Thursday, March 29, 2012

Our Mad Scientist

When Caleb was a baby, he was quite difficult. In fact, so far, he was my most difficult. He cried all the time and would not take a nap-pretty much ever. I thought I might go crazy with him!! One thing that always soothed him though was my presence. If he was handed to his grandma, he'd scream. If he was handed to a neighbor, he'd scream. If he was handed to his Dad, he'd scream. Pretty much anyone but me would not do.

Even during the first two years of his life he definitely preferred me. And it was during this time that both Steve and I knew that Steve needed to start reaching for him. We both agreed that it was important for him to identify the most with his Dad and so it was essential that we see some movement in that direction. Steve started making a concerted effort to win him around that age.

It took time. Lots of it. But I will never forget the first time that he chose his Dad over me when he was in major peril. He was almost four and he had a pretty bad case of croup. In fact, we had been up many nights in a row with him. Each night Steve would wrap him up in a blanket and take him out into the midnight air to help open up his lungs. He'd talk quietly to him to try and calm him down.

Caleb is a fighter so, he would fight and fight his inability to breathe which only made it worse. After awhile, Steve could get him to calm down. One night, after many nights up with him, I tried to take him in my arms to comfort him and he yelled through tears with the little air that he had, "No! Daddy!" No joke, tears streamed down my face for I had been waiting for years for this moment. I knew he had been warming up to his Daddy but that event totally confirmed it. After that, it was clear, he was Steve's little man and wanted to follow in his footsteps just like Isaac. The transformation had happened just like we hoped and prayed it would.

As he's gotten a bit older, his love for his Dad has become more and more apparent. He's become interested in what his Dad is good at and his curiosity about the world and how it works has really come out. He asks some tough questions and they're almost all physics/math related. Recently, he wanted to know if anything heavy could float in the water. I thought about it for a quick sec and said, "No, but let's ask Dad." As soon as he walked in the other room (and I had a moment to think it through), I realized I'd answered him wrong for surely heavy things can float-boats!! To put it simply, it's about water displacement, the volume of the object and its density. Steve answered him correctly and told him why. To which I replied, "I did graduate from Cal Poly...I just had to think about it for a sec...!" Ha ha!

He was so curious about it that I decided to do a little experiment with him the next day that actually went over two days. We filled up the bath tub and tried to float some different objects in it. Some floated and some didn't. We then got to talk about why. Then we got one of the objects that did float (one of their dinner plates) and we determined to find out how many coins it could hold before sinking to the bottom. Caleb absolutely loved this. And he was so smart about it. He evenly distributed the coins so that one side wouldn't be heavier than the other.

The next day, we used a couple of different objects, a big ceramic dinner plate, a little kid dinner plate and an old yogurt container, and we guessed which one would hold the most coins before sinking. Of course, the old yogurt container won, although it was the most tippy of them all. It was truly a blast to do these experiments with my son who really is so much like his Daddy. When I told Steve about our little experiments, he just grinned from ear to ear.

Recently, when I was telling Caleb that he only liked me as a baby, he looked at me with a crooked smile. Then he said, "Yeah. I loved you a lot then Mom. And I love you a lot now too. But I do love Dad the most!"

With him, I don't fear when I hear those comments (really with any of my boys I am not sad about this-I want this for them). I don't get sad because I know the road it took to get there. And now, seeing how interested he is in how the world works just makes me so excited for his growing relationship with his Dad. Because Steve can teach him how things go together. He can challenge him in ways that I never could.

He's keeping me on my toes that little Mad Scientist. His question yesterday was, "Mom, what causes the waves in the ocean?" I looked at him and said, "Well, there are lots of reasons like currents, weather, etc..." Then he said, "Maybe we could do a little experiment." (I'm sure we will and it'll make a royal mess in the bathroom.) Or, we could do the easy thing and you know, just ask Dad. He's the original Mad Scientist in this house.


  1. Ahh Nikki, how I remember Caleb screaming and your exasperated look. It sure is nice to be on this side of things and know you persevered and your relationship is going strong, isn't it? And look at you go homeschooling!!! :-)))

  2. i love this story. i love thinking about who your boys will be some day-happy for the future that will have them in it!