Curiosity Won't Kill the Cat

I had planned on using this week’s post to cheat on the #AuthorLifeMonth challenge and put up all of my photos for the entire month here (yes, I gave up on the entire thing on Day 5). But I’ll save that for another post later this week. For this post, I decided to write about something completely unrelated to my book, and the idea only occurred to me earlier today when my husband and I took our four-year-old daughter to the California Science Center.

Yes, we were part of the 30% of the American population that did not tune in to the Super Bowl. Though, I did set my DVR just so I could watch the commercials later on (and totally LOL’d when I watched the Doritos commercial with the husband and the wife at their ultrasound!).

Anyway, we decided to visit the California Science Center since 1) we had never been, 2) we wanted to see the space shuttle Endeavor exhibit, and 3) we knew we’d beat the crowds today. Science—physical or biological—was never an interest of mine, especially in grade school, but I’m happy to say that what we saw today was pretty enlightening. I’m also happy to say that it was engaging for my daughter as well.

She practically screamed at the top of her lungs when she saw the space shuttle Endeavor (mostly because she wanted to go inside). She was entertained by videos about the astronauts and their daily routines in space (how they bathe themselves without actual running water and how they prepare and eat their meals). She saw sea urchins and sea stars (the docent actually corrected me when he heard me call it a “starfish”). She saw giant cockroaches and a maggot and fly exhibit (she was mesmerized by it; I almost threw up my lunch).

And then she saw a little person. And she just stared. Even when I tried to grab her attention away, she continued to stare. I wasn’t sure what my daughter was going to say or if she was going to ask me questions about the woman, and considering it was practically a ghost town at the museum today, I’m pretty sure the woman would have heard it. Thankfully, all my daughter did was flash the woman that cute little smile of hers, said a friendly hello, and walked away.

That wasn’t the first time something like that has happened. One time, we were grocery shopping, and when we made it to the checkout stand, the cashier was without one of his forearms. Naturally, my daughter stared, and I spent those five minutes silently begging that she wouldn’t say anything. Luckily, she didn’t until we walked away and she asked me what was wrong with the man and his arm. And I told her the only answer that I could:

There was nothing wrong with him. That he was absolutely fine. That he just didn’t have two arms like us, which was okay because not everyone in the world was made the same. She simply responded with an “Ohhh,” and then reminded me that I promised her an ice cream cone when we arrived back home.

I’m not sure if she understood what I said that day, but regardless if she did or not, that is the answer I will always give her. If she asked me about that woman at the museum today, I would have said the same thing. And ten years from now, if she asks me what’s wrong with this person or that person, my answer will never waver.

I think it’s safe to say we’ve all been that kid—the one who stares. And let’s face it—kids are ALWAYS curious. We were all born with a seed of curiosity; it’s part of human nature. But it’s the wisdom and knowledge we are given when we’re young that help that curiosity bloom into compassion and grace.

It’s actually fitting that I chose to write about this today. I’m diving into the book, Making Faces, by Amy Harmon. I’ve heard nothing but positive reviews about it, and it’s been referred to as a “modern-day Beauty and the Beast.”