sure that I don’t catch you trying to put my cars anywhere other than in the middle of the dark room where you will certainly step on them and kill yourself falling backwards – I have to love ’em and squeeze ’em and call ’em George” kind of obsessed. Raise your hand if your little boy has never done this… Anyone?

So aside from the suitcase of cars that we brought with us to Italy and the boxes of cars that the relatives already had prepared for him upon arriving he also was constantly hoarding other kid’s cars (his cousins’, the neighbors’ etc.). I caught him trying to stuff an actual FIAT 500 into his pocket in the parking lot.

The first thing he says in the morning after screaming “Daddy Milk, Please!” directly into my ear is “Macchina! Macchina!” (car in Italian). We spent hours during our vacation in the parking lot with him running to each and every single car (there were 63… yup I counted them) pointing at them and delightedly declaring with a genuinely surprised twinkle in his eye: “Oooooo Macchina! Che bella…” as if it was the first time he saw it. You all have those goofy smiles on your face, don’t you? Probably thinking to yourself: “Aww well isn’t that the cutest…” What about me?! That’s right. Does anyone give a rat’s ass that I had to spend 12.5% of each day of the last three weeks (about 3 hours) in a freaking parking lot looking at the same cars over and over and over again? Well, someone should because I sure feel sorry for myself.

That was not enough, though, to satiate his hunger for cars. He wanted, nay, needed more. Like a Rhesus monkey looking to earn his next banana (or whatever the lab gives them for figuring out a puzzle) he parks his toy cars either in an “S” or in perfect rows. He drives them around and then parks them. Do not touch them lest the little monkey gnashes its teeth and lashes out at you! If you are unfortunate enough to pass by during this operation and he feels that he needs an assistant he orders you to ”Sit, Daddy!” and now you are in trouble. He passes you a car and you dutifully place it next to the other parked cars at which point you are berated “No!” and he swats your hand. OK. So maybe I do a lap with the car and then try to park it? “No!” Right. So how about driving it up my arm? “No! No!” Relax. How about under my leg, around my back, hop on one foot, flap my arms, over my head and park it? Silence. He hands me the next car as I feel sweat starting to trickle down my back.

Just when you think you’ve gotten the routine down you board a plane with even more cars than before and pray that he will just play quietly and sleep for most of the flight. Well it turns out that he does just that, but he will need a volunteer from the audience. ”Daddy?”. Yes? “Macchina!” Right. Over the head. Under the arm. Behind… “No!” Under the arm and then over the head? “No!”

Needless to say the flight was a good nine hours and only when the pilot announced our initial decent into JFK did my son finally fall silent and hand me another car.

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