Tuesday, March 4, 2014

seven.

he wants to be a scientist.

his favorite pastime is looking up snakes, volcanoes, lizards, or lightning on google images.

he refuses to let me do any science homework without his help. he's the only seven-year old i know that charts electron configuration and begs to play physics simulations.  his idols are the kratt brothers, who created his favorite show and went to school for biology and zoology.


for his birthday this year we brought doughnut holes to school and then had a science party with a couple of his good buddies.
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we had intended to do tame chemistry but thanks to dad and grandpa we had quite the array of pyrotechnics.
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only my dad would say things like, "i think i have some black powder in the car somewhere."
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none of us were prepared for how big the flames would be. we lined the kids up on the porch and...
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...i was facing the wrong way and missed the fire, but i got the idea from the heat wave i felt and the looks of total wonder on the faces of six, little boys.
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batteries and steel wood were another big hit. my dad is just the best, right?
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liam's microscope is coming in the mail any day now.

thank goodness it was late because he's got something fun to look forward to. after his friends went home he came into the kitchen with a sassy voice. "mom, i have been asking you ALL DAY for another slice of cake!" this was very unlike him. "liam, you only had your first piece about an hour ago and i've not heard you ask for another one." then he started crying.

we had a chance to discuss the many complicated feelings that we have on our birthdays. i've learned that with my boys it does no good to say "what's wrong" because they have no clue what they are feeling or why. when the kids are acting strange i usually say, "let's play a game. i will tell you what i think is going on and you tell me if i'm right." then i state things like, "you didn't get the present you were secretly hoping for" or "you are disappointed that not every friend you invited came." the kids always shake their heads until i get to the thing that's really bothering them. then they don't say no, they just cry even harder. "you are hungry and you want some more cake." no. "you have been waiting all year for your birthday and now it's over." sobbing. "oooh, and now you need to wait a whole 'nother year for the next birthday?" sobs with an audible "yeah..."

poor darling, he's been been feeling a lot of new and strange feelings. last week his teacher leaned in close when i picked him up, to say he'd been crying at the playground. he wouldn't admit to it when i asked. the following monday we were having family home evening (a little lesson we have each monday night where we sing together and teach on another) when the question came up: "what would you do if someone made fun of you for going to church?" ossi stood up in his bold way and said, "i would say PLEASE STOP and i would just do what i want and go to church." liam peaked his head over the side of his bunk bed loft and said, "this girl in my class said that i'm a mormon and that mormons aren't christians. and she's christian so..." and he started crying. he went on to sadly convey that she didn't want to be his friend. it was a sad, sad moment for a mama heart. i was sad for liam and i was sad for a world where people would teach their first-grader that they couldn't be friends with a classmate if they belonged to a different religion.

it was a wonderful teaching opportunity, though. we were able to teach him what the word, "christian" means and how it applies to anyone who worships Christ as the Son of God and tries to follow Him. by that definition we definitely are christian, along with many, many faiths, we told him. matt said, "i'm a mormon, too, liam. and a christian. and some people that were my friends before i was mormon didn't want to be my friends anymore after i joined the church. but i believe it's true and i am so thankful to have found the gospel. true friends will stand by you." i gave liam a kiss and said, "someday when you are older this little girl will probably learn a little more about mormons and then she won't be fearful of having a mormon for a friend. until then just be patient and kind."

i am so proud of my children. they are becoming individuals of great character. liam was born with something special. he has an incredible moral compass that urges him onward in learning and service. i love to come in to the school cafeteria and see him sitting by the people that need a friend the most. i don't know what his future holds but i know that whatever place he's in will be better because of his contribution.

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