Tell me again how smart your child is…

About a week ago, all of us proud parents were exposed to the story about the 17-month old girl who can talk and read. The talking thing is no big deal I don’t believe, but the reading thing is and the coverage she garnered was just a hair shy of annoyingly show-offish to be honest with you (jealous much?). Her parents are both some kind of language experts, so it’s no surprise the kid shows talent in that area. Hmm, since CareerMom and I are both in marketing, does that mean our boys will be great shoppers? Points to ponder.

But this got me to wondering what they do differently at home and what kinds of things are we, and our daycare teaching our own kids. I know that in MLE’s class, they are teaching the toddlers some sign language. The only sign that I see MLE really going to town on, is the sign for “more” and it’s usually in relation to food, “Give me MORE!”

Yesterday, when the kids got home, I checked out their daily activity sheet and MLE’s sheet said, “Today we learned the sign for ‘shoes’.”


Really? How does knowing the sign for shoes help my child? I’d rather he learn how to tell me when he’s about to puke all over my clean work shirt, or when he needs to go poopy rather than filling up his diaper and having it leak out and onto whatever surface he happens to be scooching across at the moment. THOSE are useful signing words to me. Not shoes!

But maybe this is the norm. I pulled the image at the top of my blog off the Internet and as you can see, they teach youngsters all kinds of seemingly useless signs, like “cookie” and “telephone” and “frog.” What can a toddler do with that?

Using this list of signs, I suppose a toddler could sign to someone:

“Mommy, the milk you gave me was too hot, so I want to eat a frog instead.”


“I asked for a cookie and you brought me the telephone, and I said no touch, no touch.”

(you have to be an “Office Space” fan to even remotely get that one).

I don’t know, maybe my expectations for my kids are just really low, but I don’t expect them to be able to wax poetic before the age of two. And quite frankly, I’d rather they fit in with their friends rather than being “that freaky kid” who understands quantum theory at the age of five.

Call me crazy…

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of no sleep…

Money Sucking Heater

Thirty minutes. It’s not a big number really, but thirty minutes here…thirty minutes there…it all adds up.

Thirty minutes–that’s how much of my life I’ve gained back from the valley of “The Sleep” thanks to having another baby. And mind you now, this thirty minutes is only on the backend of the night—the time when I have to get up in the morning to get myself ready for work and help get the kids and dogs all squared away. This time doesn’t include whatever lost (er…gained) time I garner in the middle of the night thanks to bottle feedings and coddling.

I know about this thirty minute number thanks to my thermostat. When we moved into this house, one of the first things I did was rip out the 70s style-dial-A-temp thermostats and install handy programmable ones with the really cool green backlighting for easy nighttime adjustment. With these, you can tell your a/c and heater when to turn on and off, which is a heckuva lot better than just setting it one temp and then constantly running back and forth adjusting it, or leaving for work in the morning and thinking, “Crap! I forgot to turn the thermostat up (or down).” So, all in all, a handy little doo-dad.

With gas prices what they are, I’ve been putting off turning on the heat, but with temps dipping into the low 40s for consecutive days, the house finally cooled down enough to warrant the heater. I mean, there’s only so many layers of socks one can expect a toddler to put up with for any length of time. Last night just before bed, I turned on the upstairs heater and adjusted it down a bit since we were all going straight to bed.

This morning when the alarm went off at 5:30 a.m., I noticed it was still cold in our room, but figuring the heat would kick on any moment, I just forgot about it and went about my usual routine. It wasn’t until 5:45 that the heater came on, which means that last year, when the baby was still a tiny baby, versus a cranky grab-tastic thing that never sleeps, I was getting up at 6 a.m. and setting the heater to kick on 15 minute before we got up so the house would be all toasty and warm for our emergence.

So long story short, that’s how I know that I’m losing (dangit! GAINING!) at least thirty minutes of sleep each night. With my oldest son getting up as soon as he hears me pour my first cup of coffee, I suppose I’ll be adjusting the heat back to 5:15 a.m.

Hello $400 heating bills–goodbye pocket money! And for this, we’re worried about some caribou in a land where few people live and even fewer ever visit. Nice.

My Super Powers Only Work When Warming Up Baby Bottles

Baby Feeding Trophy There should be a trophy award for parents who are able to get up in the middle of the night and calm a crying baby without waking up the entire house, or even the entire neighborhood for that matter. And parents who pull this off in an apartment complex should get a cash reward on top of their trophy (“Do you need cash NOW?” I hate those commercials!).

Overall, I’d give myself fair marks for being able to pull this off. I’m probably about 80% effective when it comes to being able to put the baby back down, but last night, I deserve an Emmy nomination for my performance…

Our youngest woke up around 12:40 a.m. I heard him before he really got wound up, so I headed downstairs for the obligatory bottle. We normally leave a small fluorescent light on under one of the cabinets to light our way, but I suppose after two children, it has burned out and I’ve been too lazy to replace the bulb. I’m a man, so naturally I can find the refrigerator in the dark if need-be, so I opened it and grabbed a bottle, then turned to the right, walked one-point-five steps to where my memory says is where my microwave resides, opened it and stuck the bottle in.

For you mothers gasping in horror at the thought that in my sleepy state I’ll over-warm the bottle and end up scalding my child’s mouth, not to fear; I’ve done this hundreds of times, and not burned a single child yet.

Now, our house is about 19 years old, 20 really if you count when they actually started building it. And while this isn’t old for a house, it’s old for the appliances, which are original. In appliance-years, 20 years is really like 40—not so much because they don’t work as well, but mostly because after 20 years, whatever fashion style your appliances matched 20 years ago has long since disappeared from the showrooms of today’s appliance vendors.

For whatever reason, my mind was sure that, despite any light whatsoever, I’d be able to instinctively hit “3, 0, Start” on the microwave keyboard, but I didn’t. In fact, I’m not sure what I hit, but whatever it was, it started the microwave counting down like some sort of radiation time-bomb. I kept waiting for it to say something like, “Just what do you think you are doing Chris?” (“A Space Odyssey” reference for those of you playing along at home).

After pressing a few keys trying to kill it, which only really served to enrage it further, garnering a cacophony of “beeps,” I ran over to the light switch and turned it on so I could see what the heck I was doing.

Subsequent attempts at stopping the countdown were useless and by this time I could hear the baby ramping up for a mega-scream, so I quickly keyed in the correct “3, 0, Start” sequence and LO! It worked.

Bottle warmed, I ran upstairs, grabbed the baby out of his crib and before he could wake up the whole house, I stuck a bottle in his mouth and started changing his diaper. All is well with my soul…

But then…”Beep”…”Beep”…”Beep”…”Beep”…”Beep”…”Beep”…

…it wasn’t stopping! The microwave had apparently finished its countdown and was not going to be happy until I acknowledged it.

I quickly buttoned up the baby (whoever thought 15 buttons on a onesy was a good idea should be shot!) and ran downstairs to shut the microwave off, only to find that none of my attempts at cancellation worked.


Knowing I had only moments before the baby dropped his bottle and started wailing for assistance, I dashed out into the garage and flagrantly started flipping circuit breakers in an attempt at shutting off all power to the microwave and thankfully, I hit it on the third try.

I then ran as fast and as quietly as humanly possible back upstairs just as the baby was finishing up most of his bottle. I picked him up, burped him, put him back down and let him finish his bottle and quietly go back to sleep.

Whew! Crisis averted.

Nightly duty done, now the only thing left to do is calm down enough to go back to sleep before the alarm goes off. Maybe if I had a nice, trophy to snuggle up to…