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My Own Private Paparazzo

After noting Noah's affection for the remote control, we took the batteries out of a couple remotes we never use anymore (aside: what, do these things BREED or something? is the "Sanyo" remote the bastard lovechild of the Sony and Panasonic remotes? because we don't OWN anything by Sanyo. remotes! cease with your fornicating!) and gave them to Noah to play with. We thought this was terribly clever of us.

This morning, Noah was chowing down on what I thought was one of the battery-less remotes until suddenly, the sounds of Dan Zanes' Catch That Train! (best kids-ish CD EVER, by the way, and you can officially add Mr. Zanes to my list of Bizarre Crushes On Men Whom I Love Merely For Their Remarkable Effect On My Child, like my elderly pediatrician and Joe from Blue's Clues) flooded the room.

Noah and I both jumped and looked at each other, and besides the immediate thought of dude, nice fine motor skills, I was suddenly struck with the realization that Noah had his back to the CD player and the remote in his mouth, and that the trajectory of the...I don't know, remote control laser beam firepower had just traveled through his brain and skull.

"That," I observed to the dog, "cannot be a good thing."

(Ceiba farted and immediately jumped off the couch to smell Noah's butt. She is not helpful, but she is a damn smart dog about a very narrow range of things.)

However, I think the most disturbing aspect of this whole story is that my first instinct, even before grabbing the remote out of Noah's mouth or looking up "remote-control battery-slobber brain tumors" in Dr. Spock, was to rush over to the computer and tell the goddamned Internet.



Well I appreciate you sharing. And I appreciate Noah's fine motor skills! I do not, however, appreciate dog farts. Sorry Ceiba.


Perhaps, the remote laser bounced off whatever Noah was facing and then hit its target. Fine motorskills.

Remotes breed when you turn off the lights ;-)


There are so many remotes in our apartment I don't know how to turn on the TV. I cry out for my boyfriend when I want to watch something. Currently living in France though, and the programs here pretty much suck, anyway.

Noah laughing made even my very Cartesian French boyfriend laugh...


When my little boy was about 15 months old I found him carefully dipping each remote into a large glass of water. He has lined them all up and was just finishing with the last one when I found him. He looked so very pleased with himself. We had to replace all of them. What is it with little kids and remotes?
P.S. I have a new blog!


Typical male... obsessed with the TV remote at such a tender age!!


Too funny. The Ceiba farting, not the possible Noah Brain Tumoring. My daughter is fascinated by the remotes and only wants them after we say she can't have them. If I actually lay one in front of her, no thank you. Forbidden fruit and all that.

I brought my whole fam, including inlaws, into my office last night to watch the Noah laughing video. We were all cracking up and will now form the Idaho chapter of Noah Groupies Anonymous.


It couldn't hurt him too badly, I've been doing this for years. My satellite remote is all wonky and the only way to get it to work is to point the damn thing straight at your jaw and push the buttons. I swear the cranium magnifies the signal or something. You can imagine my boyfriend's expression the first time he saw me changing channels like this.

Heather B.

Choo choo
choo choo cha boogie

That's been in my head for the past week. Also that one about the mariposas, which I happily translated all by myself.

Nicole P

So now the question is, did he push the button on the remote or did the laser beam through Little Man's brain read his thoughts of "Hmm, I could use some Dane Zane about now"?

Chew on that one for awhile.


actually, this is really only secondary to you encouraging him to laugh maniacally at the sight of a plastic baby tumbling onto its head.

I'm only saying.


I did the same thing this morning. I mean, not exactly, but I mean I was all, "MUST! TELL! INTERNET!" about my beyond lame evening last night.


i think Noah'll be fine as long as he's not constantly using his skull as a go-between for remote and CD player.

By the way, how did Ceiba get his name? Is he named after the restaurant downtown? I got engaged there, and if that's where your dog got his name, he suddenly holds intense sentimental value for me, because I'm a sap like that...


So, my daughter used to do the same thing and she totally doesn't have a brain tumor and she's 19 now so I think we're in the clear.

Btw, just saw the video of Noah laughing. I'm sitting here with tears in my eyes. Do I want another baby? Can I wait a long long long (she's 19) time for grandchildren?

Wicked Stepmom

LOL... I used to let The Boy chew on our remotes when he was a baby thinking "what could happen?" HAHA! Two remotes later, I finally realized baby drool + electronics = BAD.

Lisa V

My son doesn't know the entire alphabet yet, but he can turn on the tv and put in a dvd. It's like evolution, they learn what they really need to learn. He is working on pop tops for his cheap beer next.


i have that same must-grab-computer-and-tell-interweb instinct. lord help us all.

anne nahm

*dies laughing*


My husband said something yesterday about something not necessarily postive (can't remember what right now) that could happen to us on our vacation in a couple of weeks, and my response was "Yeah, that would suck. But it would make great blog material".


My babies never fell for the "fake" remote controls. It was only the real one that they coveted. Can't say they had the amazing remote control powers of Noah, though...


What is up with kids and the remote. Alanna is 7 months old and she has her "own" remote for chewing purposes. When we are on the couch and I am TRYING to watch TV she reaches for my more high tech remote and when I move it from her she gets mad. I try to show her, her remote and she always wants bigger and better. damn kids!


Oh, Joe on Blue's Clues is a total hottie in the universe of kids' programming.

Wait until you find yourself trying to figgle out which Wiggle is the cutest.

No, really. You will.


I have a crush on SpongeBob, myself. He's so, so, spongey!

We used to have to tape the TV and VCR remotes together back to back because my oldest liked to stick them in the tape slot in the VCR.

Yes, this was a long time ago. He's now 19 and irritating me in much more sophisticated ways.

Amy also

My first loved remotes also, but was not fooled by the fake (obsolete) one we gave him. It was not the same.


Two comments in two days! I have gone mad! But my nephew (age 2) *loves* _Blue's Clues_, except he prefers Steve. For awhile, he had a picture of Steve, drawn by my 11-yr-old niece, up on the bookcase. My husband and I were at my sister's house one time and she asked Nephew if he wanted to watch Steve. Husband said, "Who's Steve?" Nephew looked at Husband with *such* a look of disgust and disbelief, and gestured to the picture of Steve, clearly thinking, "Who is this moron who doesn't know Steve?"


Battery smattery. He's fine. I drank battery acid as a toddler (before the days when battery covers were screwed on to the toy) and I survived (although my mother told me I did not enjoy the experience-- 'burn mommy, burn' I was quoted as saying).


Car Talk (NPR show) did a whole segment about how if your batteries are dying you can point your remote (they were talking about garage door remtoes) into your mouth and it somehow concentrates the "force" and you can use it longer.
NPR teaches me the most random things....


Too cute! But yeah, the signal probably just bounced off the walls on the other side of the room or something.
The baby laughing clip from yesterday had me in tears and laughter and kept a grin on my face for the rest of the day. Keep up the good work!


Wow are kids are so similar. My daughter has "fake" remotes with no batteries too. I thought it was a great idea! My husband was not to fond of it.....cause now she thinks ALL REMOTES belong to her! Ooopsie!


maybe? you have a ghost.


I'm just glad you have your priorities straight!

By the way, Steve, who USED to be on Blue's Clue's, is oh so much cuter and cooler than Joe.

Just sayin'...


Sheesh...I WISH our remotes would fornicate, only because then we might end up with one that works. The actual remote to the TV finally gave up and died about a month ago (you had to, among other things, crack it open and basically give it a cardiac massage anytime you wanted to change the channel) and we do actually own 3 (maybe even 4) 'Universal' Remotes that all seem to cease communication with the TV right after we misplace the instructions. Sometimes, I'm so lazy that I just would rather watch crap than exert the actual energy required to get up and change the channel.
Maybe when the baby comes in like 4 weeks (PLEASE let it be just 4 weeks) he'll be able to fix the remote problem.


If you like "Catch That Train," you might like (I must be channelling Amazon.com here, maybe because whenever I type in the "www.ama" part of Amazon, my browser thinks I mean you) Robbie Schaefer's new kids' CD, "Songs for Kids Like Us". Robbie is part of Eddie From Ohio (great local folk-pop band), and he's done solo CDs before, but this is his first kids' album. You could pull up the website -- the music starts playing immediately and you can see if it makes Noah dance! www.songsforkidslikeus.com is the site. Five bucks says Noah starts bopping away. And like Dan Zanes, it won't make your eyes bleed.

Robbie's playing at Clifton Town Park (or whatever it's called, it's in Fairfax) tomorrow at noon (there's some big festival, with lots of kids' music and crafts and whatnot), and we'll be there dancing along!


The Internet is also amused.

for the record, it is infrared but not a laser. So no danger to baby eyes or brain, but if he chews off the top the little rubber buttons could be a hazard. Found that one out the hard way, let me tell you.

Jerri Ann

That's pretty amazing, what a cool kid you have there!

By the way, I have a guest blogger today if you have time, stop by and give her a whirl!


Do remotes emit a laser? I thought it was just some kind of frequency that only men can hear whilst sleeping and someone turns off the game they were "watching". Either way, I am so totally sure that they are no more dangerous than a cell phone. If he plays with it long enough, maybe he will develop the ability to work the electronics himself, sans remote. And that would be way cool, cooler that cool.

Also, love love love Steve.


At least he wasn't throwing it down the toilet.


We have a big Dan Zanes crush going on over here as well - did you see him yesterday on Sesame St.? Very cute, albeit with unfortunate hair.


your blog rocks! I have been reading for awhile now, connecting from zoot, but you are so damn funny!

Real Girl

It should be okay unless Noah switches the TV to the Crocodile Hunter. Lordy that man's annoying. Crikey!

Jo Anna

God. What IS it with dogs and babies and farting? It's been over 3 years since the birth of our twins and I feel like every other story we tell invariably involves some combination of the three.


As long as we're recommending kids' music...

Check into Ralph Covert, a Chicago pop-rocker dude who records intelligent and fun kids' music on the side.

http://www.ralphcovert.com/ (Check out his band The Bad Examples too.)

Guaranteed not to make moms' ears bleed. And he's a cutie-pie too!


Yes, to Ralph Covert too! We love his albums "The Amazing Adventures of Kid Astro" and "At the Bottom of the Sea". (And Pam, you'll probably like Robbie Schaefer too - sounds like we have similar tastes) Ralph comes to D.C. or Arlington now and again and plays locally, and the little kids make a mosh pit or start climbing up on the stage - a great show.

I came back, Amalah, because I forgot to note that Robbie Scaefer's oldest son is named Noah, so you know he's got good taste . . .



My toddler has loved the remote for EVER. I guess because it is clearly Mommy & Daddy's favorite toy, since we're always fighting over it.

He's pretty good with it--can make it do things even we can't figure out. He also knows how to use speed dial on my cell phone, and I've never even done it.

Kid's already smarter than I am. Scary!


Hey -

I have a Sanyo TV and no remote for it. I lost it during one of the five hundred moves. So, you know, if that one happens to be the least favorite out of all of the ones that Noah chews on, you can always send it to a girl on the west coast.

I'll trade you homemade soap for it!

Katie Kat

Yep, that's how I'm getting my daughter to crawl. We just put the remote JUST out of reach and she will do ANYTHING to get to it. Of course, we don't let her play with it, so once she gets it, we take it away and have to go through "remote withdrawal" symptoms... i.e., SCREAMING like howler monkey. But, whatever works, right?

P.S. We're not into the kids music yet, but I feel an irresistable urge to go get some. I'm frightened by Dan Zane's hair tho. And, just in case you guys don't know yet...



The laser thing bounced off the wall. We have a projector TV (Yes my husband is a techie geek) and all we have to do is point the remote at the wall, press a button--and this works for all the remotes, satellite, VCR, DVD player--and the gizmos will turn on. Noah's brain is safe. :)

Artemis Rich

We also have a battery-less remote just for the baby (can I still call her that at 13 months?). She still covets the one with the power, and she *does* know the difference. I catch her holding her faux-remote at the screen and frantically pushing the buttons, brow furrowed in consternation.

Oh, and check out the Sippy Cups. http://www.thesippycups.com/

Cooler than Dan Zane could ever *dream* of being and without the unfortunate hair.


Please! VIBES are all over the place--coming out of your computer, cell phone, microwave, etc. Try a Google search on "electronic smog"--our brains have no chance anyway.

At least he can't figure out how to take the batteries out yet. I once came back from the laundry room to find my son with an open remote and NO BATTERIES. I had to call poison control, who told me that if I couldn't find them in 5 minutes, to call an AMBULANCE. That was the longest 5 minutes EVER. And he had hidden them under the couch cushions in another room, so you can imagine how much I trashed the place. But REALLY FAST! I think I would make a good burglar.


One of my old boyfriends used yo point the remote at his little bro and sis and press buttons telling them that the red light at the end was giving them cancer. They are all cancer-free adults now. Also Steve is > Joe on Blues Clues. You should check out Joe Scruggs for mo' baby music. Two of my high school pals that were from difft. peer groups saw each other at a Joe Scruggs concert in Houston and both called to tell me about how their kids loved him and that they saw each other there.


Noah doesn't like Steve. He turns away and won't watch any episode that doesn't have Joe in it.

I'm guessing Joe reminds him of Jason? Because it certainly can't be the sweater.


Here's the deal-- Noah is about 2 days away from discovering your deceipt. A remote with no batteries? MOM- Puh-lease! A keyboard not connected to a computer? Ack, how dumb do you people think we babies are. A cell phone with the keypad locked? UN-ACK-SEP-TUBLE!

I used to try to teach my kids to be smart, but further down the line I tried to keep them from being smart thinking I could get further with my mad parenting trickery, but they always figure it out.

I'm pretty sure it's a necessary step in the progression to the teen years where they generally think they are the most all-knowing creatures on earth.

And then they have kids of their own and realize how dumb they actually are.

Parenthood -- the great equalizer.


well of course you came to tell us! geez! and also, duh!


It's so funny that you wrote this today, because just last night I discovered that the TiVo buttons still work even when my fatassed cat is lying on the coffee table blocking the remote's line of sight. I thought TiVo's ability to change channels through my cat's body was just one more example of its superiority to all other electronics, but I guess not. And, yes, I immediately thought, I SHOULD TELL THE INTERNET.


I wounldn't worry about the laser beam through the brain; it probably just bounced off of something in front of him before hitting the cd player.

The laser beam, that is; not Noah's brain.


Remotes, cell phones, pretty much anything with button that you would not want them to touch. They are irresitably drawn to all things electronic that could be ruined by baby drool.

I like Joe better than Steve too. He'd probably be really hot without the sweater. Have you checked out Sporticus on Lazy Town? Grrrrrrrrrr.



Bad remotes breeding in the living room. I have the opposite problem.

My remotes all seem to be running away to join a convent or something. I swear, one second they're in their little remote house, the next they've abandoned ship.

You're not alone though. Nearly every word that comes out of my kids mouths, I stash away in the part of my brain for "Blogging". Remember that Homer Simpson diagram with the parts of his brain? It just means that we definitely have a rather large "Blogging" one.



AMALLLAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!! You are too funny! It's all good! Noah's going to be fine! And you're totally normal--blog addiction is totally normal and unavoidable! Don't sweat it! ;)


Yep, my son (who is about a month older than Noah loooves to play with his special sans-battery remote too. Guess it's a guy thing.


I wanted to post a comment below, on the post about NYC subways and strollers. I have done it a couple of times, and I highly recommend the Combi, mentioned above. It will even fold small enough, with one hand, to hang off your shoulder.

Remotes are like bunnies at night. And then the working ones hide themselves.

Suzy Q

OK, the comments are apparently closed on the Noah video entry. But, can I just say that sometimes, I believe my heart is made of stone but that video totally de-stonified me. Just....totally.

What an amazing baby you have.


Suzy Q - I know, right?

But thanks, really.


Yeah! Dan Zane is cool, 'cos he used to be in the DEL FUEGOS. Big article on kindie rock on Salon.com today that you might enjoy - good to see artists putting out cool stuff for the wee ones.


Have you heard the Curious George soundtrack yet? It's mostly Jack Johnson... and it's the BEST kids CD ever. I don't have kids, but my mom has a pre-school, so that's how i know. I listen to this CD at work... it's just that good.


You never fail to make me laugh!


Dan Zanes is totally crush worthy - even with the funky hair. Plays good music, too.


It's amazing how we entertain our children. Instead of remotes, I give my 2 year old a calculator to play with to keep him entertained.

I agree about remotes fornicating, it seems to be happening here as well. It must be an epidemic! Or pandemic! Or whatever the new trendy word is!

(Sorry I haven't been around, I've been busy. I missed my daily dose of you!)


your nose looks funny.

Erin O'Brien

A few months after my daughter was born, she was crying loudly and I (in the throes of sleep deprivation) picked up the remote, pointed it at the tv and tried to turn down the volume!

Occidental Girl

I love you for sharing so quickly!


Isn't it everyone's first instinct to share our bizzare news with our thousands of eagerly waiting fans? Well, for those who have them anyway!


My two year old son manages to push buttons on our remote to make our tv do things that I can't even make it do and the only way to fix it is to unplug and replug the tv back in.

And I totally understand the crush on Dan Zane.

Real Girl

After (finally!) fixing my QuickTime problem, I was finally able to hear/see Noah laughing. PRICELESS. Real Boy marveled over his set of lungs.


Oh Amalah, I love your blog.

I have one question, totally unrelated to this post:

What is your 2006 summer playlist? I'm a music nerd. I must know.

Anyway, love the blog. Keep up with the funnies!


Hey, just wondering if all the torrential rain has affected your power but realized that you wouldn't be able to answer if it had. Duh.

Also, I imagine you are relieved not to have to go out in this weather. Heard there were mudslides -- any of them close to you?

So I just wanted to check on you guys.

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