I set the timer on my microwave a lot. Sometimes it has to do with cooking, but most of the time it has to do with parenting. For instance:
- Using the toaster oven (cooking and parenting). I have a habit of putting food in the toaster oven and then forgetting about it. Frozen chicken nuggets don’t taste very good after baking for an hour.
- Chilling a bottle of wine in the freezer. (Despite what you might be thinking, this has a lot to do with parenting.) I have a habit of forgetting about this, too, and then the bottle freezes, the cork pops, and there’s a big mess.
- Potty training. I set the timer a lot when Dylan was potty trained. I would put him on the toilet for five minutes in 30-minute intervals (or something like that) to keep the house from smelling like a sewer (or the public bathroom at the park). Riley’s next! (Ugh.)
- Family dinner. This is a new phenomenon in my house. We rarely eat as a family during the week, so I’ve started insisting that the boys and I sit at the kitchen table together for dinner for ten minutes (instead of eating on the couch in front of the television, computer and toys). We eat and talk about our day, and when the timer goes off everyone is free to leave the table. I’m happy to report we often stay at the table long after the timer goes off.
- General warnings and threats. “When the timer goes off in ten minutes, we are taking a bath!” “When the timer goes off in five minutes, you have to let your brother play on the computer!” “When the timer goes off, you have to take your medicine!” “When the timer goes off, it’s bedtime!” You get the idea.
At this point, the boys are like trained soldiers. They don’t always know what’s going to happen when they hear the beep, but they know time has run out on something. I set it so often that Dylan sometimes yells, “No, don’t set the timer!”
Yesterday, Riley and I went to Target while Dylan was at his afternoon basketball class. While in the store, a woman on a motorized cart shifted into reverse and her cart beeped as she backed up. Upon hearing the “beep, beep, beep,” Riley yelled, “Mommy, time’s up!”