Boiling Over

My older brother has two teenage boys, and he gave me some parenting advice before my son, Milo, was born 21 months ago. “Kids will get into a pattern,” he said, “and then they’ll change the pattern.”


I’ve kept this in mind, mostly so that I appreciate Milo’s current phase and prepare for the upcoming upheaval. But, in truth, each transition has been relatively mild. I know this because the last week, to put it in the most nurturing of terms, has been “rather volatile.”

Apparently, my boy has been paying attention to what happens around the house and he decided to show off some newly picked-up skills without any heads-up and within the space of about five days.


The first one came innocently enough. My home office has no door; only a baby gate separates it from the living room. Whenever I’m on Milo duty solo, I’ve had no hesitation leaving him to quickly check my computer since no real damage can be done. But one day, after slipping away for 90 seconds at most, I came back to find Milo standing on a chair and smiling like it was the greatest accomplishment ever. I couldn’t disagree, although his alone time had just become past tense.


Luckily, he hasn’t returned to the furniture. The same cannot be said for the stove. Milo has figured out that he can stand on the bottom drawer handle and grab the oven handle to explore what’s on top. We’ve done our best to discourage this behavior, but he’s having way too much fun stopping our hearts. So now we’re looking into either greasing up the exterior or building a moat in the kitchen.


That said, fun with appliances has been comparatively low-level stuff in Milo’s World of Newly Existing Objects. He had never before shown any interest in cookware. Then one morning, pots and pans became the most intriguing things. Milo didn’t just want the lid to a pot. He needed the lid to a pot. I was faced with the dilemma of whether giving him one would be the end of this problem or the start of a new one.


His newfound obsession has crossover appeal, as well. Milo is more attached to things when falling asleep, one being the sacred pot lid. The first time this happened, I wasn’t going to fight his grip. As I was walking him around the dining room table in our pre-nap routine, he was holding the lid and becoming drowsy. I was loving this lid. This lid was the greatest sleep aid ever. I was going to order 12 of them. And then it got him so relaxed that he ended up dropping the lid. It hit the floor, proceeded to dent the wood and the sound woke him up enough that nap time was over for the day.


I’m hoping this one doesn’t become a pattern. 


Steve Calechman is a freelance writer, stand-up comedian and first-time dad in Salem. Email him at

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30 Aug 2013

By Steve Calechman