When Franklin was a toddler he was extremely interested in trains. Trains on train tracks, trains in books, Thomas the Train, the parts of a train (especially the wheels) and how a diesel engine worked as opposed to a steam engine.
Later is was about dinosaurs. He was correcting my mother on the pronunciation of all the different names and had a collection of dinosaur literature, figures and puzzles that we still have kicking around 5 years later. We even went to Drumheller when he was four years old and it blew his mind.
Soon after dinosaurs it was sharks. We’ve been wanting to visit my brother in California and see the aquarium there for awhile now. Sharks swimming above your head! ack. He has a Jaws poster in his bedroom. He can tell you all about the megalodon and has seriously considered entering into the profession of Cryptozoology.
I was never into any of these things – as a child, anyway. I had an obsession with blue whales but that’s as close as I’ve ever come to sharing Franklin’s interests. These days he’s got a mixture of fantasy (dragons), a smattering of video game (Little Big Planet), a dollop of Pokemon and an unwavering stream of Lego. Underneath all of that interesting stuff is his love of science – most especially physics. It seems to crop up with almost everything he does, actually. Physics was not a strong subject for me. I could understand what would happen in all those college physics scenarios but I always had a horrible time explaining how it would occur and the measurements to predict where that bloody ball would end up.
Also, math. I’m good at it. I even enjoy discussing a little math theory with the odd theoretician. However, to explain it to an elementary school kid? I’m not that good at it. Thankfully, Franklin’s a smart kid who, when left alone or left with his father, understands math quite well now. The words, “I’m the best at multiplication in my class!” uttered yesterday were music to my ears. I know I’m not responsible for that – it’s all his determination and intelligence. And Dickson’s ability to not get anyone worked up about anything.
How does he do that?
Anyway, my husband’s laid back personality aside, I find parenthood quite challenging in that I am constantly entering into worlds I would never voluntarily enter on my own. The science of space, the physics of thermodynamics, electrical resistivity, the earth circumference, Galileo’s gravity experiments… my head spins while I try and tackle kits like the one we gave him for Christmas.
But it’s amazing. It is really all so wonderful. He’s into such incredible things and it’s great to see him so independent. If he was drawing the interior of imaginary buildings, writing in journals and reading Nancy Drew, it would also be cool because we would have shared interests but he’s into solar flares, mythical beasts and how to propel a car using a rubber band. It’s part of being a parent, I suppose – letting your kids explore the world outside of your own bubble and supporting their interests even when they are wildly outside of your own comfort zone. It’s one of those things that you can’t dispute, having children enriches your life in many more ways than you can ever know.