Friday Sprog Blogging: what big kids know.

A conversation from the sidelines at the elder Free-Ride offspring's soccer game:

Dr. Free-Ride: Hey, what are you drawing?

Younger offspring: Stars.

Dr. Free-Ride: Hmmm.

Younger offspring: I know they don't look like the way they teach you how to draw stars, but real stars don't look that way.

Dr. Free-Ride: You have a point.

Younger offspring: Real stars don't have five points. They're little balls of hot mass.

Dr. Free-Ride: They are?

Younger offspring: Well, they look little in the sky. They're big when you get to them.

Dr. Free-Ride: Fair enough.

Younger offspring: The sun is a star, but it looks bigger because it's closer to earth than the other stars.

Dr. Free-Ride: Uh huh.

Younger offspring: The fire on the sun is exploded mass.

Dr. Free-Ride: Where did you learn that?

Younger offspring: From a book.

Dr. Free-Ride: See, we teach you to read and all of a sudden you no longer rely on us as your sole source of information.

Younger offspring: I think babies who are like two years old think the moon brings the night -- that the moon brings the darkness.

Dr. Free-Ride: Because they notice the moon shining in the night sky?

Younger offspring: Yeah. But really what happens is the earth is turning, so the sun shines on different parts of it at different times.

Dr. Free-Ride: It's amazing how much more you know now than you did when you were two years old.

Younger offspring: I think if you put a big kid's brain in a baby's head, then a baby could know a lot of things, too.

More like this

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The Free-Ride family got its copy of the new CD/DVD set Here Comes Science by They Might Be Giants this week. The sprogs, who have been listening and watching, offer something kind of like a review. The first thing to note is that, on the DVD, you have a choice of going through the whole set of…
Dr. Free-Ride: Any ideas for tomorrow's sprog blog? Younger offspring: I wanted to do how photosynthesis works. Dr. Free-Ride: Did you do any research on that since last week? Younger offspring: I don't do research. Dr. Free-Ride: You don't do research?! How do you do science, then? Younger…
Younger offspring: I drew this picture of the Earth! Dr. Free-Ride: Wow, that's quite a picture. Will you tell me what's going on in it? Younger offspring: Yes, but first scan it in. Dr. Free-Ride: Hmm. Is it maybe not a coincidence that you're bringing home a picture like this on a Thursday…

sweet! sounds like you have a winner, in more ways than can be counted. congratulations and keep enjoying and sharing.

quite right Y.o., but there would be a lot of physical therapy involved too.

Thank you for recording these conversations, Janet! Your younger child is learning that while a pentagram is colloquially called a "star", these geometric figures have little to do with astronomical stars.

Isn't it just so cool when your children begin to really think for themselves?

It appears that YO is a dualist: seems to recognise that the brain is associated with thinking but doesn't see it as the self. I recall thinking the same way when I was young - about 6? - and wanted to be a brain surgeon. :-)
Is this the way adult dualists think? My arm is what I use to move things but it isn't me; my brain is what I use to think with but it isn't me. Perhaps they just never grew up?

The fire on the sun is exploded mass.

YO came so close to quoting They Might Be Giants. How awesome!

By Aaron Lemur Mintz (not verified) on 24 Oct 2008 #permalink

But you haven't answered the first question that popped into my head when I started reading: what did younger offspring's stars look like?

The fire on the sun is exploded mass.

Well, fusing mass, but we'll let that one slide. ;-)

By Quiet Desperation (not verified) on 24 Oct 2008 #permalink

Pics or it didn't happen! ;)

By NoAstronomer (not verified) on 24 Oct 2008 #permalink

Our not-quite parallel universe: EO is 6 and is constantly drawing fairy stars (pentagrams) with big lips and magic wands. Wish I had the savoir-faire to somehow market these and fill up her 529 acct... YO is 3 but is very adept at seeing "her" moon every day. She completely understands that it's seen in different regions of the sky each day. Ok, that's my inept explanation, but basically, she knows to look "behind where it was yesterday" when she goes outside to see the moon each day or night, assuming we are looking at roughly the same time as the previous sighting.
Interestingly, neither child is interested in the idea of going to the planetarium to see a "star show" but both loved learning about moles (your earlier post). Something about a "mole" of water just tickled YO's funny bone, which EO immediately pointed out is actually called the humerus. My point (and I do have one, thank you, Ellen) is this: yes, my Better-Half and I are constantly amazed and/or freaked out by the fact that we don't control their info sources anymore _and_ they are starting to have their own ideas! Better still is that fact that sometimes it means that thinking for herself goes beyond just wearing red socks because mom suggested blue ones.

Younger offspring: I think if you put a big kid's brain in a baby's head, then a baby could know a lot of things, too.

Egad! It seems to me that she has the beginnings of a great career in science... Is she getting into experimentation yet in a big way? She hasn't asked for a new set of scalpels has she?

Perhaps a viewing of Young Frankenstein might be in order...


> I think if you put a big kid's brain in a baby's
> head, then a baby could know a lot of things, too.

Unlike J-Dog, the first thing I thought of here was, "Well, it might be hard to make it *fit* in there..."

I remember Zacherley and his Horror TV show on late night Saturday in New York (1950s).

During the intermission, he would do brain surgery, transplants actually, with cabbages. Hoot.

YO should check it out.