Wednesday, June 17, 2009

He Never Forgets a Face. Literally.

With great trepidation and fear that this is going to make me be that mom, I need to share something remarkable that Alec did yesterday that literally took my breath away.

We've learned in the last six months or so that Alec, who will be two in August, is fiercely gregarious. And he never -- ever -- seems to forget people's names, even people we see only occasionally. I keep joking that he's going to be a politician. Or a car dealer. He likes to repeat people's names. Constantly. He also likes to wave while saying people's names, even when he's in very close proximity to them, a combination I find particularly adorable. (Adults don't usually stand very close to one another, wave and enthusiastically say, "Hi Bill! Hi Bill!" as if they're greeting a long lost relative, especially if they've just said hello not five minutes earlier.) But I'm his mother. Of course I think it's adorable.

Anyway, so here's what happened. I've been taking Alec to a Monday class at My Gym. His regular teachers are named Miss Megan and Miss Megan. (Meaning that during a typical My Gym class, he shouts, "Hi Mitt Megan!!" about eleventy billion times.) But the week of Memorial Day, the gym was closed for the holiday, so we took a makeup class on a Thursday. The Thursday class was led by one of the Miss Megans and another teacher we had never met named Miss Christina.

Fast forward to yesterday. We switched our regular My Gym day to Tuesday. We walk in and see the ever-present Miss Megan. "Hi Mitt Megan!" Alec said with a smile. Standing next to her was Miss Christina, whom he had met once. Two and a half weeks ago.

"What's her name?" I asked for fun, honestly never expecting him to pull it out.

"Mitt Christina!" he said without hesitation.

I clapped my hand over my mouth. Christina's jaw dropped on the floor. Megan started to laugh.

I honestly have no idea how he does this. But someone just told me about this Harvard study, which identified a class of people known as "super recognizers." I'm no scientist, and I have no idea if children even qualify, but I'm saying that has to be what Alec is. I love that it includes the word "super," which makes the whole thing seem vaguely like Spidey powers. But clearly we're onto something.

Now to set up an exploratory committee for Alec's 2042 Congressional bid. I'll just have to pray he's a Democrat.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

It Goes to Eleven. Not.

For the last I don't know how many years, our microwave has not been working optimally.

More specifically, out of the nine digits on the keypad, only the ones in the far left column -- the "1," the "4" and the "7" -- actually work.


Rather than ditching the microwave, this predicament has forced my husband and I to use our creativity. And we've learned, quite refreshingly, that you really only need three digits on a microwave. A frozen pancake is perfect after 44 seconds. 71 seconds works just fine for anything that's supposed to cook for a minute. (1-1-1 will get you there, too, but of course requires an extra keystroke. And it's all about efficiency in our house.) 1-7-1 will get you get you pretty damn close to two minutes. 4-1-1 will reheat a container of Chinese leftovers like nobody's business. And so on and so forth. We've long joked that we were going to write The One-Four-Seven Cookbook, which would only include dishes that can be prepared using those three numbers.

In the last few days, however, we've had a heart-stopping turn of events.

Our 7 no longer works. Our dreams of being perched atop the bestseller list have come crashing down around us.

Because trying to cook with just a 1 and a 4 just might push the limits of our culinary (and mathematical) prowess. I think, sadly, the time has come to retire this microwave. (Or, perhaps, to send it to the Smithsonian?)

I'm sure by week's end there will be a gleaming new little number on our counter, one with nine perfectly good digits just begging to be used. All of them. We'll actually just punch, say, "4-3-0" to heat a Lean Cuisine for four and a half minutes, instead of 4-1-7 or 4-4-4. But I don't know. What fun is that? Where's the challenge? It just seems so...easy.

So I'm taking a moment to bid farewell to our little scrappy microwave, our little $50 piece of Japanese engineering. Despite being, um, differently abled, you've served us well, friend. Godspeed.