Just in Time for Mother's Day

Every time the Toddler reaches a new milestone, I beam with pride.

The first time she used a spoon to eat pudding all by herself, I felt like I should throw a party. After all, no other kid has ever before figured out how to use cutlery for anything other than evil.

There was the time when she plainly said, "Bye-bye" at the pediatrician's office when she was nine-months old, causing the nurse and doctor to freeze in their tracks in amazement that she was already talking. (We will be ignoring the part where I told them they were smoking crack if they thought she was talking. It took me a few weeks, but eventually I figured out they were right.)

I looked on in amazement the first time she took a few steps without any help.

The first time she saw the Steelers on TV and said, "Go, Steelers!" I nearly burst with pride. The Pittsburgh Sports Fan stage is a critical one, after all.

Each and every time she proves that she knows a new sign, I glow. The knowledge that she currently knows well over 150 words in American Sign Language blows me away.

But, I don't think I've ever been as proud of a new stage of development as I am of today's. My genius child? Has realized that the words "poop" and "pee" are funny.

Oh, yes.

She yells one or the other or both, then cackles with glee.

I know, you're jealous.


Raising a Burgh Baby the Right Way

There is no way that the Toddler will remember the Steelers winning the Superbowl when she was just nine days old.

She certainly doesn't remember how we lent her lucky mojo to her Grandpa's Colts for Superbowl XLI.

But how perfectly Burghtastic would it be if some of her earliest memories are of attending Penguins playoff games?

(Really crappy video, but it was SO FUN to be there.)

(Somebody got a new lens for Mr. Canon for Mother's Day. That someone is a very happy camper.)


I've Been Shopping at One Step Ahead Again

There is sort of an unwritten hierarchy of assumed parental intelligence:

No Kids = Don't even open your mouth if you are about to spew any words related to kids or parenting. You are a parenting moron. Shooooosh!

One Kid Parent = You have no idea what you are doing and everybody knows it. Feel free to have an opinion, though, because everybody with more kids than you likes laughing at your stupidity.

Two Kid Parent = You've got a clue. No one will doubt you just so long as you manage to take a shower at least once per week. You doubt yourself on occasion, but mostly you think you've got it together.

Three Kid Parent = You're pretty darn good at that parenting thing. Parents with fewer kids marvel at your ability to do simple things like managing to brush your teeth more than once per month. You're pretty darn impressed with yourself, too.

Four Kid Parent = You're beginning to think you're a parenting idiot, but others perceive you as very wise.

Five Kid Parent = A precarious number. If you give the impression that you still have some control, despite being vastly outnumbered, people will still think you are very wise. You know for a fact those who think you are wise are very much so wrong. That knowledge is exactly why you truly are wise. If you come across like your kids are the ones running the show, you are demoted to Two Kid level. You've got a clue, obviously, since everybody is still alive, but there is some doubt as to whether you get the parenting thing all that well.

Six kids or more = Your status is reduced to less than that of a One Kid Parent. If you don't believe me, ponder your thoughts on the Duggar clan. You know you think anybody that has 17 kids is more than a few French fries short of a Happy Meal. You are right.

Despite my status as a member of the lowly One Kid Parent Club, I do know one thing: Kids make messes. I know! Isn't it amazing how I figured that out so soon? See, I'm totally feeling superior for this knowledge because it turns out that not everyone knows it. Allow me to prove me point, please and thank you.

This little invention might just do a good job of keeping little hands from getting sticky while eating popsicles, but isn't that sort of the point of popsicles? And I hate to break it to all the One Kidders that haven't figured it out yet, but that kind of thing may slow the mess parade, but it will not stop it. Wait until the popsicle melts completely then the kid tips all the juice all over your nice white carpet. Oh yes, it will happen.

If it really bothers you that your kid sometimes misses his or her mouth or scoops some peas and carrots onto the table, you might want to consider therapy. Spending $7 on a bowl that might slow food spillage makes you certifiably insane.

Let's see, I could strip my kid down to the diaper and throw her in the bath after she pours spaghetti all over herself, or I could spend $13 on something that I can just throw in the washer. Sounds good, except for the fact that the hands and head are still exposed. And you know what? Whatever square inch is left exposed? That is where the kid will slop the mess.

Apparently it is impossible to spill the contents of this bowl. You can flip it, spin it, throw it, do whatever, it won't spill.

The catch? It's only for use with dry foods. You know, Cheerios and little crackers and the like. You know, the stuff that is super easy to clean up anyway. Whatever.

This thing is an accident waiting to happen:

That spoon has a chamber that will hold the entire contents of one jar of baby food. All you have to do is squeeze it a little bit and the spoon fills with one little bite of food. The problem? Babies have hands. I know this is shocking. Babies like to use those hands. In fact, most of them like to use those hands to swat at anything within ten feet of their little bodies. I'm sure there will be no mess whatsoever when the kid sends the thing flying across the room.

You know what's worse than a kid that insists on throwing their spoon across the room? Giving that same kid a weapon of mass destruction.

You just know that spoon can be used to catapult food thirty plus feet. I kind of want it for myself.

At first, I was thinking this next thing seemed kind of useful. We are in the midst of the torture that is potty training and it sure would be nice to not have to tear apart the car seat when there's an accident in the car.

However, the product reviews made me expand my thinking real quick. I think we should have bought one a long time ago because of this little line, "I am purchasing two for my stepson and his wife to use in a cross-country trip with their 16-month old." How awesome would that be--drive cross-country and never once stop to change a diaper. The PiddlePad will take care of everything!

Give a baby a pacifier and he or she will spit it out. On occasion, the pacifier might just land on the floor. Some parents would find a sink or water fountain and rinse it off. Others would stick it in their own mouth to clean it off before giving it back to the baby. Those like me would figure the kid was the one that spit it onto the floor, the kid can be the one to savor the taste of cat hair and month-old dog poop that collected on the pacifier tip. Or, you can be all nutso and spend a bunch of money on a little contraption specially designed to clean up paci messes.

This one is simply a case of a marketing executive not thinking clearly. A big old mat would be useful for a carpeted floor, but tile? Really? How is putting a big sheet of plastic down on a tile floor saving me any work?

For the low, low price of $12, you can buy a package of three glorified tablecloths that will keep your kid from coloring on your table.

Or you could just grab some newspaper out of the recycling bin.

While you're simplifying things, save yourself $6 and grab a knife out of the drawer, mmkay?

I know changing wet sheets in the middle of the night is the second suckiest thing you can do (changing vomit-covered sheets wins the crown), but I hope that anyone who resorts to putting an $80 electrical device down their kids underwear has exhausted all other options first.

Personally, I'd rather change the sheets. Like I said, kids make messes.