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Slices of Life: A mom's talents run deep
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My talents never cease to amaze me. Multi-talents, actually; I am multi-talented and living in a household where my elaborate skills are acknowledged and revered. Well, maybe not revered, but they are used on a daily basis.

There are certain things - many things - at which I excel. I am so good at so many things that virtually no one but me is able to do them.

Lots of them have to do with the fact that I have super X-ray vision. I can see practically invisible items that no one else can. My acute sense of eyesight enables me to see crumpled paper, crayons, Hot Wheels and Legos from 5 feet away, which is the approximate distance from my eyes to the floor. The non-adults in my family can't see across this vast expanse, even though most of them have eyes that are much less than five feet from the floor.

My finely tuned eyesight can also make out dog hair on the carpet, food splatter in the microwave and (ahem) droplets on the toilet. My world is a fuller, more colorful place because of my tremendous eyes. I wonder what the world looks like to normal people?

I've also been blessed with supersonic hearing. My ears are nearly bionic. They can detect sounds - like a running toilet, dripping faucet, breaking glass or wrestling in the living room - that are lost to average human ears. The kids living with me (my offspring) were apparently born with normal ears, because they couldn't recognize a running toilet if they were seated atop it.

Sophisticated spatial talents - I've got those, too. They come in quite handy. I feel great sympathy for the people who weren't born with groovy spatial talents like mine. These poor souls aren't able to load and unload the dishwasher, fold clothes or even line up the 18 pairs of shoes and boots scattered by the back door. These tasks are far beyond the capabilities of people with everyday skills. It takes someone with a fair amount of genius to load the dishwasher.

As incredible as this all may seem, my list goes on. I was born with the empty gene. I possess the amazing and astounding ability to discern whether something is full, or empty.

Take a box of cookies. Most of the young people in my house know how to open the box and eat the cookies, but they are unable to determine when the box is empty. They simply take the last cookie, and leave the box on the shelf in the pantry. It takes years of practice to be able to lift an empty cookie box and know, without a doubt, that all the cookies are gone and it is time to toss said box in the garbage. I am lucky my kids have allowed me the opportunity for so much practice.

As far as talents go, mine run deeper than the pile of Legos on my living room floor. For instance, I possess instantaneous laundry finesse; this enables me to assess a discarded item of clothing and immediately know whether it belongs in the closet or laundry pile (but never, ever on the floor). I can exchange an empty roll of toilet paper for a full one with just two hands. Pairing mittens - not to mention socks - is practically my forte, and not only am I able to identify when a toilet needs flushing, but I can complete the task with one flick of the wrist.

You might find it hard to believe that I possess skills that surpass the dreams of regular people, like my kids. Bless them. They take my talents in stride and treat me like my gifts are completely normal. Even a super-human, super-mom wants to feel normal a couple of times a week. I am lucky - they are so good to me. What more could I possibly want?

- Jill Pertler's column appears Thursdays in the Times. She can be reached at