Mar 28, 2013

What Happens At Dinner....Ends Up On The Blog

Since most of my juicy tid-bits and life learning happens at the dinner table, everyone knows that what's said there never stays there.  It always eventually makes it's way onto my blog.  For good reason - I'd never remember it otherwise.

Take the other night for example, we are eating a delicious meal of Shanghai Noodles that Gavin whipped up for us.  He was feeling rather proud of his latest endeavor.  Granted, he started the whole cooking process 2 hours before we sat down to eat in order to read, re-read and read yet again the recipe.  He's currently on top of his little world.  This sparks a thought in his brain.

Actually, I'm not sure it's so much a thought as much as it is a recitation of an article he remembered reading sometime this past month.  I'd have a hard time explaining the gist of an article I read an hour ago to you.  Not Gavin.  He can literally remember word for word what he read, where he read it and then give you a detailed synopsis if you need it.

So dinner is winding down.  Apparently we're lacking for conversation, so Gavin decides to share "an interesting fact I had on my mind" that we might find intriguing, "Did you know that according to the laws of quantum physics small particles like an atom or an electron can exist in multiple realities or two places at the same time until they're observed or measured?"

Blank faces all around.

I look at him and say, "Honey, anytime a sentence starts with 'according to the laws of quantum physics' you're going to have to talk slower or you're going to lose me."  I then went on to explain that I'm a highly visual person and that in order to better understand what he is trying to convey, I need to write it down so I can see it and read over it a couple of times.  I run and get a pencil and paper (under the guise of trying to better understand it, but it in all honesty, I know the only reason I'm writing it down is so that I have it word for word so that I can blog about later).  I ask him if he can repeat it.  He does - exactly the same as the first time.  And again...I still can't wrap my brain around what he's saying.  It's too abstract.  I was under the impression that the older you get, the better able you are to think in abstract terms.  I might be the exception to that rule.

He repeats it multiple times.  Then says he has a better idea, "Why don't I just show you the article on my iPad (or what I lovingly refer to as his ILD - individual learning device)."  He quickly pulls up sciencedaily.com and goes directly to the article he has previously memorized.  The article starts with these words: The phenomenon known as the superposition principle....  Had I been the one to start reading this article, I would have stopped by the 7th word.  I fear this confession gives away my intellectual capacities (or lack thereof)... I'm just sayin.

Chuck & I feel the need to back up a bit and ask some more basic questions so we can genuinely try to understand why Gavin was intrigued by this...afterall, he took the time to share it with us, it must mean alot to him.  We don't want to belittle or joke about his interests just because they are above our ability to reason.  So we ask him, "Honey, so we can better understand this article, would you mind first explaining what exactly quantum physics is?  Pretend you're talking to kindergarteners.  Think...Quantum Physics for dummies."

"It's metaphysical physics, Mom."

"Oh.  Ok.  Continue."

"So, what I thought was cool was how antimatter....."

"Didn't we have a discussion about anitmatter/matter a while back?"  I'm trying to act smart by remembering a term of science that he used in my presence once.  I'm just trying to relate, people.

The conversation digressed from there.  We listened to the entire article and still understood nothing.  He, on the other hand, was engrossed and loving every minute of it.  Then, in the spirit of still trying to relate, I told him he should see if that one theoretical physicist, Michio Kaku, he really admires from the Science Channel has any videos on this subject.  I won bonus points for that one.

Gavin has never really committed to wanting to be anything specific, except a trashman.  But once he found this fascinating form of science you could see his eyes light up.  He told me, "Mom, I don't want to do all those experiments or build stuff, I just want to sit around thinking about it."  If that's not a theoretical physicist, I don't know what is.  Where he got the genes to think like this, do math like this and have the words and writing skills to explain all those thoughts organized so neatly in the database of his brain is beyond me.  I'm just thankful he still likes to share what he's learning with me, even if it's in a language I don't understand.  Everyone understands a smile and a nod - and I'm good at that!

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