Monthly Archives: September 2012

Tina and the Space-time Continuum

“Time is different from other stuff,” says six-year-old Tina thoughtfully. Pondering further, she asks if space and time are the same thing because it takes time to get to other planets. I say I don’t think so because space is where you put things and time is how long something takes.

Admiring the sunrise on the way to school, she comes up with a creative idea that reminds me afresh that we are God’s creation. She wants to follow the pink sky and see where it goes. There are a couple of days after the Christmas holiday when Maria works and Tina and I will still be on holiday. Will she want to follow the pink sky then? I hope so!

“All of science is nothing more than the refinement of everyday thinking.”
Albert Einstein


Why Tina Missed the School Bus

Tina misses the school bus Thursday morning and I drive her to school, arriving at work 15 minutes late. We could blame Tina and me (sounds reasonable enough) … or we could blame one of our trusted national banks.

You be the judge.


Grandma’s Testimony:
I get Tina to her school bus stop HALF AN HOUR early, and we start to make up stories while watching for the bus. After all, we have plenty of time. Nothing could possibly go wrong …

Tina imagines Mr. B., a flying dinosaur who wishes to become a tree, and we create a story about a walking green flower that climbs a tree to hide from the ravening cows. But the one that gets us on the edge of our seats features a bug and a worm that team up to build an underground hotel for bugs and worms. The rooms are in various shades of pink (inspired by Tina’s jacket, shirt and backpack) with black trim. Each has a shower, and the common area features three swimming pools.

Alas! Only two bugs have checked in! It seems all the others have accounts at an unscrupulous bank and cannot access their funds.

Tina decides to let them stay rent free … but there are still no more takers.

Aha! The restaurant food (pizza and roast bugs) is not free, and none of the potential clients can afford to eat there.

Tina once again comes up with a remedy: “bank things.” The bugs enjoy the meals provided by the now generous bank, and rest in their tastefully painted rooms. Meanwhile, the school buses come and go until all have come and gone. (To her credit, Tina has glanced at each bus very briefly before dismissing it.)


The next day I park the car, and Tina and I wait for the school bus OUTSIDE. A startling revelation: Tina’s bus is the first one to arrive! She snatches her toy lizard from the fence and pops it into her backpack, and the two board the bus for a happy day at school.

“Success does not consist in never making mistakes but in never making the same one a second time.”
George Bernard Shaw (

Tommy and Mr. Edison

They say we will never stop learning through all eternity. That sounds reasonable to me, given our “exploration and discovery gene.”

Lisa, her friend Stacey, and five-year-old Tommy come out for a visit, and I take Tommy to explore the old trailer. It’s full of boxes of old things that Richard and I aren’t ready to sort or part with yet, and some real treasures. There are love letters between Richard’s parents before they married, letters Richard’s dad wrote when he was in the army, and condolences to Richard’s mother when she lost his baby sister in 1944.

But Tommy’s not interested in old letters right now, or even in the books his mommy and aunties loved to read. He runs from room to room looking at the THINGS, trying to figure out what they are for, why they don’t work, and what fits into what else.

He finds a tiny Christmas tree and plugs in the lights. They don’t work. Tommy’s very scientific about solving the problem: He checks to see if there’s power in the room by having me switch on the main light, then tries various outlets. We try room after room, outlet after outlet. Then Tommy decides the problem must be with the plug. We try an extension cord after verifying that the outlet works—still no success.

But just like Thomas Edison, Tommy is not discouraged.

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Thomas A. Edison (

Back at the house, Tommy’s “helper gene” kicks in. Fascinated by our Jet Tub, he decides it needs cleaning. Armed with a sponge and hand soap, Tommy puts the bathmat into the tub, kneels down and commences vigorous scrubbing.

This lasts until I mention chocolate milk. I show Tommy how to use the handheld shower to rinse the tub and, consumed by ambition, he also washes the toilet seat.

I make sure he washes his hands well before helping me with refreshments! Tommy checks with Stacey and reports that she wants peppermint tea. He “really” wants to make the tea, so I have him open the bag and put it into an empty cup for me to pour boiling water over.

Tommy measures the chocolate powder into the cups, stirs in the milk, and serves the tasty beverage to the others.

Soon my favorite five-year-old leaves with his mother and her friend, and I’m left with a warm glow.

“There is no substitute for hard work.”
Thomas A. Edison (

Pregnancy Testing by a Six-Year-Old

I have informed Maria that Tina knows how to do pregnancy testing.

She checks her stuffed animals’ blood pressure with a needle to the rear end. This tells her first of all if they are boys (“definitely not” having a baby) or girls (all having a baby). The boys are relegated to the floor. For the girls, the BP reading also indicates whether their babies are to be born today or later. As her assistant, my job is to put the females giving birth today on a higher shelf and those giving birth later on a lower one.

The next time we play, the mothers have all given birth and Tina and I provide post-partum care. I make a medication injector with two valves out of Fiddlestix (TM), and help Tina feed broccoli to an ailing mom. She works quickly but gently on the distressed orange kitty, who requires a delicate procedure on both eyes. Calm and professional, firm and compassionate …

I wonder what the future holds for Tina.

“Just as the twig is bent, the tree’s inclined.”
Alexander Pope, 1734