Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Critique - lecture: A Midsummer Night's Dream

Mommy, Dr. Peter Saccio of the Teaching Company said in his lecture that we don't mix up the two males -- Lysander and Demetrius -- but he's wrong, because Puck did mix them up.

Mommy, Dr. Peter Saccio of the Teaching Company said in his lecture that we don't mix up the two males -- Lysander and Demetrius -- but he's wrong, because Puck did mix them up when he gave them the special flower juice that made you fall in love with the person whom you first saw when you woke up.

The juice was supposed to go into Demetrius's eye, but Puck put it in Lysander's eyes instead. And so when Lysander first woke up, the first person he saw happened to be Helena. And Lysander said, "Not Hermia but Helena I love! Who would not change a raven for a dove?"

Thursday, December 3, 2009


"Mommy, I'm going to be a fruit-and-vegetarian." -- S.C., age 7

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Steam Clouds or Steam Streams?

Thanksgiving dinner was in the works, and I had opened the lid of the roaster to evaluate the progress of the turkey. Sophia Claire wondered aloud why the steam "looks like an atom bomb explosion" with a mushroom-shaped cloud above. After several observations of the rising steam, she noticed that -- and wondered why -- there was a large puff of steam on top, with a straight streaming tail beneath. First she hypothesized that the steam was puffing out when it hit the ceiling -- but then she recognized that the steam puffs out as soon as it exits the container (a turkey roaster), long before encountering the ceiling, and that the following bits of steam move straight with neither puffs nor curls.

And then she hit on it -- she remarked that it must be that the hot steam is hitting against the cold air in the room surrounding the container, with the result that the steam looks as though it has bumped into something -- cold air -- thus causing steam puffs and swirls. And, she explained, after the cold air is pushed out of the way, then the rest of the rising steam moves in a relatively straight path.

(Many clouds and streams of steam contributed to this conclusion. Little wonder that our turkey was a little dry-ish...)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Watch out for that swing!

When 7-year-old Sophia and I were playing on the swings at the park, a small boy several times crossed the path of my swing. Despite our smiling words of caution, I found myself wrenching to a stop to avoid hitting him. In order to show the boy the actual path of the swing, and the path he should follow in order to be safe, I took a moment to explain. First I backed up a little and said, "See? When I'm back here, it looks safe where you are, but let's see what happens if I swing forward -- and -- "

Just then, Sophia interrupted helpfully, shaking her head, "Mommy, he's still very little, and I don't think he'll understand about momentum -- "

Saturday, August 8, 2009

What people talk about

I think that as an older adult you talk about your life and your wisdom;
As an adult you talk about what you think about a lot;
As an adolescent and a young adult you talk about what you observe;
And as a child, you talk about all of those things.

-- SC, lost in thought this morning over breakfast, age 7

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Where does the wind blow?

Where does the wind blow?
Neither you nor you know
But I know

The wind blows to where
the sick person rests, the tired person sleeps,
the happy person dances, the sad person weeps

Where does the wind blow?
Neither you nor you know
But I know.

- Sophia Claire, age 6

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Value of Fear?

"Mommy, why do you have to be so fearless? You're never afraid of anything! Unless it's something useless to be afraid of, like sharp corners or knives or scissors."

S.C., 6 years old and frightened by the little spider in the living room

Lost in Translation

[Singing tunefully:]

"Tall and tan and young and lonely, . . . "

"And when she passes, the mountain passes say 'Ah!'"

"The Lonely Girl from Ipanema"
-- Sophia Claire, 9/12/2008

Planet Feet

"Mommy, I think my foot has become Jupiter! ... See that big red spot?"

-- S.C., 6 years old, observing a painful blister

Mathematical Nonsense

"All that stuff looks like work to a mathematician, but to someone who isn't trained in it -- like me -- it looks more like nonsense."

-- S.C., 6 years old

Space Science: Loud Toilets and Other Safety Considerations

"There are four reasons why I don't want to be an astronaut. First, taking off can be very dangerous. Second, even though they spend time in quarantine first, still, someone on the shuttle might be sick and might not know it. Third, the toilets are really loud. Fourth, it's dangerous to come back into the atmosphere. And so, I wouldn't want to be an astronaut."

-- S. C., 6 years old