Boron, Silicon, and Carbon; patterning my week

Silly Putty, in case you’re wondering …“You’re never excited about ANYthing, Mom!”  His words hit me like a ton of bricks.  I don’t remember what they were a response to, it probably involved some comment I’d made sarcastically about being thrilled about some project I had to work on that related to him somehow.  I know, not a comment I should have been making in the first place, great way to make them feel like crap.

I spend nearly every waking minute with my kids (yes, it’s by choice) and at least once a week I threaten to send them back to school.  “You know how lucky you are?!”  Just the kind of thing I’d have groaned at when I was 9, and I’m sure I did when told I should be grateful for something.  It’s part of homeschooling, the constant togetherness, and while I love much about it, it has it’s downsides for sure.  Winter seems to make them more apparent, but we’ll survive.  We just need to plan more trips :). 

Back to the “never excited bit”.  It’s almost true, and I didn’t see it that way until he pointed it out.  I’ve never shown a lot of emotion, but kids don’t pry past the front like some adults do.  My martyrish tendencies are very visible to the boys, and it means they see and feel it when I begrudge something.  My time, especially.  The endless questions really get to me.  I do get cranky about answering the 42nd “So if you did X and Y, and then J and Q happened, what would you get?  How big?  How many?  Well, if you change this part, then what?”  I get that kind of question many times a day, and sometimes they’re trying to find a way around something I’ve decided which I need to just nip in the bud, rather than cater to.  I wear thin, and any excitement that might have been there dissipates under the onslaught. 

So where do the Boron, Silicone, and Carbon come in?  I HAVE gotten excited the last week or so by a new thing we’re studying (all together this time!) and that’s the periodic table.  I got a really cool photo-based book on the elements, and the accompanying card deck, and the boys beg to work on it.  My logic and pattern-loving soul is finding it delightful to see things broken down to molecules, and getting into the properties of each and seeing how they combine.  I immediately took a shine to boron, as it’s super hard but brittle, and works best when combined with others.  It’s critical as a binding agent, together with silicon oil, in making Silly Putty.  When I relax and join in the boys’ moods, it’s a huge relief for all of us.  Can I find farting and burping funny all the time?  NO!  But going with it once in awhile makes a huge difference.

As for Carbon, not only are we “carbon-based” life in an elemental sense, but when you combine it with Boron you get one of the hardest know substances.  Handy stuff, boron.  Hard, silly, brittle, functional, and best when paired.  Kinda suits my state of mind at the moment, and hopefully I don’t get too carried away with assigning elements to people :).  I’ve been known to do sillier things.