Saturday, March 22, 2008

Biology Lessons

Well, as you probably know, I'm in the midst of my own biology experiment right now. The Gus Project is both exciting and exhausting, as those of you who have worked on similar experiments can no doubt attest.

Everyone is interested in Gus, but Ryan most of all. We have had numerous discussions with Ryan regarding the existence of Gus: how he's growing, how he eats, how tired Mommy is, how Gus got in there, how tired Mommy is, etc.

In typical Ryan-fashion, he prefers excruciatingly detailed answers to his innumerable questions. No executive summary will ever suffice, no matter what the topic. As I have mentioned before, he pretty much knows all about reproduction--humans, gorillas, and otherwise. Which is good, really, less questions to answer later.

Still, I was caught off-guard by his recent obsession with sperm. He understands that sperm is the guy's responsibility, and since he is a guy, he felt like he needed to know all about it. He was dying to know what sperm looks like, so I fired up Ye Olde Computer Device and quickly found some pictures. Oh, he was fascinated.

I also believe this interest in sperm was somewhat spurred by the fact that I took the kids to one of my OB appointments and we discussed all of the girl-related things during our eons-long wait for the doctor to come in. He got to see a picture of an ovum, and ovaries, and well, everything. Lucky for me that the doc was delayed, so I got to answer questions and questions and questions and describe pictures and pictures and pictures. !!!

So anyway, sperm. He can't wait to make some of his own. We have explained several times that that wouldn't happen for a while just yet. Not to be deterred by this little biological impediment, he decided to make sperm in a different way. And so in honor of this occasion, you'll get to see some pictures. Here they are:

Not exactly to scale, but I think he's got the right idea:

Looks like we found a winner:

Mission Accomplished!

And to balance out some of this testosterone, I present you with a Girl in Pink Sparkly Shoes:


Monica said...

Oh my gosh, this is hilarious! Play Doh Sperm! HAHAHAHHAAAH!

Rational Jenn said...

I know! How cute is he?

I've noticed that he often has to "act out" and play with new concepts. I think it helps his brain integrate them. That's why he dresses up in costumes so frequently--it's not enough for him to read about a Minuteman--he has to be a Minuteman. Helps these things stick in his head, I think. It's so interesting.

But when he rolled out clay/playdoh sperm, it was hard to keep a straight face. He will spring these things on me when I'm least suspecting it! I was only laughing inside, of course--I would never let him think that I was poking fun at him. Because I'm not (and I hope whoever reads this understands that)--this is serious stuff, this concept integration.

Still--sperm! And an egg! And a dramatic reenactment of the moment of fertilization!

He is an interesting guy, that's for sure. I should know better by now than to let my guard down. :o)

LB said...

Merely making the clay models is very impressive, but to give them action? A+ (And it leaves this homeschooling mom feeling a bit behind on the science front.)

Rational Jenn said...

LB, I can take no credit for this project beyond answer a zillion questions and actually having clay in the house! This was all Ryan. As you can see by the pictures, he was very proud, and rightly so!

Now if only all homeschooling were as easily accomplished . . . !

LB said...

In my book, having the materials on hand coupled with the ability to "answer a zillion questions" with calm appropriateness on the subject at hand is excellent homeschooling parent form!

Btw, if you're looking, I moved my blog to The other name was giving me too much trouble. Thanks for listing me and sorry for the work the change entails.

Shez said...

Love it. My kids are also intrigued by reproduction right now (they turn 7 soon). I've been very open about the biology. We have spent hours pouring over books to learn about sperm and ova, testes and ovaries. However, they've never asked, and I've never told, how the sperm get to the egg. They know about how the sperm swim up the fallopian tubes, but for some reason they've not been interested in how those little swimmers get to the fallopian tubes. I'm waiting for that question with bated breathe.

Rational Jenn said...

LB--thanks for letting me know about your change o'blog! I've enjoyed your writing very much and I'll update my blog.

Shez--thanks for stopping by! Ryan will be 6 next month, and we've already covered the, ah, logistics of how the sperm & egg meet up. Several interesting discussions! I can't wait for him to decide to enlighten Grandma, or innocent bystanders at the grocery store (his public speaking venue of choice.) :o)

momof3feistykids said...

I LOVE it!!! What an artist. What a scientific mind. :-)

My kids have never been satisfied with an executive summary of any question either. I found this out the hard way when my older daughter (then not yet 5) cornered me and demanded that I tell everything I knew about the "facts of life." I finally spilled the beans, and her only question was "how does it fit?"

I really like your blog, by the way, and I love the current Rand quote. I have never been drawn to objectivism. However, lately I have felt the urge to read some of Ayn Rand's work again and see whether my perspective has changed.

Chelle said...

Oh I feel so relieved to find another person who has a son that asks all those questions and that answers them.

In today's society- well you know.

Rational Jenn said...

Momof3FeistyKids and Chelle, welcome and thanks for stopping by!

He is a little scientist, a sponge for information. Very interesting guy to know!

Chelle--I, too, am happy to meet someone else who has BTDT with this subject!

Momof3--of course I'd encourage anyone to read Ayn Rand! At the very least, you'll have plenty to think about!

Thanks again for taking time to comment.

Rational Jenn said...

Oh, and I have a follow up to this post coming soon, so keep an eye out. It's never boring, knowing a guy like my son!

Queen of Carrots said...

You're making me grateful that I have a girl-child obsessed with reproduction right now. Although I was a little disconcerted when she capitalized on some pictures she had seen in one of my books and started a NICU for her stuffed animals.