The elder Free-Ride offspring had a bit of a meltdown after dinner. Witness the calming effects of science:
Dr. Free-Ride's better half: (To sobbing elder offspring) Taking some deep breaths might help you calm down.
Younger offspring: Do we breathe carbon dioxide?
Dr. Free-Ride's better half: No, we don't. Plants breathe carbon dioxide.
Elder offspring: (Still crying) We breathe air.
Dr. Free-Ride's better half: Yes. Do you know what it is in the air that we breathe? I think they mention its name in your Yoga Kids video.
Elder offspring: (Sniffling just a little) Oxygen?
Dr. Free-Ride's better half: That's right. When we breathe in air, it's the oxygen our bodies use. And do you know what we breathe out?
Elder offspring: Carbon dioxide?
Dr. Free-Ride's better half: That's right. You know what else breathes is oxygen and breathes out carbon dioxide?
Elder offspring: What?
Dr. Free-Ride's better half: Cars.
Elder offspring: Cars?!
Dr. Free-Ride's better half: (To younger offspring) Do you remember when we were driving home you saw that car with lots of white vapor coming out its tailpipe?
Younger offspring: Yeah.
Dr. Free-Ride's better half: What makes that vapor?
Younger offspring: Burning gas.
Dr. Free-Ride's better half: You know gasoline doesn't burn all by itself, right?
Younger offspring: Huh?
Dr. Free-Ride's better half: It needs air to burn.
Younger offspring: OK.
Dr. Free-Ride's better half: So do you know what it makes when it burns?
Younger offspring: That stuff coming out the tailpipe.
Dr. Free-Ride's better half: Yeah, but that's mostly water vapor and --
Elder offspring: Carbon dioxide!
Dr. Free-Ride's better half: Right. So the car takes in oxygen to burn the gasoline, and when the gasoline burns it makes water and carbon dioxide, which it "breathes out" the tailpipe.
Younger offspring: Gasoline is like the car's food.
Dr. Free-Ride's better half: Yes. In fact, do you know why we breathe oxygen?
Elder offspring: Why?
Dr. Free-Ride's better half: So we can get the energy out of the food we eat -- just like the car runs on the energy it gets from burning gasoline.
Elder offspring: You mean our bodies burn our food?
Dr. Free-Ride's better half: Kind of.
Elder offspring: With fire?!
Dr. Free-Ride's better half: Well, we "burn" our food with the oxygen in the cells of our bodies, so there aren't actually flames.
Elder offspring: It's still pretty cool.
* * * * *
Younger offspring brought home a song to remind us that plants need more than just carbon dioxide:
Dirt made my lunch,
Dirt made my lunch.
Thank you dirt, thanks a bunch,
For my salad, my sandwich, my milk and my munch.
Dirt, you made my lunch!
I bought that video for my 3 year old granddaughter. The look on the face of my 18 year old nephew at the sight of our little whirling dervish sitting quietly cross-legged and chanting was absolutely priceless. That video is a lifesaver for rechanneling scattered high energy into refreshing and soothing activity.
And it looks like Dr. Free-Ride's better half is not too shabby at doing the same with mental focus. :)
You might wanna tell your kids that plants also breath oxygen.