Xyster and Other Things I’ve Learned Because of My Kids

As I mentioned in a previous post (A is for Alphabet), my kids and I played an alphabet game, that I created, for a while.  It’s kind of lost its luster.  They were wanting to play it multiple times a day.  Now it might come up once a week.  It was fun while it lasted.  It was a simple game.  We each had to come up with a word that started with each letter of the alphabet.

My daughter played by her own rules.  My son, on the other hand, took it rather seriously.  I found, when we got to “x” we struggled to come up with anything other than xylophone and x-ray.  We usually played this game at bedtime, so I asked my son to remind me to look up some new “x” words the next day.  It took a few days before this actually happened.

I did a search and surprisingly few non-proper, non-hyphenated words came up.  Xyster is the only one that has stuck in my brain.  According to dictionary.com, a xyster is a surgical instrument for scraping bones.  Gross.  I’ve had three back surgeries; two included bone removal.  I wonder if I ever had a xyster used on me.

A free stock photo of a xyster is not easy to find, so if you’re curious, you can see what one looks like here http://buxtonbio.com/index.php?main_page=popup_infoprint&products_id=1886.

I got to thinking, I probably never would have learned this little factoid if I didn’t have kids.  What else have I learned because of my kids?  There’s the stock answer – you never know your capacity to love until you have children.  Everyone says it because it’s true.  There’s also all of the kids’ stuff . . . details about the Isle of Sodor, the names of Doc McStuffin’s toy friends, and that people who write many of these children’s shows must be on drugs (Dinosaur Train comes to mind).

From our trip to The Field Museum.

But, I’m thinking about real facts.  At three (maybe even 2) my daughter knew that a triceratops has three horns (I should have known this . . . tri means three, but I had not had the occasion or interest to put a brain cell to it).  She could also look at pictures and tell you which one was a stegosaurus, a t-rex and an apatosaurus.  I did not learn these things until my 40’s.

A little tangent here.  One day, my daughter was making herself a peanut butter sandwich.  When she applied the second piece of bread, she said “This is called adhesion.”  She scares me.  Like I said, she’s three.  I looked at my husband, and asked, “Did you teach her that?”  Laughing and shaking his head, he answered, “No.”  I wondered for a couple days where she heard the word, and how she learned to use it correctly.  Then I saw the episode of Blaze and the Monster Machines with the song about adhesion.  Who says TV’s not an educational babysitter?  Actually, they do some really unrealistic things on that show, but they do have some clever songs.

Okay, so back to things I’ve learned . . . all about sharks.  Do you think a whale shark is a shark or a whale?  I know the answer because I read a book to my kids about it.  I’ll let you look it up.

I now know that soccer balls come in different sizes.  At my son’s request, I looked up where an octopus’ butt is (and it’s not in the same place as his mouth – which is the case for some sea creatures).octopus-428745_1920I think most parents would agree, when your kids are very young they make you feel like a genius.  They’re new.  It seems like you know everything.  As they grow, sometimes, they make you feel incredibly stupid.  Albert Einstein said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t know it well enough.”  Kids ask about everything.  Sometimes, the questions seem simple enough, until I begin to answer.  They can become thought-provoking.  But, I don’t mind feeling stupid.  I don’t have much of an ego anymore.  I subscribe to the idea that we are life long learners (or should be).  I look forward to my kids continuing to show me that I don’t know what I don’t know.







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