Monday, February 04, 2008

Our Five-Alarm Daughter

Lily's Fire Alarm FetishOn New Year’s we took the kids to see National Treasure 2 which the boys in particular were wild to see. The only one who wasn’t thrilled was Lillian who was supremely bored. I wanted to go as a family but allowing a five year-old to see a PG movie, even if it was clean and Disney, went against my principles, mostly because we wouldn't have let Grace go to an action movie when she was five. Sigh. I suppose it’s the Curse of the Youngest Child.

But for good or bad we took them all, making plans to go to the 2:25 pm show, but at the ticket booth found we’d missed the economy hour by a measly twenty minutes (they adjust for holidays) so the whopping total for all six tickets was forty-eight dollars. Forty-eight!!!! What?? Of course by then we were rather stuck, it would be easier to withdraw from Iraq than to go home without seeing the movie and by the time we were seated in the theater it occurred to us that even if we’d made the economy show it would have been a difference of a mere eight dollars. Ridiculous. And they wonder why Hollywood’s struggling. But we all had a good time (except for Lillian who was bored) and it had us cheering.

The only thing Lillian found interesting was a scene where one of the characters uses his Macbook to hack into an alarm system. Lillian perked up and said (in a loud and echoing fashion) “HEY DAD! He’s got a computer just like you—did you see that?? JUST LIKE YOU! Can you turn on alarms with your computer? Can you??”

We did a big “Shhhh!” but she was still excited. You see she’s been in this really weird phase where she’s fascinated/obsessed with alarms. I’m not sure where it's come from but one day she started asking me if we had fire alarms in the house and where they were and how they went off and why they went off and what the difference between an alarm and a siren was. A lot of questions.

Then she started noticing them other places too—at Walmart, at the library, at church, at school—every public building we go into has her looking for the fire alarms and I always forgot about it until she points them out to me. "There's the fire alarm Mom—see it? See it? There's three at the front and three at the back."

Then she started into burglar alarms and trying to incorporate them into her body of knowledge. “Why don’t we have them mom? Can we get some? Do they go off if there’s a fire? What if the burglar’s on fire Mom? Will they go off then?”

Then she saw some motion detectors and that opened up a whole new set of issues, “What are motions? How do the machines find my motions? Can they smell them? Can they tell if I'm moving in my bed? Can they tell if I'm happy or sad? Do they protect us from fires? What happens if they go off? Can they tell if there's a burglar making motions? What about fire motions? Why don’t our motion detectors in the garage work? Can we get them fixed?”" And on and on.

It was kind of funny at the beginning but it's gone on for long enough now that the conversation has pretty much run its course and the topic has become thoroughly exhausted—nearly as exhausted as I am though she's still going strong. I’m wondering when she’s going to tire of the smoke detector issue and move on. Probably not as long as there is a car alarm going off in the city someplace.

I guess it’s just funny how you take it for granted that you just know certain things as an adult—like when the kids saw a campaign sign and I had to explain all about campaigning and the political process which opened up issues of elections and the bi-party system and democracy and all sorts of hairy, not-so-easily-explained abstractions.

So you see she was pretty excited for a bit there when she thought that Andrew might be able to set off smoke detectors, burglar alarms, sirens and/or motion detectors with his Mighty Mac. Not quite. Almost, but not quite.

32 comments:

Teachin' this mommy new tricks! said...

First! WOW! No Way! I never thought this could happen...wow now I don't even know what to say! First to comment...big honor! :) ha hah. Lillian is cute, at least she didnt impersinate the alarm in the theater! :)

grace said...

Amazing how children notice things especially in movies. My 4 year old screamed "Papa!" on the screen when she saw the first Harry Potter movie. Hubby wears glasses similar to Harry, that's all. :-)

ewe are here said...

The price of movies really annoys me. £7 over here for a full price ticket; that would by $14.00 US right now. Sigh. And don't get me started on the price of movie refreshments.

Grrrrrr.

Probably just as well we don't have the opportunity to go that often.

SudsMuffin said...

VERY cute. My daughter is obsessed with her birthday. It was never so bad though as the year she turned 5. The very next day, she started planning for her 6th birthday, what the theme would be, who she would invite, what they would eat, what they would do, where they would go, what she wanted for gifts, the invites. Everything. And she talked about her upcoming 6th birthday for EVERY single day that entire year! *sigh* Cute but we have to remind her every now and then that the world does not revolve around her. You should hear her THIS year. She'll be 10 on Easter day. LOL

luvmy4sons said...

Too funny! That is an adorable story! Wonder what that means about her future career? AND I so know what you mean abut the youngest being exposed way earlier to things that the older ones weren't! I haven't found the answer yet and MY baby is 12!

Babystepper said...

Just be glad she hasn't set off any alarms yet.

When my little brother was two he set of the fire alarm at the library. He didn't know what it was, just that it had this cool little handle that could obviously be pulled down to break this cool little glass tube. We slipped away from the very angry librarians when the fire department showed up to try and turn it off.

Luke said...

OK Michelle...Bragging Moment.

National treasure 2 eh? Becca and I saw part of it being filmed last year. We were coming back home late from a friends house on Fort Belvoir south of DC along the George Washington parkway and saw them shooting a night scene on a barge out on the Potomac. Becca and I didn't like the first movie so we never saw the second but if a night scene on the water made it into the movie just remember that Becca and I were there!

Jolene said...

When my son was little he was obsessed with trailer hitches. Any trip to the store would result in a thorough cruising of the parking lot to look for cars with trailer hitches.

The Source said...

Isn't it funny the things that get "stuck" in their heads?

That's a gorgeous picture of Lillian!

Amber said...

My hubby and I were talking about the insane price of movie tickets just that week. And THAT is why we leave the children at home. Oh, and the fact they they would never sit through a feature either. :-)

MommyTime said...

I love these obsessions. We have themes (all at my son's urging) most weeks for our library books. As a result, Son can tell you all sorts of things about rocket ships, dinosaurs, knights in shining armor, etc. Sometimes the theme takes weeks to get over. Hence the dinosaur puzzles, dinosaur museum on his dresser, and so on. I do sometimes find it exhausting to have to draw my 1,435th ____ (fill in current obsession) for him to color, but at least he's learning to do "research" along the way. We look up everything online or in books in the library. Maybe with her newly developing reading skills Lillian would enjoy a book about alarm-type gadgets...librarians can find anything!

bleeding espresso said...

Well that's an interesting fascination--so long as she's not working on disarming them I suppose ;)

One of the best things about living in a foreign country is that I still get to have those moments of "What's that? What's it for?" Seriously!

And yes, movie prices are insane if you're dropping 50 bucks on a matinee. Crazy!

My Ice Cream Diary said...

Have you taught her how to make her own early warning systems? We had lots of fun making those as kids. We would set up eleborate alarms around our bedroom doors and then try to sneak into eachother's rooms without setting them off.

Maybe someday she will be building elaborate alarm systems for our National Security =)

Janet said...

We haven't attempted the movie theatre yet. I did try to take them to a children's theatre production of "Cinderella" last week. The Queen was sort of interested, but had to go potty every ten minutes. DeBoy ran up and down the aisles doing his best dinosaur impression. I gave up and sat in the lobby for the last 25 minutes (Scott was running the light booth for the show, which was part of the problem).

Julie said...

Your girl is hilarious. Ahh, the thrill of being young.

I took my 12-year old to see the Hannah Montana concert movie and was STUNNED to be $15 per ticket. Add in two measly small popcorns and i spent $40 for 1 1/2 hours of fun.

Hoo boy.

An Ordinary Mom said...

It is so funny to watch the things kids get attached to. I never would have guessed alarms would have been one of them :) !!

Beth said...

The endless questions are a good sign...it means your daughter is smart!

At least that's what I keep telling myself when I get bombarded with all the who, what, when, why, where questions All.Day.Long....sigh...

Irene said...

Very cute story. We don't go to movies much. We did go a few months ago, and it was at dinnertime. For 3 of us and popcorn and a drink it was almost 30 bucks! That was CRAZY.

We are going to stick with the dollar theater from now on.

Miriam said...

My two year-old has a similar obsession, but without the words to express any of it. He occasionally comes into the living room, takes my hand and pulls me into the entryway to point out the smoke detector stuck quietly to the ceiling. His running stream of babble is full of sincere intensity, signifying.... who knows? It hasn't even gone off for a few weeks, despite my cooking.

Maddy said...

Yes the connections they make always keep us on our toes.
Best wishes

Damselfly said...

$50 for a family to see a movie?!

Your girl is so cute. My husband probably would have said, why yes, he *can* do alarms with his computer (even if he can't). ;)

Laura said...

These moments of endless questions are fun and annoying at the same time to me. I love your stories of family life. Your youngest is the same age as my oldest, so it helps me brace myself for things to come... Thanks for the stories.

Brandie said...

How funny!!

We took the whole family to see it too, my youngest was through about half way.

Maryann said...

Maybe she'll be a cat burglar. (haha Just kidding.) I would encourage her interest.It's unique in a little girl. I like it. She sounds very smart :)

Jordan (MamaBlogga) said...

If your kids come up with any more political questions, you can send them my way! Two years as an American Heritage TA and I miss it desperately. Make sure they're typing they're own emails, too--this is so you can get a break!

(Oh, and Miriam reminded me that Hayden loves smoke detectors, too. He likes me to push the test button.)

Lori - Queen of Dirty Laundry said...

When my girls were in daycare (briefly), it seemed there were fire drills almost daily! My girls called them "farm alarms" and spotted them everywhere we went. Now, though, they're fascinated with security cameras, the ones that are hidden inside glass domes.

Mother 25 - 8 said...

Yes, I found your blog on the designmom site and thought I'd like to read your stuff for a little bit, you seemed interesting to me. I hope you don't mind my link, but if you'd prefer the privacy, I do understand and I'll remove it. But yeah, your blog caught my attention so I wanted to read when I could.

Loralee Choate said...

I love the question phase. The way their minds work just kill me.

P.S
I want a puurrrddyy Mac laptop.

P.S.S
My geek husband is die-hard anti-Mac.
What do you think my chances are?

Sigh.

Mother 25 - 8 said...

Oh, I see. Well, it's your blog I liked, so I need to change that. Thanks for the heads up!!

my4kids said...

Love the picture by the way, she is such a cutie!
I remember my kids doing that....actually Madison still has a tendancy and I totally feel your exhaustion.....

SpokaneMama said...

One of my favorite quotes:

LIFE IS A TEACHABLE MOMENT!

I have one of those 5 year olds too...but she is 9 now so we've been answering those questions for four more years than you! It doesn't get easier...we just keep telling ourselves that it's a sign of intelligence. She is in the gifted program at school.

mumple said...

Five is a fantastic (and exhausting) age, isn't it?