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Curiosity

April 15, 2015

One of the things I really love and admire about Peter is his curiosity. I’m not saying it to sound like we are somehow responsible for raising this really great, naturally inquisitive kid and deserve some kind of pat on the back. And it’s not like it’s unusual or unique, it’s just him.. and all the other curious kids out there. He came out that way; from the time he could talk, “How deep do you think this is,” “How far do you think I can throw this,” “How fast do the wheels go around?” Endlessly, endlessly.

But I am saying it’s a quality I love.

And he cracks me up.

He is Mr Experiment. Mr Try This and See What Happens. Mr Throw This Up in the Air, or Down to Floor, or Against the Wall. Mr Run This Under Water or Put it in The Freezer. Mr Toss This Thing onto a Moving Ceiling Fan Blade.

To wit, a new shipment of laser pointers arrived a couple days ago… a purple one, a green one and a yellow one. He’s fascinated by them and has been goofing around with them doing all kinds of experiments on walls, in the sky, on skin (I hope this isn’t hazardous to one’s health). Up next is something to do with laser beams and a bunch of boxes he has been setting aside.

It’s a good thing this isn’t the second and final semester of his all-important junior year and he doesn’t have any homework or any grades to bring up. (It is and he does.)

He sits at his computer in the kitchen a lot, but he’s not playing games. I can’t remember the last time I saw him playing anything. Do kids still? What he does do is research stuff. Mostly, lately, he reads up on physics. I think kids these days do spend a lot of time on YouTube, and he definitely does that. Often he’s watching videos about doing experiments or he’s watching lectures on this or that, or some kind of how-to.  He likes to know stuff.  I like that. I don’t remember being like that in high school. Um, ever really.

This whole experimenting thing is not a messless proposition. Besides maybe water everywhere, or furniture completely rearranged, there might be rubberbands everywhere, stretching from one thing to another, or balls of every size and density rolling hither and yon, or couch pillows strewn about. He often leaves destruction in his wake–this morning I found broken chopsticks, for example. He leaves lots of messes to clean up which mostly I do because he is just oblivious (and thus his other nickname, Mr O’Blivious–a nickname that is just between Jim and me).

My tolerance for all of this has gone way, way up, largely because I realize his days living under our roof are numbered. And you know what? It’s what he does. Suddenly, I can deal just fine with most of this. It’s the cost of having him with us. Messes and destruction are his calling card.

Well, anyway…  I write about all this because I had a picture from a couple of days ago and wanted to use it. It’s part of a series of things he was doing with a small, light foam ball–throwing it this way and that, dropping it from heights, catapulting it from makeshift launches.. and this: suspending it mid-air on a column of his very own hot breath. He explained to me what was going on vis a vis various physical properties and principles. But mostly I was just enjoying 1) the eager enthusiasm for his various inquiries and 2) that there was no mess to clean up.

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