Thursday, August 13, 2009

Hooked On: The Kitchen Timer

It's time for Julia's Hooked On party at Hooked On Houses. Go check out her fabulous site and see what everyone is hooked on this week!

Around the time she turned two, Natalie discovered that she could often slightly delay naptimes by throwing big old hissy fits and whining until I wanted to give myself a lobotomy with a dull kitchen knife. And I don't even have a medical degree.

Lucky for me, I am more determined than she is, and Natalie always ended up in bed, whether she liked it or not. I needed that naptime to unwind just as much as she needed it to sleep.

After witnessing one of these stalling tactics during an early afternoon visit, my former boss suggested that I try using the kitchen timer as an alarm clock of sorts to signal naptime. I dubiously agreed to give it a try.

I tried it the next day.

"See?" I told Natalie as I wound the timer for 15 minutes or so. "When the timer dings, it will be naptime and we will have to go upstairs."

"The dimer?" She eyed it curiously and then ran off to play.

When the timer exploded with noise 15 minutes later, its shrill dings reminding me that a two hour break from mothering had arrived, Natalie had forgotten our little conversation and attempted to talk me out of taking her upstairs.

"I'm sorry." I said solemnly. "But the timer rang."

I said it meaningfully, shrugging my shoulders.

"Oh, okay." she replied, turning towards the stairs in resignation.

Clearly, the timer is to be obeyed.

Natalie is 3 1/2 now, and Michaela Byrd is 19 months old. We still use the timer every day. When it dings, they usually jump in shock and run off, but I always remind them that there won't be time for a story if they hide.

Along with this blog, that cheap little timer from Target has been my sanity saver!

If you have kids, you know how few and far between free time can be for a mom. After a morning of changing diapers, washing sippy cups, reading the Berenstain Bears to two little bookworms, and picking up an endless stream of Fisher Price Loving Family toys, I am ready for that timer to go off.

The timer is like one of those old-timey factory whistles that signals the end of my shift. I can sit in peace, eat my late lunch, check up on my favorite blogs, and wash the dishes without someone hanging on my leg crying "Up! Up!"

There are days that I want to count the seconds down with that timer. And there are days that I set it back another few minutes so we can enjoy some more play time.

I think that the kitchen timer rivals the wheel in greatest invention status.

I'd finish this post, but the timer just rang, and I have to go finish my book.

The timer tolls for me....
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  1. Yes, the timer must be obeyed. Good trick.

    I use it to remind me that I turned the stove on to heat water for tea. I hate to admit how many times I sat at the computer "for just a minute" and let the pot boil dry!

  2. Well at least I have a trick now before I even have kids! Thanks you're great! Plus a lobotomy with a dull kitchen knife = priceless.

  3. What a cute post! Amazing what a little timer can accomplish!

  4. What a great idea. My son is only 7 months right now, so naptime "usually" isn't an issue, but I will keep this in mind for the future.

  5. Great idea! I'm thinking of a way to use it on my husband...hmmmmm...

  6. Too cute! That's one to put on the back burner when I have some kiddies of my own. :-)

  7. I loved this post! My kids are all teenagers now, but it is so fun to remember those long ago days. I loved my nap time too.

    A quiet house and then those sleepy eyes and pink cheeks when they woke up so happy to see each other and me.

    Yep, happy days!
    Enjoy them.

    Becky K.
    Hospitality Lane

  8. I am a firm believer that the timer is one of man's best inventions! What can't it solve?

  9. What do you think about using timers for other situations? Like in the office, for my boss?? I think I'll give it a try :)

  10. The timer is my best friend at our house!! We use it for just about everything!!

  11. Haha this is too funny!! I love it. AND we are having a GIANT neighborhood (kinda) garagesale-bake-sale-BBQ tomorrow at my house. The things we are selling; you would be in heaven!! I wanna shop at my own garage sale! haha I thought of you :)

  12. That's a great idea. Works for other things too.
    Here's a trick for when they get a little older and don't want to fall asleep but you still want them to have quiet time: get a clock radio and set it for 'sleep to music', usually that's 59 minutes. On a soothing, quiet station, of course. Tell them they can get up when the music shuts off. If they happen to be awake then, they get to get up, but often, they've fallen asleep!

  13. I love the timer too! I was completely shocked when it worked with my 3 1/2 yr. old too. I use it to signal the end of play time outside, on the computer, and other transition times. I don't know why it works better than my VOICE, but love it.

    I also use it for myself. When kids go down for a nap, I set the timer for 10 or 20 minutes to clean or use computer so that the rest of the time I can do something fun and relaxing (or take a nap myself!)

  14. I just read your comment over at Olive Rue. I thought I'd speed things up a bit and become a follower ;-).
    I have been thinking about a blog makeover too, maybe 200 followers is a nice goal to aim for, good idea!

  15. What a great idea! I don't have any kids who nap still! and even when they were babies...only one of them was ever a very good napper! I was always jealous of other moms whose kids napped every day.

    I just consoled myself with the fact that all of my babies slept through the night by 8 weeks.

  16. Great idea using a timer. It takes the you out of the picture and puts it on the "timer". Blogging is my sanity too:) Have a great weekend friend.

  17. I've got to get a timer soon. My kid has broken 2 so far. Do they make one out of titanium?

    Happy Saturday Sharefest!

  18. I love the timer idea. That's brilliant. I used to use one for my son when he was playing computer games. When the timer went off, he had to turn the computer off. That was mostly because I'd lose track of time, though! :-)

  19. I've also used it when they got very whiney and just wouldn't stop. I'd tell them they had so many minutes to whine (usually 5) and set the time for 2 minutes. When it went off, I'd tell them, okay, all done. Worked like a dream. I've had a kid sobbing like his heart was breaking hear the timer ding and it was like turning off a faucet. Of course, shorting the time on it is probably the reason they can't tell 'just a few minutes' to a half an hour as teens...but I figure that's my fault. ;D

    And it worked for computer games, baths, etc.

  20. That is such an amazing tip!!!! I'm gonna have to try that with my little twins. I wonder if the my big twins would fall for it, too???

    Your comment about wanting to give yourself a lobotomy with a dull kitchen knife was classic!!!! I have felt the same way too but I never described it as perfectly as you did!!!

  21. You lucky girl! The timer works for you. :-) I can so relate to needing naptime to unwind from mommying. I remember those days. :-)

  22. i use my kitchen timer for laundry. since my laundry's in the basement, i set it after i put a load in the wash and dryer. it reminds me to take it out and helps me get the laundry run through quickly:o)


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