Alek Conducts an Experiment

Alek always wanted his children to be aware of, and make use of, the scientific method.  He found ways to model the basics of the principle whenever possible.  Today, after spending a week with his family with no work or in-laws to interrupt their interactions, he had a hypothesis that required observation.

He stood against a wall in the family room and watched his children go about their play.  Play-sets, Legos, dolls, and a marble run thing that one of the grandmas gifted with great excitement were all strewn throughout the room.  Alek took diligent notes, marking down everything from approximate room temperature to the position of a two-by-two red brick that had fallen between a shelf and the couch.  He did not know which variables mattered most to his hypothesis, so they all mattered.

May tapped his shoulder.  “Darling, what in the world are you doing?” She asked.  This was nothing new in their house, but she did regular checks to ensure Alek’s sanity was still intact.

“Science, love. I have a theory that our children are superhumans.  Observe,” Alek said, lowering his notepad.  “Children!” He called out over the white noise that had filled the room for three hours. “Please go clean your rooms.”

There was no obvious sign his words were heard.  The children kept playing.

“See,” Alek said to May, “they appear to be incapable of hearing me.  However, if I change the words, but keep the tone and pitch they can hear me.  I suspect some sort of genetic anomaly that leads to precision ‘selective hearing’ I call it.  Once more; observe,” Alek cleared his throat and gave a new command.

“Children! Ice cream! At the dinner table!”

Toys dropped to the floor, the white noise was replaced by the thundering feet of what outside observers would swear to have been that rattle of 1,000 elephants, but alas it was two young children in search of sugary confections.  Alek and May barely had time to remove themselves from the doorway separating the family and dining rooms as the children whirred by.

As the children sat at the table, they saw no sign of the promised ice cream.

“Oh, sorry gang, you have to clean your rooms first,” Alek said.  A groan later, the children were busy cleaning.

“That was super passive-aggressive,” May said.

“I’m pretty sure that is the one skill I will ever teach them.  Oooh! I could base a little experiment around that,” Alek said.  He was soon drafting a new experiment.

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Common Conversations with My Toddler

Toddler: Dad, are you scared of monsters?

Me: Certain monsters.

Toddler: Like Godzilla?

Me: More like anxiety, depression, cancer. They’re different types of monsters.

Toddler: Monsters like Godzilla?

Me: Just like Godzilla.

Toddler: ‘Cause I’m not scared of Godzilla.

Me; Oh.

 

 

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Common Conversations with My Toddler

Me: Okay, let’s try something crazy. You get to brush your teeth all by yourself! Ready?

Toddler: Yeah.

Me: Front, back, top, bottom; remember? Okay. Go!

Toddler, brushing: This tastes bad.

Me: Well, it’ll go away. Keep brushing, please.

Toddler continues brushing.

Me: You don’t need to brush your lips.

Toddler: No, Dad. I need to make them shiny.

Me: The goal is for shiny teeth.

Toddler, now brushing his nose: I brush my nose too.

Me: You’re getting a new toothbrush.

Common Conversations with My Toddler

Toddler: Dad, I want pretzels from the bag from the grocery store.

Me: Sure, buddy.  Let’s go get them.

Toddler, taking my hand and walking me to the pretzel storage: Thanks. They’re in the pantry.

Me, opening the only bag of pretzels in the house and giving some to the toddler: here you go.

Toddler: No, that’s not the bag.

Me: It’s the only pretzels we have.

Toddler: I wanted the bag from the grocery store.

Me: This is that bag.  It really is.

Toddler: *crying*

Me: Buddy, these are the only pretzels we have.  It is this or nothing.

Toddler, ignoring me: *mumbling*

Me: *puts pretzels away and leaves the area*

 

Two minutes later

 

Toddler: Daddy, I found the pretzel bag from the store!

Me: Good job buddy.

Me, to myself: That’s the exact same bag from a minute ago.

 

 

 

The Robot Assistant’s Amazing Magic Trick

“I see you two have gone the AI in the house route.  Is that an Echo or a Home?” Arnold asked the party host, CJ.

The two dads were navigating the social intricacies of a seven year old’s birthday party.  Finger foods on paper plates were scattered through the living and dining room areas, children played as a group in the back yard and inside a bunch of parents with only school articulation area in common tried to play nice for an hour and a half.

CJ was more than happy to show off the Echo unit that decorated the front room table.  “You know, the voice recognition stuff is pretty spectacular.  We can call up unit coversions for cooking, play music and audio books, I’m building a choose-your-own-adventure app to keep the kids amused.  It works with lights and curtains and with other tool APIs, this thing is going to revolutionize life at home.”

“But the coolest part,” CJ continued, “is that it has a built in magic trick.”

“Magic and technology combined? That sounds amazing,” Arnold said after taking a sip of his beer.

“Oh yeah. Check this out,” CJ cleared his throat.  “Alexa play s-”

“Dad!” CJ’s son shouted, “where’s my sock?”

“Check your room big guy.” CJ answered.  “Let’s do that trick one more time,” CJ laughed, “Alexa, play Ro-”

“DAD!” CJ’s daughter shouted, “Brother stole my sock!”

“Bud, give your sister her socks,” CJ commanded.

“Did I miss the trick?” Arnold asked.

“Once more,” CJ said. “Alexa, play Ro-”

“DAD!” His children shouted in unison.

“Guys, just find your own socks. You have whole drawers full of them.” CJ said, knowing exactly what the issue was.

“Fine!” The children yelled back.

Arnold laughed, “that is magic!”

“I have not been able to say one single command to this robot.  The kids just know, they know, when I am trying to say something.  I can’t explain it,” CJ laughed too.

“Think future models will tune out the voices of children?” Arnold pondered.

“The kids will find a way, man. They always do,” CJ offered.

 

 

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Common Conversations with My Toddler

Toddler, 2:00 am, suddenly appearing beside my bed: Dad.

Me: Ah!

Toddler, trying to fall asleep on my the side of my bed: Daddy. I’m awake.

Me: No. No you are not. Let’s get you back to bed.

Toddler, face in the bed: Incoherent mumbling

Me, putting the toddler back in his bed: Sure thing, sleepy guy.  Good night.

Toddler, asleep: Good night.

Me, heading back to bed: I have to find a way to not scream every time he just shows up in the room.  That cannot be a healthy interaction.

Toddler: snoring

 

 

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Parenting Haiku

Suddenly silent
The children are not in sight
Trouble is afoot

“Eat your dinner please.”
Answered by face full of peas
“You have had enough.”

Cartoons on the screen.
Watched this five times yesterday.
Seven more today.

“F*&*() onion! Ow!”
“Daddy, what does that all mean?”
“Cookies! Don’t tell mom.”

Trying something new
Day begins at 6am.
Sleeping in today.

Diapers everywhere.
Potty training better stick
Diapers go away.

 

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