Thursday, November 29, 2007

Engineers, Not Mad Scientists

Both my husband and I are engineers. Despite this fact, our house is pretty entertaining and not in the least bit nerdy (trust me - you don’t have to ask our relatives). Sometimes we do behave in a way non-engineers do not. For example, John once had me lay on the floor so I could give him measurements over the phone of my room size and furniture so he could make a to-scale drawing showing where his furniture would fit. Why did I not just get out a tape measure? Logic was sleeping as it was three in the morning. And yes, I still married him after this.

Two engineers cannot produce offspring without some of the personality traits that led us to engineering being passed along genetically. I often watch my boys trying to work something out and see the little gears turning in their heads and recognize the logical and analytical thought that is going on in their brains. They both already exhibit a real penchant for math and science. Are they future engineers? Maybe. I will encourage them if they show an interest. But I’m not walking around saying to them, “Don’t you want to be an engineer when you grow up? It’s really fun. You get to sit at a desk a lot and use a calculator.” For now, I encourage them to pursue their chosen future professions of SCUBA diver (Jack) and animal rescuer who pilots a submarine (Luke). I nurture their love of math and science by trying my best to help them experiment with figuring out the way the physical world works.

Of course, boys are boys, and some of their ideas are at best far-fetched and at worst capable of causing severe bodily injury. Here is a small list of some of the experiments my boys have come up with, from the benign to the perilous.

Does the water level in the tub lower when you get your hair wet? Luke tries to mark the level of water in the bathtub with his hand while leaning back and putting his hair in the water. He’s definitely a genius.

Do sound waves travel through water differently than through air? A few nights ago, Luke was screaming in the tub. I thought he was experimenting with the way sound travels through different mediums. Yep – a genius. Turns out he was really experimenting with whether or not he could get my ears to bleed. Can your body hold enough pee to make the toilet overflow?

Jack wants to hold his pee for a whole day and see if he can make the toilet overflow when he finally lets it out. He has tried this in various degrees, but usually just manages to get pee all over the floor naturally rather than as a product of overtopping. If one person stands in a big cardboard box and another person tackles the box, is the person inside protected or does the person inside get hurt? Turns out, both people get hurt.

What makes a better sled when sliding down a flight of stairs – cardboard or a sleeping bag? A sleeping bag wins, due to the ease of maintaining a grip when careening down the stairs, and the impact-dulling effect the down fill offers when careening into a wall.

What boy doesn’t want to see if he can push his brother so hard on the swing that he revolves around the bar? Luckily for me, neither of my boys have reached the age or strength that would make this one a close possibility. But they will.


Unknown said...

Hmm! I never thought of using a sleeping bag for sledding down stairs! I wonder how well it would work if you put cardboard INSIDE the sleeping bag?

Unknown said...

Aaaah boys...they are a different animal all together.

Loth said...

Would they like a free tutorial on how to create your own iceberg? I can send my First Born over - no trouble!

Kathy said...

Certainly sounds like future engineers to me! LOL Good luck with the stair sledding!

Angie @ KEEP BELIEVING said...

Too funny. I can imagine how many head bonks you have encountered with the landing at the bottom of your stairs. I think my boys are better at the psychology experiments: How many times can I repeat this behavior before Mom loses her mind? How long before Mom finally gets off the computer and investigates what I am doing? Let's see if we can figure out exactly how loud Mom's voice gets.

Anonymous said...

Hang in there mom. It sounds like it is getting more dangerous for you every day.Those three boys are certainly a hand full. By the way,where is the "big boy" when all this commotion is going on?