My 7 year old son is a scientist. He is creative, curious and very focused. Often, he is singularly focused. One of the things he’s been interested in lately is crushing sidewalk chalk. “Because,” as he explained to me, “Once you wet it with water, it will be like paint.” A few days ago he spent some time outside crushing sidewalk chalk with a butter knife. Yesterday he complained that the knife method wasn’t really efficient enough.
“You know what would be perfect? . . . Can I use the coffee grinder?” he asked.
I try so hard not to say no right away, or without reason, but this seemed like an appropriate time for a “No.”
Sometimes I really have to think of the reasons. “It isn’t really safe, the chalk will make a mess, and it might break the coffee grinder, or at the very least leave a chalk residue on the coffee maker.”
To give him credit, he tried to understand. But, his focus couldn’t get away from the idea that a coffee maker would be the perfect tool for his project. My husband quietly reminded me that we do have an old coffee grinder, and with supervision and clean up rules, it might be okay.
And it was.
Today while I was at school, more chalk powder was made, and water was added.
“Look!” he said to my husband, “You think it looks like it’s all mixed together, but when I poor it out, you can see tiny pieces of each color.”
I love his observations, his ideas, his curiosity and creativity. . . and one day I’ll miss the mess. (Or, so I tell myself.)