Unfortunately, all 4 DVDs in the set sucked from a young child’s point of view. So, needless to say, he was crushed when I told him that the DVDs weren’t really for little boys. Not that there was an excessive amount of shuttle-on-shuttle action going on mind you, but there was far too much talking, and not enough *VOOM* so we had to come up with an alternative. YouTube to the rescue! So find a couple videos of shuttles lifting off, queue ‘em up, and he couldn’t be happier.
But as he’s watching, he has this perpetually perplexed look on his face so I ask him if he has any questions. He points at the shuttle and says, “What’s that?” I tell him it’s the space shuttle, and he just gives me a little look and says, “No, not the shuttle, what’s under the shuttle?” After a second, I realize he’s talking about the solid rocket boosters. Actually, he was talking about the propellant tank and not the individual SRBs but he’s a little kid, so he’s not expected to know the difference yet. Why would you even bring that up? Jeez. Anyway, so I tell him that the whole setup underneath the shuttle is called the “booster” and I explain to him that the shuttle needs the booster to get out into space because space is really far away. What’s really great, is you can see it behind his eyes – he’s processing it, committing it to memory, synthesizing it for later use.
Not too much later, apparently. Next thing I know, he’s dragging his little brother – Thing 1 – over, demanding that I replay the video. So as soon as I do, he starts educating his little brother on all the finer points of shuttle technology – how planets are far away, and the shuttle can’t get to them by itself, and how the boosters help the shuttle and then they fall off when they’re all done helping. Thing 1 couldn’t really care less about the ins and outs of shuttles, and he keeps looking all warily at the shuttle, afraid it’s going to make a loud sound despite my assurances that it won’t. But he’s just happy to listen to his big brother tell him things, so he sits and listens.
Then, a few hours later, Thing 2 is just tearing around the room with the Burger King toy pictured to the right in his hand, making loud engine-like roaring sounds. I ask him if he’s pretending that it’s a space shuttle going into space, and he starts rapid-fire nodding his head. Then, he jams on the steering wheel, causing the red part on the toy to fall off and says, “The car is the shuttle, and this part is the booster and it’s falling off now because the car doesn’t need it any more to get into space!” and runs off, making more space shuttle sounds. Mixed metaphor or no, it was awesomely cute.
* – before anyone asks about Thing 2 being the older one while Thing 1 is the younger, here’s the deal: my then-wife and I couldn’t decide how many children we wanted to have, so instead of arguing about it ad nauseam, we decided to roll dice and count backwards from whatever number came up.
Well, not really “dice”. More like “die” – just one.
…christ, I got lucky.