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Science Kids on the Loose

Science Kids on the Loose

Merry and Very Bright

Last month I told you about a fun fort activity we experimented with to explore the absence of light. Sid the Science Kid is a gift that keeps giving, as far as we’re concerned. As the Light and Shadow cycle rolls around again this week, I have a few more stories about the role of light in our lives.
On a recent Friday night, we found ourselves without power. During dinner. Henry and Leo were very excited and a little scared as Gerry and I ran around trying to find candles and flashlights. I overheard Henry reminding an apprehensive Leo that things were the same in the dark as they are in the light…nothing to be afraid of. (Thanks Sid!) Gerry searched our box-filled garage for flashlights while I hunted around the house for dusty candles. I say “dusty” because I don’t think we’ve lit a candle since before Henry was born. To tell you the truth, I was thrilled about the blackout. I didn’t care about the whys or how long or even that dinner was forgotten. I immediately saw the potential for family time. We all gathered in the living room for a family dance party to music from my fully charged iPad. We danced by candlelight and it was so special. I definitely felt a twinge of disappointment when the lights came back on at bedtime. I am sure Gerry and I watched Leo and Henry make a life-long memory that night.
The blackout led to a great dad purchase: headlamps for the boys. Now they spend full afternoons finding dark places in the house, like my closet, to hide away in and switch on their lamps. Great scientific tools! I pretend not to notice where they are and eavesdrop as they whisper secret instructions and crawl around among my shoes. I think there is something universal in this childhood spirit of adventure, as they explore light and dark, what scares them and what makes them feel safe. I listen to my sweet boys and I am transported to my own mother’s closet where my brother Jeff used to hide. I remember the smell of leather and Chanel No. 5. I wonder what Henry and Leo will remember.
While the boys spent the month of November learning about the dark, December came roaring in with all the light and cheer of the holidays. And I mean that literally. As a transplanted New Englander, I am grateful for the bright sun illuminating my days. I am also grateful for the gift of diversity in our lives as the boys learned about Chanukah for the first time this year. The boys were captivated by the Chanukah story and very interested in lighting Menorah candles. Leo was particularly enchanted as we watched a dear friend light the candles and sing the blessings at a Chanukah party last weekend. As I watched Leo in the candlelight, I choked up, knowing that he was growing a little bit in front of my eyes. It was beautiful.
In our own home, Christmas came barreling in over the weekend. The lights are up on the house, on the tree in the living room, in the little tree in the boys’ room, and wherever else I decided to string lights. At night when I turn off the regular lights, the house glows with Christmas illumination. I love it and the boys do too. For me, the Christmas lights make this new house in California feel like home for the first time. Maybe I am finally settling in.
And what does all this have to do with Sid the Science Kid? Well, on the surface, not too much. However, as this tends to be the time of year for reflection, I can think of quite a few ways in which Sid and this blog have illuminated my life this year. I am so much more aware of the questions Leo and Henry ask. I am more present and less likely to brush the questions off in the bustle of the day. I am willing to admit when I don’t have the answers and explore with them. Henry and Leo are becoming critical thinkers right before my eyes and that is amazing to me.
I would love to hear about the way you illuminate the holidays!

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