Friday, Jan. 26, 2007 | I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging but my kids have learned a lot this week.

Of course, when I tell you what they learned, you’ll realize I’m not bragging at all.

First, my 10-month-old son, Owen, must be some kind of prodigy because my wife taught him to wave “bye bye.”

To be honest, that’s a matter of interpretation because I haven’t actually seen him do it. He supposedly sticks his hand up and down that sort of mimics the traditional “see you later” motion, but all I see him doing is stick his hand in the air like he wants me to high five him.

Of course, if I try to do that, he looks confused. Then again, most people look at me that way when I high five. That’s because I do it at inopportune moments like at the DMV, waiting in line at Starbucks and the final seconds of the Chargers’ playoff loss.

I am giving him some slack and am hoping he will show me his bye-bye sometime this weekend. I’ll update you at a later date on his progress.

On the other hand, he apparently did learn how to poop in the bathtub. Problem is, that’s not something we wanted to teach him.

It WAS a learning experience for my 3-and 3/4-year-old daughter, Alex. She was also in the tub and learned that it’s no fun when your brother poops in it. It’s good to get that out of the way early. I had to wait until I was 8 to learn that.

Alex had some other life lessons as well, especially this past Monday.

My wife and I decided to go out for American-style Mexican food. Let me explain: One of the joys of living in San Diego is the wide variety of Mexican food restaurants that feature various styles of regional cuisines.

I love all the choices, but sometimes I want Mexican food the way my American mom made it. That means hard shell tacos stuffed with ground beef. Now, 25 years ago, that was pretty much all you could find here but now that San Diego has embraced more styles of Mexican cuisine, places that serve “Ameri-Mexican” food are becoming fewer and far between.

However, there are places like Ponce’s in Kensington where a guy can order ground beef tacos without receiving smirks from the wait staff.

It’s very family-friendly. The staff even lets us put a car seat on top of the table.

It was here at Ponce’s that Alex had one of those defining moments of education. Like many big lessons, it started out small.

My wife and I were eating the free hot carrots when Alex picked out a pepper for me.

She knows I like spicy food, and she loves it when I eat a pepper and than act like my mouth is burning. But she stuck her fingers in the vinegary pepper water and, without thinking, put it to her lips.

“It’s hot,” she says.

“Yes, pepper water is hot, sweetie.”

“My lips are burning.”

“Okay, I’m going to take you to the bathroom to wash up.”

“My wife is holding Owen, who just woke up kinda cranky from a nap, so it’s my job to take her to the bathroom. I decide to take her to the men’s room — especially because it’s empty.

Alex knows that men and women are different, but how they are different is something she’s still processing.

She had a major light bulb moment when we walked in and she saw two stand-up urinals.

“What’s that?” and she points at them.

“Oh, those are urinals.”

“What are they for?”

“Oh, well, you know that men like Daddy and Owen have peepees, right?”

“Yeah.”

“Well, that means they can stand up when they go to the bathroom. These urinals allow them to do that standing up.”

“Why can’t women do that?”

“Cause they’re different.”

“Why?”

“Because that’s the way they’re made. It’s like a toaster and a microwave oven. They both cook but do it in different ways.”

“I want to go potty standing up.”

“I understand, but if you do that, you’ll make a mess.”

“Do you make a mess?”

I demur on that point, finish washing her hands, help her wash her face to clean off any excess pepper water, and return to our table.”

We’re waiting for our food to arrive, so my wife and I start talking to Alex about her birthday, which is a little ways off and we talk about the Barbie-themed party she has asked for.

I relax slightly, and as our food arrives, I ask her what she wants for her birthday.

“I want to go potty standing up.”

David B. Moye is a La Mesa-based writer and admits he often asks himself, “What would Ward Cleaver do?” He can be reached at moyemail@cox.net. Or, send a letter to the editor.

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