We’ve given up on show business (for now).  Hollywood is a tough act to crack into and we’ve faced rejection one too many times.  (It  was just one time.  We have fragile egos to mend!) So, I’ve been looking for other ways to exploit showcase the Worm and his burgeoning talents.

Enter the Infant Development Study!  This study is currently being held in San Diego (California), Montreal (Canada, not Wisconsin), and Geneva (Switzerland, not Illinois).  If you live near any one of these cities and wish to participate, click the link above or at the bottom of the page.

The IDS has now added my son, Gavin, aka #6.022 x 10^23, into their child development program where he will be tested in the area of language development every 6 months until he turns 4 years old and is ready for school.

Coffee and creampuffs now! Otherwise, it’s too early for this crap!

Of course, I saw right through the smoke and mirrors and wittingly uncovered a baby IQ test!  My anxiety shot through the roof as I wondered:  Is Worm learning at a normal rate?  Is he below average?  Why does he grunt so much?  What if his intelligence score is too low?  Am I talking to him enough?  Do I E-NUN-CI-ATE or do I mumble?  Is that why he can’t understand English?  Is social services going to take away my little ape man because I haven’t taught him enough words?  Am I a roadblock to his learning capability?

When I arrived at the Child Development Lab at the San Diego State University, I was mesmerized by the toys and bright colors of the room and my anxiety quickly subsided.  Worm was working the ‘ignorance is bliss’ angle.  He had no idea what was going on, save for the fact that there were pretty women surrounding and smiling at him.  We both looked at each other and knew that the only way things could get better was if they had Goonies on the TV and let us put our feet on the couch.

The main test had Worm sitting on my lap in front of a touch screen computer (which he doesn’t have at home).  He was shown two objects and was told to “Touch the ….”.  If he touched the correct object, the screen would repeat the word and move on to the next two pictured objects.  If he touched the incorrect object, his parent would get an electric charge (akin to that of a wet tongue on a 9V battery) from the chair.  By the end of the testing, the room smelled like fried porkskin and I lost some butt hair.  (Ok, the last part wasn’t real.  But, if these were the consequences, how many more parents do you think would become involved in their child’s education?)

The experiment study didn’t take Worm away from me (even though the whole time he forgot I was in the room with him), stick him in a cage with chimps, or give him an opportunity to go home with new parents.  I asked if there was a pill that could expand Worm’s brain function like in the movie Limitless, but they looked at me as if I should stop procreating before I pass on my stupidity.  (It’s too late!  We’ve got another baby on the way!)

Gators! I love the Gators! They’re all over my bedroom wall!

All in all, it was a great experience and the team that worked with Worm was warm and friendly.  On top of letting us hang out for an hour, they gave Worm a Target gift card for $25 and I got a cool squeaky wind-up racecar!  Worm chewed on his gift card and I played with my new racecar for the entire drive home!  (Can you say, awesome!)

The study is looking for more parents with kids between 14 and 17 months old.  Every visit takes about 60 minutes (90 minutes if your kid is a PITA) and you get something for your time and participation.  Visits to the lab are only every 6 months, so it’s not a huge time commitment.  But, the overall benefit of participation is in helping the study of infant language development all over the world.

Here are some links to get you started:

San Diego State University Infant and Child Development Laboratory

University of California San Diego Cognitive Development Laboratory