I started keeping a flashlight on the night stand next to my bed when I worked in retail. Why? So I could wake up when it was dark outside and see around my room without turning on the lights to wake my wife. Call me courteous. I would place it on my dresser by the door on my way out of our bedroom so that I could grab it on my way back in late at night, usually after dark when my wife was asleep. Now that I am no longer working in retail, it stays on the night stand in case of power outages.
My daughter frequently jumps into bed with us when she wakes up in the morning but mommy and daddy aren't ready to get up with her yet. She likes to pretend she's a Mexican wrestler and jump on mommy's head. She likes to climb on daddy and see how close she can get to falling off of the bed too. As she was trying to defy death by jumping straight off of the bed, she discovered the flashlight on the night stand. "What tis dat?" she asked. And her fascination began.
It wasn't long before she began asking for the flashlight every time she was in our room. One morning, mommy decided to play shadow puppets with Munchkin. Once she noticed the shadows on the ceiling, my wife made the dog shadow puppet, you know, like this:
Mrs. Matt Daddy asked, "What is that?"
Munchkin said, "Dinosaur!" with much excitement.
Okay, I suppose that could be a dinosaur. I mean, we don't have a dog, and that shadow doesn't really look much like grandma's dog. So, yeah, I can see it as a dinosaur. Mommy and I shrug it off. I ask mommy for the flashlight, "Let me try," I said. So, I grabbed the flashlight, and did the only other shadow puppet I know...
I asked my Munchkin, "What is that one?"
Mumbling a mouthful of consonants like only a toddler can do, she said, "Triceratops."
Clearly, she is far more advanced at shadow puppets than I originally thought. What child under two can recognize, let alone say, triceratops from a terrible one-handed rabbit shadow puppet?
My kid is definitely a genius.