One of the many things I love about my son is his creativity.

He’s like a mini-scientist in the making. When he sees something he loves, it’s not good enough to simply admire it from afar. He has to figure out how it works, then go home and try to make it himself.

He used to sit silently watching the audio kinetic sculpture at the science museum for hours. Seriously. I couldn’t lure him away with dinosaurs, butterflies, the water play area, not even snacks. Nothing could match that little ball rushing down ramps, spinning wheels, dinging bells. Not surprisingly, he also fell in love with OK Go’s This Too Shall Pass video, for which the band teamed with a group of engineers to make a massive Rube Goldberg structure that included crashing cars and smashing TV screens.

Once he was old enough to realize someone had actually built these things, he started obsessively watching Rube Goldberg and domino run videos on You Tube, then making them himself, using marbles, train and Hot Wheels tracks, cardboard boxes, toilet paper rolls, whatever he could get his hands on—of course we had to run out and buy dominoes…then more dominoes—and enlisting Harlan and me to help.

Same with the “What’s the difference?” games he loves doing with his Seattle grandpa in the newspaper and those Highlights puzzles where you find objects hidden in a picture. He started making his own for the whole family, drawing two pictures that have, say, six differences we have to identify, and then these elaborate drawings where we have to find 10 or 20 objects that he’s hidden. One morning he asked me to set an alarm so he could get up early and draw this crazy beach scene full of hidden objects first thing in the morning for Harlan and me to figure out over breakfast.

The other day we were visiting my friend Courtney and her family in San Diego and there were these hippie chicks making gigantic bubbles with simple homemade bubble-making contraptions at Ocean Beach, so all the kids could chase and pop them. A couple days later Aidan asked me to help him find sticks in the backyard. He wouldn’t tell me what he was up to—it was a surprise—but he had me tie string to the end of each stick and then fill a bucket with bubble solution. When our bubble maker failed, we looked on You Tube, drove to the hardware store for dowels and the drugstore for glycerin.

While the result could use some tweaking—our bubbles pop faster than the hippie chicks’—it’s still pretty impressive.

As he gets older, I assume my little scientist’s skills will only improve and his projects will grow in complexity. As a parent, I encourage his interests, help him cut holes in cardboard boxes and carefully place rows of hundreds of dominoes on the floor and buy him as many Legos as we can afford. We also signed him up for a science class at a local art studio that he’s completely obsessed with. But otherwise, I just sit back and enjoy his passions and hope curiosity continues to drive him and wait to see what he does next.

Chasing bubbles in Ocean Beach

Chasing bubbles in Ocean Beach

Ocean Beach

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My little magician

My little magician

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