Common Sense Takes a Hike

There are certain things that seem like common sense to a parent. These are things you don’t think you ever actually need to explain to your child. Especially if your child has been identified as “Gifted and Talented”. And it’s not really like you think, “Well, I don’t need to tell her about this. I’m sure she understands.” It just seems so plainly obvious that you never even think of mentioning it. Like this classic for Jane:

You should never microwave your jacket.

See? That’s just not something I ever thought I needed to say. Nevertheless, it would have saved a jacket and a microwave if I had thought to say it. I thought that maybe the jacket was an isolated incident, but sadly, I was mistaken.

On two separate occasions recently, both Jane’s father and I have had to speak this gem:

Don’t take your cell phone with you in the shower.

Yes, I would have thought that it would be quite evident that water and electronics don’t mix. Apparently, though, the need to listen to her tunes overrode common sense. Twice.

And at the conclusion of Sunday’s volleyball game, my husband found himself saying the following words:

You need to tie your shoes when participating in a sport.

Now, don’t misunderstand. This isn’t a simple matter of a shoe coming untied and a busy child failing to notice or, noticing, failing to stop and tie. No, this is a child that has been insisting she needs new shoes for volleyball because she is getting blisters and having other problems. Turns out, she’s not tying her shoes. She’s merely tucking the laces inside. This is a common teen dressing habit for school. You would think that common sense would clearly indicate, however, that this habit is not appropriate on the volleyball court. But, alas, it does not.

This makes me wonder what words are waiting to be spoken next.

The Continuing Saga of Jane and the Microwave

As I was preparing my breakfast plate for the microwave this morning, Jane jumped ahead of me and put a small apple-juice bottle full of ice in it. This is the bottle that she deliberately partially fills with water and places in the freezer so that she can have cold water at lunch.

“Why are you microwaving that?”

“Because I want to melt it.”

“Well you just prevented me from fixing my breakfast,” I said as I stopped the microwave, removed the ice bottle, and added my plate.

“And me too,” added her dad.

“Well, fine! I won’t melt it then.”

“Why would you want to melt it anyway? I thought the point was to let it thaw slowly so you’d have water at lunch?”

“Because I wanted it melted!”

“Then why did you freeze it?” asked her dad.

“Uggh! Because I wanted it frozen but now I don’t.”

“Why not?”

“Because I want to put apple juice in it.”

“No,” said her dad, “you can take the water. Besides, you don’t put a bottle like that in the microwave with the lid still on it. It’ll explode.”

“It will?”

It still amazes me how many fundamental microwave mistakes she makes. I don’t recall my mother having to teach me to use the microwave. I think I will write an instructional manual for the boys based on their sister’s mistakes. Here is what will be in it so far:

1) Ask a parent or another adult for a suggestion on how long to microwave your food. You do not yet possess the skills to make this estimation on your own. Three minutes is a long time for a single slice of pizza.

2) Do not reheat items in Ziploc or fold-over sandwich bags, especially if you haven’t opened the bag. You will most likely melt the plastic onto your food and it is never a good idea to eat plastic.

3) Do not place bottles or storage containers in the microwave without first removing or at least unsealing the lid. Failure to do so will likely cause an explosion. This may sound really cool and exciting to you. Just remember that you will have to clean up the resulting mess.

4) Never, ever attempt to microwave clothing to get it dry or warm. This will start a fire and destroy the microwave. Now that you have been warned, you will be required to purchase the replacement microwave if you do this.

5) If you are uncertain on how to proceed with the microwave, do not ask your sister. She is not to be trusted.

Soggy Animal Crackers and Charred Jackets

Jane is enjoying having access to a microwave at school this year. Yesterday, she took two slices of pizza for lunch. Today she took scrambled eggs and sausage. The eggs were in a square container that she put on its side in her lunch bag. The box came open. The eggs spilled out.

“And that’s why I didn’t get to eat my animal crackers.”

“Why didn’t you get to eat your animal crackers?” I asked.

“Because they were all soggy.”

“Why were they soggy?”

“Because we don’t have any Ziploc bags except the gallon size.”

“That’s funny,” said her dad, “I got a quart sized bag out of the cabinet for Grandma Dot just this morning.”

“Well, we don’t have snack size.” (She had used a fold-over sandwich bag instead.)

“You could have used a quart sized bag.”

“But they are too big and why would I use one anyway?”

“So your animal crackers don’t get soggy,” we said in unison.

“No, my animal crackers won’t get soggy if I don’t put the box on its side. Oh, and I almost caught the microwave on fire yesterday.”

“You certainly have a talent for that. How did you almost catch the microwave on fire?”

“I put the pizza in the microwave still in the bag. The bag was all shredded when I was done.”

“Did you open the bag before you microwaved it?”


“I think maybe she doesn’t need to take leftovers to school until she has completed some remedial microwave usage training,” I said.

“I don’t know,” replied my husband, “She’s not microwaving her jacket anymore. That’s quite an improvement.”