Friday, April 22, 2011

Another Ethan first: He found a lost screw.

I had disassembled the rear-facing car seat to remove the covers for washing. Although they were still in very good condition, there is nothing like fresh, clean fabric for a fresh, clean baby. Despite having attempted to take reasonable care, when I completed I found myself short one screw and one washer. Ethan was with me, so I showed him an identical screw and washer and asked him to help me find them.

Immediately, Ethan wandered away from the car seat over to his tricycle. I didn’t expect him to be of much use there, but he seemed like he was searching, so I didn’t want to discourage him. Next, he dumped the contents of the tricycle’s trunk. Finally, he reached into the trunk to extract two items that didn’t dump out: the screw and its washer.

Now how do you think they got in there?

Finding a lost screw

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Another Ethan first: He saved time with yard work.

Ethan and I went out to rake up a bit of thatch in the back yard. I raked it into piles, and he used a little rake to scoop it into the wheelbarrow. We weren’t very productive, because I always had to rake the thatch onto his rake first. Then Ethan got the idea to put the rake down and just pick up clumps with his mitten-clad hands.

This new approach worked great. Ethan picked up at about the same pace as I raked, saving me a few minutes of scooping into the wheelbarrow by the time we were done.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Another Ethan first: He prepped the pizza toppings.

Ethan has long enjoyed helping make pizza. He started as a cheese sprinkler. (You might say he “shared” the cheese with the pizza.) Later he moved to pepperoni and other toppings. In the last few weeks, he has taken interest in tasting the raw ingredients like flour, sugar, and salt (and baking powder if we’re making pancakes).

Today, he pulled up a chair, opened up a package of mushrooms, and started slicing them with a butter knife. Other than orienting the knife cutting side down, all I did was encourage his initiative. He ended up slicing about two thirds of the mushrooms.

After the mushrooms, he tried helping peel the garlic. That was still beyond him. But he did dump the flour in the mixer (before sampling some, of course).

I can see Ethan progressing to first-rate pizza making before we realize it. The day he no longer wants to “share” the cheese – that’s harder to imagine.

Ethan cutting mushrooms

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Another Ethan first: He uncovered a laser.

The CD portion of our combo iPod/CD/radio player had been on the fritz with a skipping habit. After breakfast, Ethan and I went at it. Plan A was to clean the lens for CD laser, but it was blocked by a plastic cover. I could tell it was designed to move aside in operation, but I didn’t know how. After patiently enduring my unsuccessful fiddling, Ethan asked to turn one of the gears. As he did, the laser moved from its initial inner-most position toward the disc outside position.

Immediately, the laser cover opened. The design quickly become apparent: the cover mechanically closes when the laser is in the inner-most position, probably a parking position used when the tray is open. With Ethan’s help, the lens was now easy prey for my alcohol-laden cotton swab.

It turned out that cleaning the lens didn’t help, or at least not enough. The solution was to adjust a tuning potentiometer (looks like a white screw) next to the laser. I’m still thankful for Ethan’s out-of-the-box intuition; he helped me get over the first hurdle.