It’s been a while since I wrote anything on this blog, and even longer since I told you something about the Bean. The last story I told about her was way back in July when I told you about how she was able to identify her toy animals when asked. Compared to the things she does now — reciting the alphabet, counting to twelve, and parroting nearly every word she hears — the “find the piggy” game seems so simple, almost silly. “Duh, of course she can find the piggy!”
Today’s Bean story also happened during bath time. Giving the Bean a bath is generally my job, though I don’t really think about it as a job. (Well, sometimes I do.) It’s kind of like a scheduled play date for me and the Bean.
As you know from the last story, most of the Bean’s bath toys are animals. She has several of them, but one of her (and my) favorites is a pair of turtles.
As you can see, there is a big turtle with a smaller turtle on the big turtle’s back. Now, if you’re like me, the first thing you think when you look at it is “mama turtle and baby turtle.” The first few days we had them, I started referring to the turtles as mama and baby. Not long after we got them, it occurred to me that there really wasn’t anything specifically feminine about the big turtle. I realized that I must have unconsciously assigned sex to this turtle, and the only real rationale I could come up with was based largely on gender stereotypes. That bothered me. Furthermore, I thought to myself, this is a bath toy. Bath time is daddy-daughter time for us. So wouldn’t it be more appropriate to look at the pair as a daddy turtle and a baby turtle?
So, from then on, whenever the Bean pointed to the turtles and asked who they were, I would identify them as “daddy turtle” and “baby turtle.” I felt a small sense of pride in having these turtles that served as our counterparts at bath time. I began to wonder if the Bean got the connection, wondering if she thought of herself as the baby turtle and me as the daddy turtle. It made me like the turtles even more.
Fast forward to last night.
As the Bean played in the bath, she stopped splashing for a moment when she spied the turtles on the edge of the tub. She smiled and pointed at the little turtle.
“Who is that, Bean?”
She smiled. “Baby.”
“Yeah, and who’s this?” I said, pointing to the bigger turtle.
She paused for just a moment, then flashed her most impish grin and said, “Mama.”
So, I’m not sure if anyone clicked through to read (re-read?) my old blogs about about hybrid FUD, but I actually did go back and read my old stuff today, Back in 2006, I wrote:
In 2004, Robert Lutz, GM’s Vice Chairman of Product Development came out very strongly saying that building hybrids didn’t make economic sense. But next year, they plan to introduce the Chevy Tahoe as a hybrid. To be fair, Lutz was specifically saying that compact hybrid cars didn’t make sense, and that SUVs were a better option. So, it’s not a complete contradiction. However, he justified this statement by citing the price of gasoline – then $1.50/gal on the average – as the reason it didn’t make sense. The current price is around $2.36/gal. Considering that the national average was over $3.00 just a few short months ago and hasn’t been below $2.00 for over a year, I think it’s safe to say some new calculations are in order. Especially if Dubya makes good on his thinly-veiled threats to invade Iran, a move than many economists believe would drive the price of oil to a staggering $100/barrel.
Wow. Yeah, so . . . back then, I talked about those “crazy” high gas prices of $3.00/gal. I’d kill for that now. Gas crossed the $4.00/gal point back in June of this year. Furthermore, that “staggering” price of $100/barrel that I worried about is ancient history. We haven’t been under $100/barrel for months and we peaked at over $140/barrel back in June.
Still think hybrid are just for tree-huggin liberals?
Did I mention: Gotcha bitch!
I’ve previously mentioned (here) the ridiculous level of FUD out there related to hybrid cars. In one of my previous posts, I pointed out the silly hand wringing related to the “dangerously silent” hybrids. Well, it looks as if the California state legislature is set to outlaw the silence:
Electric and hybrid vehicles may be better for the environment, but the California Legislature says they’re bad for the blind.
It has passed a bill to ensure that the vehicles make enough noise to be heard by visually impaired people about to cross a street.
The measure would establish a committee to study the issue and recommend ways the vehicles could make more noise.
Are you effing kidding me?
Great idea. Here’s my new design for the Prius:
JoseMonkey.com experienced an unplanned outage for a few hours this afternoon when The Bean discovered the button on the front of the server under Daddy’s desk. Sorry about that.
When I became a parent, I told myself that I’d never let myself become one of those deluded parents who thinks their baby is a freakin’ genius. You know the ones — the parents who proclaim that every one of their baby’s actions, not matter how insignificant or coincidental, is a sure sign that their child is the smartest baby ever.
Now, I love the Bean. A lot. But I try really hard not to let my adoration interfere with my ability to objectively evaluate her cognitive development. In fact, sometimes I worry (because I worry about everything) that I hyper-correct this behavior and fail to recognize her actual achievements, chalking them up as coincidences. I hear myself saying things like, “Come on, she couldn’t possibly have learned that that fast, right?”
Yesterday, I was sitting on the floor with Mrs. JoseMonkey and the Bean, and the Bean was pointing out the Sesame Street characters on a piece of wrapping paper left over from her birthday party. (Photos coming soon.) The Bean loves to point at things, and we dutifully respond by telling her what she’s pointing at. (Mrs. JoseMonkey does this all day long; she’s a trooper.) Anyway, I’m not sure why it never occurred to me to do this up until yesterday, but I realized that it might make sense to ask the Bean to find each character on the paper.
So, I asked, “Where’s Elmo?” The Bean thought for a moment, then pointed at Elmo and smiled. (She loves Elmo.)
I tried again. “Where’s Big Bird?”
Think think think. Point.
“Yeah! Where’s Ernie?”
“Woo-hoo! Where’s Abby?”
Think think think. Point. Smile.
She even got Bert, whom I figured she’d miss since 1) he’s not one of her favorites and 2) he was only on one corner of the paper, sort of upside-down. But she found him anyway.
Now, Mrs. JoseMonkey goes through these character names with her frequently, and the Bean watches lots of Sesame Street, so I guess I shouldn’t be that surprised that she is able to do that. But I was floored.
Later that same night, I was giving the Bean a bath. We broke out some new bath toys for her, a set of eight little animal “squirties” that she got for her birthday. When I lined them up on the edge of the tub, she immediately went into the pointing routine, wanting to know what each one was.
We went through the animals twice, naming each one. On a whim, I quizzed her:
“Bean, where’s the sheep?”
Think think think. Point.
“That’s right! Where’s the piggy?”
Think think think. Point.
You get the idea. She was able to identify them after hearing their names just twice?! And she’d never seen these toys before!
Delusions, my ass. I think we’re dealing with an above average IQ here. W00T! SMARTEST BABY EVAH!
When we first got our dogs, my wife had a neat idea. She hung a small bell on the door that led to their yard. She then taught our goofy dogs (who are deceptively smart) to ring the bell when they wanted to go outside. They learned this rather quickly, and we were very proud of ourselves. Of all the tricks we’ve taught them, this one seemed to impress people the most. “So, you’re telling me that they ring the bell when they want go out? All by themselves?” Yes, we were quite proud of our stupid little beasts.
Over time, I’ve come to despise the sound of The Damn Bell™. This is mainly because the dogs ring it non-effing-stop between the hours of 5pm and 10pm. They usually wait until your ass hits the sofa.
Then, shortly after you let them out, they want to come back in. (The coming back in part involves barking; there’s no outside bell. You’re welcome, neighborhood.) This is usually around the time you’ve decided to sit down again.
Here’s the worst part, though. While we like to smugly pat ourselves on the back for training our dogs to do this, the sad truth is that Mrs. JoseMonkey and I are the ones who are trained.
Ding! Get up and let the dogs out.
Ding! Ding! We’re very good at it.
My Pavlovian instincts were never more apparent than this morning. You see, The Bean discovered The Damn Bell™.
As she was cruising around in her walker, she found this wonderful item dangling from the door knob. You can guess what happened next.
My training immediately kicked in and I started walking toward the door. Realizing it was just The Bean, I laughed it off and went back to what I was doing.
I headed for the door again, totally on auto-pilot. I am a well-trained monkey.
Somewhere, a beagle is laughing.