Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Super-hearing can be super-annoying

Mum has been known to enjoy superhero comic-books, but their eruption into our daily life is proving rather a chore.

The other night, Pa got home from work at around 10.30pm to find the hall very quiet. He gently let the door clack to, then padded into the bedroom. But it was too late. Mum had been trying to lull Sonny into sleep - and it seemed for a while that she had succeeded. However, though she had hardly heard it herself, the sound of the door being unlocked from outside had apparently resounded like a loud crack for the little fella's super-sense of hearing. His eyes flicked open and he was promptly energised as though ready to go save someone trapped in a burning house (though he dispensed with a too-fast-for-ordinary-eyes costume change into tight-fitting spandex).

To keep the account brief, let's just say Sonny spent the next 15 minutes bouncing mercilessly around the bed, as his parents tried to convince him that it was past bedtime. Superman draws his powers from the sun, but since it was plenty dark, our very own mighty-tot must have been leeching vigour from starlight. In any case, it was clear that certain lessons needed to be learned.

Mum and Pa are now trying to polish up our whispering and sneaking powers, as we remind ourselves that the little fella has gained uncannily acute senses. In order to preserve oases of peace and quiet, once Sonny has drifted off into la-la land, we'll probably have to become used to muttering to each other as though transmitting state secrets and tiptoeing around our place in the manner of cat burglars.

Then again, we're beginning to fight back. Through careful observation, for instance, we've discerned that Sonny isn't necessarily jolted out of stupor and into super-awareness simply by any old sound. He's been known to snooze contentedly while we're at an eatery, with a healthy buzz of conversation all around us. What seems to spook him, rather, is sudden spikes in volume: Presumably, such abrupt variations signal a potential need for a super-rescue. But rather more difficult to get around is Sonny's impossible ability to spot items that he really shouldn't be touching. If, for instance, there is just one toy in the flat that has recently been dropped in the street and needs cleaning, the he can be relied upon to immediately scamper in that direction - intent on a good chew. He'll see right through any attempt to distract him with various legitimate toys, and will bound heedlessly past us to jab purposefully at the TV remote.

How does he do it? We don't know yet, though submissions for research theses are welcome. Meanwhile, we'll just have to draw on our powers of super-patience...