The Cider Fridge Rules
16 Weeks, Take Two

The Treble With Clef

Noah has never had a singular attachment to a particular toy. He has no blankie or lovey or cribby or boobedyoopedy or whatever it is that kids have. He's gotten vaguely attached to several toys and carried them around for awhile before moving on -- he's really fond of Grover right now, but if one day Grover happens to get wedged under the couch or dropped in a parking lot somewhere Noah will most likely pay no mind. This is the fate that has befallen several stuffed toys -- and one oversized novelty crayon bank -- who have all been loved intensely for a week here and there before being tossed on the metaphorical Scarlett Fever pile without a second thought.

So at least I have reasonable hope that Noah's current fixation with the dust jacket of Shel Silverstein's Where the Sidewalk Ends will be similarly temporary, because that one is just fucking weird.

He's not even attached to the dust jacket itself -- he's actually enamored with the curly cursive S in the title and on the back cover. And not because it's the letter S. It's because he's decided that it's actually a treble clef, and that...well, that just makes it fucking weirder.

Treble clefs. I am not lying. He sees them everywhere -- our copy of Boynton's Oh My Oh My Oh Dinosaurs! is permanently opened to Di-No-Saurs Sing-Ing A Di-No-Saur Song, so much that the spine of the book is cracked and about to separate; a piece of sheet music at a friend's house caused a goddamn conniption because CLEF! CLEF! HIIIII CLEF!; there's constantly an imaginary treble clef stuck in a closet or in need of rescue (DON'T WORRY CLEF! I COMING!); and God help us all, he's in bed spooning a dust jacket right now, as I type this.

The owner of the aforementioned sheet music declared him a goddamn genius, and more than one non-related adult has marveled at his clearly superior and natural musical talent, but that is because these people do not have children and thus have no way of knowing the truth, which is this:


Or more specifically, this dude:


That's G-Clef, voiced by Ray Charles, and the love of my son's life. We'd own the bedsheets and the lunchbox and probably the G-Clef Funtime Adventure Princess Castle, if they only made any of that stuff. Seriously, if this character came printed on underoos, Noah would be potty-trained already.

But instead, he's forced to make due with this:


I mean, I guess I see it, sort of. I guess in a sea of licensed-character crap it's sweet that he's decided to invent his own little character and its related accessories (also currently much beloved: a Target receipt upon which I hastily scribbled a treble clef in order to distract him at a restaurant, and I'm not sure it's any closer to the real thing than ol' Shel up there), but at the same, baby, we're so not taking a dust jacket to the playground, I don't care how badly Clef wants to ride the swings.

Still. Just because it would totally figure that THIS would be the lovey that sticks around until grade school, I'm a little relieved by the presence of a back-up, in the form of the 30th Anniversary edition that someone gave us.


He won't notice the different color, I'm sure. What matters is that the S/Clef thing is the same, I'm sure.


You really don't get me yet, do you, woman?





just makes him all the more adorable!


Too cute.

My parents like to tell the story of my obsession with a campaign flyer for a state congressman. They claim I sat on the floor and stared at it for hours and hours over weeks and weeks, and it got all crumpled and gross, but I screamed if they tried to pry it away from me.

He ended up winning.


That cute and weird all at once. But I like it.


So cute! You could always use that printer transfer paper stuff to print the clef onto clothing (and other more cuddlable items) for him!


Hee! This reminds me of my son's bizarro fixation when he was about Noah's age. It was a drink koozy (sp?). An animal-print koozy with black feathers around the top. He took it freaking EVERYWHERE and oh my god it was so embarrassing. It was totally squished flat and the feathers eventually all but fell off from him rubbing it against his face constantly. This went on for months. He slept with it at night and would wake up with black smears all over his face from where his drool came into contact with the cheap feathers. There just aren't words to describe my happiness when "Koozy" finally outlived its usefulness...

Natalie the title of this post. And the post itself :)

Kelly G.

You need to find someone crafty to make your son a stuffed treble clef! And get that boy a piano quick.


seriously - one of the most random kid obsessions i've heard yet. cute though.


this one took me back. my girls all had stuffed somethings or baby dolls, but Dane has always had weird things...a change purse being one of the ones that sticks out ;-P


That may be one of the most adorable things I've heard all day.


That's so cute! My oldest slept with and carried around sports trading cards for awhile. He also slept with a soccer ball at one point. Go figure.


My baby is obsessed with the Fuzzies on Johnny and the Sprites...and of course there is nothing like the Fuzzies at the she's made do with a really gross dog toy that might have been a sheep at one point and time...we can't get the damn thing away from her. But sure enough...she points at the TV and then at the disgusting dog toy anytime there is a Fuzzy on.



That's too cute! I would just buy him some sheet music to carry least he looks like a budding composer that way!


Might I suggest:


My 3yo son has been calling Coshay on his "cell phone" for the past year or so. Every once in awhile he'll pick up his Elmo phone and give Coshay a call. "yeah, yeah I'm busy, No, No I'm having a good day." etc.

Bacon Heather

My younger brother slept with a sprinkler head for 2 years. Noah is completely normal.


I love that he talks to the Clef.


I was reading your post thinking, Gee, she should go get the Blue's Big Musical, because I think he would totally flip over the clef in that. And then, LOOK, it's BLUE'S BIG MUSICAL! Even though it's been several years since we've had that movie on constant rotation, I still remember all the songs.
But your boy, still genius, right?


Ohmygosh, Monica, how cute!!


OK, when my Madi Rose was about 4 she went through a period of imploring me to draw (which I suck at, thanks for asking) two characters for her-- the baby bird from "Are You My Mother" and Velma from Scooby Doo. My rendition bore a faint, vaguely handicapped resemblance to the real ones. Then I had to cut them out, and she carried them around, slept with them, took them to the grocery and talked to/for them. Together. Like, they were in a relationship or something. It was pretty weird. They of course started to wrinkle and curl up around the edges pretty quickly, so I ended up gluing them to a paper plate and then re-cutting them out in the hopes that they would last a little longer.
There were a few minor meltdowns when Velma lost an arm and the Baby Bird's beak tore off, but eventually she just kind of ... moved on.
To Speed Racer.


Your mention of the Clef underoos getting him potty trained might not be as far off track as you think. My younger brother was obsessed with billiard balls when he was three (and still not potty trained), so my mom bought a bunch of plain underwear and handpainted billiard balls on them so he's want to wear them and not let them get dirty. It's totally what ended up doing the trick in the end, despite well over a year of failed attempts at potty training.


My son Ben was obsessed with the number 3 box from his advent calendar. I taped that stupid box so many times...

Kids are weird.


That's incredible! I've never heard of such a thing-
it's b/c he's smart
(that's what I always like to tell myself when my son does something like that)
My son LOVES the number 26, and notices it everywhere... ahh, boys :)

shelly beans

here ya go - he'll be in cute clef heaven!


Heh. Definitely been there. My oldest used to carry around children's birthday party supply brochures for WEEKS until the thing would finally disintegrate. And for years he would carry around the DVD case for The Incredibles... sleep with it, eat with it, talk to it... It was tres weird.

But... dang. Blue's Clues or not, that's still pretty awesome that your kid is into treble clefs. :)


My son also has never formed an attachment to a particular toy, although he greets certain ones with such joy that you'd think they'd left home for a 3 month long study abroad program.

And who is that in the last picture? That giant child? Is he one of Noah's friends, or a cousin, perhaps? ;)

Jill (CDJ)

Not that I don't believe Noah's a genius, but as soon as I read about the Clef fascination, I knew it had to be Blue's Clues induced. My 3 1/2 year old loves Scooby Doo and Power Rangers, pooh poohs Hannah Montana and anything he deems more appropriate for his baby brother. In short, he's a boy, all boy -- no more baby for him. But he LOVES that flipping Blues Clues movie (well, Blue's Clues in general, but especially that movie). He randomly sings "Beep bop bay" and "Mommy's got a silly hat" and if given the choice would watch it over anything else on the planet. Crack, I tell you. They put subliminal eye crack in that thing!

Kimberly C

The potty training thing? Have some plain boys underoos monogrammed?embroidered? with the treble clef. He might get obsessed with his underwear for a while but you can bet he won"t want to get treble clef wet or dirty.


Asher isn't into anything TOO weird. He is surprisingly attached to all of his Baby Einstein DVD cases. More the cases than the actual DVDs.

But I did have a friend whose son was totally obsessed with candles. He slept with candles, he carried candles around the house, he took candles out to dinner and to the playground and to church. And they helped him learn how to light them himself, with matches. It was an awesome trick for a 2 year old.

OK, totally kidding about the matches. BUT NOT KIDDING ABOUT THE CANDLE OBSESSION.


Oh, that is so cute!

My DD has gone to a million birthday parties in the last few weeks (what is up with all the April babies??) and at almost every one, the favor came in a giant beach bucket with attached shovel instead of a bag. She loves each and every one of her "BUCKETS! BUCKETS WITH MY TUFFF!" and knows which stuff goes in every bucket. A pox on your house if you throw out or move any of the junk in them. Guess how thrilled I am to have 23 beach buckets in my house filled with lollipop wrappers, sidewalk chalk holders, and empty bubble containers? SO EFFING THRILLED.


Kids are weird, man.

Isabel Kallman

awww, Noah's first love.

Also, how great that readers are unearthing treble clefs for Noah all over the internet. so sweet.



you know you could get some of those fabric markers and draw "clef" on his undies, right?
or have you already done it, and you're just not telling us...


damn you are too funny! Really it should be illegal. I don't even know what that means....


so when are we going to get to vote on our favorite post? Because this... THIS!... is a serious contendah. You've captured the arbitrary/random/WTF-ness of the toddler mindset so perfectly!


Absolutely adorable.

How about a clef aball?

If you want underwear or t-shirts with a clef, you could try printing clef graphics on iron on transfers. Avery® manufacturers it and you should be able to find it in craft or office supply stores.


If music is not a forte, he could always try calligraphy. Plus, yoy can wipe this lovey clean for the most part.


I'm sure you could use a fabric pen and draw a coupld of trebles on a small blanket or something, so that it's more portable, you know? Or even buy a blanket with a music theme...


This brought back so many memories! Not just of the Blue's Clues Big Musical, which was my constant companion for months, but of my son's similar obsessions. Oh, the stories I could tell you about his adventures with the Number Zero!


if you go to and put in clef note and you'll see some tangible "stuff" (including a t-shirt), that he could haul around : )


Our middle child had a nasty gauze strip from the dr as a lovey. Ew, ew, but sweet silence, I let her have it.


It looks like Treble Clef plushies are a little thin on the ground, but there's this soft sculpture one: Link.

I love that you've mobilized half the Internet in an attempt to find a suitable Clef to hug. :)


I think you need to play some Ray Charles tunes for Noah. Ray's the man!

My fave? Shake Ya Tailfeather from the Blues Brothers movie:


Along those same lines, my son was obssessed with composers around age 3.5-4. As in "you be Beethoven and I will be Mozart and we'll get the bad guys," as well as random facts and bios about them.

He is 11 now, has no muscial savant abilities and doesn't. like. to. talk. about. how cute it was. Moved on to Bon Jovi and Guiatr Hero, you know...


My friend's child carried around a bar of soap. I'm thinking that the book jacket is probably preferable to that.


My 18mo has a current fixation with Shel Silverstein's picture on the back of "The Giving Tree". She carries it around loudly proclaiming to anyone who will listen "Daddy!" "Daddy's teeth" "Daddy's nose" etc... Keep in mind she's passed the stage where she calls every man "daddy". And we are very white - her actual daddy has pale skin, blue eyes, no facial hair, and a head of thick brown hair. Reincarnation maybe?


You won't be laughing when you're in the front row at American Idol in 15 years. On the contrary, you'll be crying. And making girly eyes at Simon Cowell.


Check this out - it's not exactly a stuffed animal, but maybe he'd get a kick out of it!


ok seriously: awwwwww! my son used ot sleep with a book that had rocketships on the cover. i found it incredibly original and endearing that he did not limit his love to those things most kids go for. and like noah he never really took to a specific toy a la a wubby or whatever. but when he was about 4 he did develop a fondness for two specific cuddlies and still sleeps with them nightly. but at the same time, he can go without them. it's not a desperate love. it's a healthy attachment.


I have to admit, I love that part of the Blue's Clues episode, with all the little notes singing the blues, and I've always loved Ray Charles' voice. So. Yeah. Anyway, I don't know how crafty you are, but maybe you could make him a little stuffed Clef, and then he could carry that around instead?


I think it's sweet. When my son was 2-1/2 he was similarly obsessed with Handy Dandy Notebooks, complete with crayon. He slept with it and carried one everywhere, including to the hospital to meet his baby brother. And I heart Blues Big Musical movie, especially the "Don't Give Up" song. It will always have sweet memories for me.

Dawn Diff

And here is my random trivia of the day. Did you know that Shel Silverstein wrote the lyrics to "A Boy Named Sue" ala The Man in Black? Greatest. Trivia. Question. Ever.


As soon as I saw the Blues Clues picture I heard,
"Some notes are hiiiiiiiIIIiggghhhh...
Some notes are LOOOOOOWWW...
Put two notes togetha (yeah)
Who knows where they'll gooooooo"

Ummm, yeah. My kid is almost 10. He loved this movie at Noah's age and the damn song is STILL stuck in the back of my head.

Asha {Parent Hacks}

When my son was Noah's age, he was obsessed with moons, and every crescent he saw -- C's, half-Cheerios -- was a moon and had to be admired. Not so different from your treble-some clefs.


You could print treble clef on iron-on transfer paper and iron it onto his underoos!

I'm laughing now. Will not be when my daughter decides what she's going to do next.


Aww so cute. It could be WAY worse right? I think it does show his genious potential. Way to go Noah!


As someone who suffered through more than one music theory class in college, I can honestly say that his love for the clef is leading him down a scary path. Don't let him become like those freaky composition majors who sit in their rooms all night, trying to transcribe Pink Floyd.


Okay, so if he is still all up on Clef when I come to DC in August I will bring a Shirt, Underwear, Pillow and stuffed doll. (Which of course will be STOLEN IMAGES printed on iron on transfers and then IRONED onto objects that he can lick, hug etc.) I am sure that this will be the one thing that sticks, because it is both perplexing and silly. But all I can say is thank your FUCKING lucky ESTRAILLIAS that it isn't THOMAS THE GODDAMN TANK ENGINE!! 4 years of stepping on those wooden, plastic, steam and metal fuckers has damaged my feet beyond recognition. And I am sure that sometime in the next 18 while he is still humping them I will at some point have to be hospitalized for a foot transplant.


Ah, yes. Blue's Big Musical. Have it. Watched it with my daughter/son/dog/anyone who ever came to the house. 900 times. Much loved in this house. My daughter's first words (I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP): "It's a clue".

Yes, I am proud. Her first words were A WHOLE SENTENCE, PEOPLE! She's 10 now and an honor student.

Wait 'til Noah can sing the "planet song" from Blues Clues..."...the sun's a hot star...".

Love your blogs. Congrats on the pregnancy!


The more random the object, the funnier it is (at least in retrospect)! My son carried around an empty milk jug for a while. On the plus side: easily replaceable, no batteries, no noise. On the minus side: weird....and kinda stinky. Makes ya wonder, doesn't it? Thanks for a great laugh today!

Swirl Girl

Remember the line from Steve Martin's "The Jerk"? When he was leaving his house, he walked around picking things up saying stuff like "All I need is this thermos. All I need is this thermos,and this lamp." Not that your boy is a jerk...but is a destined for musical - or perhaps comic genius? Like his mom!
I love your blog!


No stranger than a Land Before Time fixation. My boy was Ducky for months. Have you seen ?


An empty Johnson's Baby Lotion bottle was our Treble Clef. And woe to the stupid parent (::cough::Daddy::cough::) who thought he could substitute ANOTHER empty Johnson's Baby Lotion bottle for THE ONE AND ONLY EMPTY JOHNSON'S BABY LOTION BOTTLE YOU IDIOT! Waaaaa!

Many a night was I digging through the couch, the car, the toy box, my purse like Parker Posey in Best in Show screaming WHERE IS LOTION BOTTLE! HE HAS TO HAVE LOTION BOTTLE!

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