Fifty Billion Science Questions

Today I took my eldest son, Luca, to the Science Museum. He loves taking stuff apart and seeing what’s inside so rather than watch him demolish any more of his or his siblings’ christmas presents I figured we could go and see stuff that other people have taken apart and put inside a perspex viewing cabinet instead.

Approximately eight seconds after we entered the building the question firing started. I wasn’t prepared. As we all know kids can smell fear, so his questions were tricky and he knew I had no freaken idea what I was talking about.

I am one of those women who know nothing about cars. I have less than zero interest in them apart from how they look and whether they have good cup holders (when you have four kids in a car, decent cup holder architecture is crucial). Anyway I have no idea how to change a tyre, no idea how to fill the oil up and although I could probably work it out eventually, I have no idea how to open the bonnet.

I’ve pretty much taken that philosophy throughout my life in many areas. I’ve never been interested in why light globes work, why an aircraft carrier floats, how steam can propel trains or as Luca asked me today, why don’t they just put a whole layer of plastic over an IMAX screen so you don’t need the glasses?

So my scientific, automotive, anything motorised, or electrical know how ignorance has rendered me pretty useless when it comes to the field of science and three inquisitive sons.

When we got to the aeroplane section I knew I was in trouble. He is fascinated by all modes of transport. Cars, bikes, buses, trains, planes – he loves all of them. The only thing I know about trains is how to top-up my Oyster Card and as for planes … I still struggle with the concept of how all that can get off the ground.

The questioning began “Mum, how does a sea plane not sink when it lands?”. Me “Its got those floaty things on its feet”. I knew it was lame as soon as it spewed from my mouth and Luca said nothing but looked at me as thought I was speaking Swahili.

“Mum, how does the landing gear get back in the plane?”.  Me“The pilot presses a button”. ‘”Well I know that but how does the button get the wheels in?”. I just had to pretend I didn’t hear and cross my fingers he’d get distracted by something, which he did.

I’m just not cut out for this. He’s only 5 and I have two more of him lying in wait.

So I left the museum mentally exhausted and with a huge migraine, I’d imagine it’s how people feel when they go on Sale of the Century.

Next time Rob can take him!


He knows more about planes and cars age 5 than I know at 39




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