Today I went with my sons to Experimentarium. Just me and two energetic boys, one almost 4 years old, one 6 years old. Boy, did I get to train my love of learning and curiosity.
Usually when we go the Experimentarium, I am two steps behind them, making sure they don’t break anything or push someone away. I say yes and aha and hm at the right times, and if not feign, then at least exaggerate my interest in a TV attached to a bike, some ants meandering seemingly aimlessly on a log, or the greatest exhibit of them all, a giant, moving T-Rex robot. I’ve seen it all before, many times. Sometimes it is hard to stifle my yawn. Blasé, moi?
Not today. Today I was the one dragging my sons around. I tried everything I could get my hands on, and when they wanted to try something else, I often said NO — dad wants to try this machine thingy a bit longer. I measured my reaction time (.352 seconds, but I’m sure I can do better), found out that only 4 out of 10000 people have the same mix of chosen traits (wavy hair, light blue eyes, long big toe etc) as I do, I played with spinning wheels, I got absorbed in spinning wheels and the gyroscopic effect, I went through a sensory tunnel (in the dark!) meant only for kids younger than 11 (I had to follow my youngest son, you see), I was even more childlike than my children, trying and testing and occasionally even tasting. Or at least smelling. And it felt great.
The boys enjoyed it too. In fact, I think they enjoyed it more than usual: it was as if they found this version of dad better than the usual more reserved version. They asked me more questions, they wanted to show me more things than usual, and they even tried things they haven’t tried before because they saw me enjoying them.
When we got back home, they were exhausted. The 4-year-old went to bed to take a nap (voluntarily!), the 6-year-old took his nap in the cargo bike on the way back.
I sit here in the sofa and feel like visiting a new museum as soon as possible. And if I ask my sons, I’m sure they want to, too.