Thursday, August 26, 2010

I Am A Paleontologist

The giveaway for a Monopoly board game here ends tonight. And there are seven entries.

If you're up with Disney Princesses, I'm also giving away a family four pack of tickets to Disney on Ice in Chicago for the Wednesday September 8 performance here.

I'm giving away our new favorite book - Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten here.


It always entertains me to see what the wee ones get into. For a long time, it was Thomas the Tank Engine. Mister Man was fascinated from the time he was two and my dad took him to a train show. He knew the name of every single train and conveyance that was a part of Sodor Island, and I think we own most of them now. His room is still decorated with Thomas from the lightplate to the sheets to a rug to wall stickers.

Sadly, Mister Man is growing out of Thomas (although he's nearly seven, so we at least got our money's worth out of it!). While he watched the Thomas movie at the salon last week when we got Little Miss's hair cut, he refuses to acknowledge that he still likes him and have given most of his trains to Little Miss.

And while Star Wars is a huge passion in our house - Mister Man has read almost all the books that are age appropriate and again we know every single character - it isn't the only one.

When given a choice, Mister Man still goes for dinosaurs over Star Wars. He reads every book he can find on them, and he recently discovered the nonfiction section of our library and the great treasure trove of dinosaur books held there.

In his reading, he learns everything he can and insists that his theory - that a meteor crashed into earth unleashing ash into the sky that killed the dinosaurs - is the right one and that no others are valid.

The kid knows more about dinosaurs than I ever wanted to. And granted, I wasn't into dinosaurs growing up (nor am I now), but I can tell you how you can in general know if a dinosaur was a carnivore or an herbivore because of him. I know the names and pronounciations of more dinosaurs than I knew existed. In fact, I now know that T. Rex isn't the largest dinosaur anymore, as I had always thought (it's Argentinosaurus, I believe or maybe Allosaurus or maybe Gigantasaurus - I need to listen more closely to my Little Professor's lectures).

It is entertaining when he's around other children an a dinosaur is part of whatever they're doing. The cute little dino silly band? It isn't just a brontosaurus - nope, it's a special kind of dinosaur, according to Mister Man, and he's probably right. The flying dinosaur picture at the doctor's office? He informed the poor receptionist that it wasn't actually a dinosaur but instead a large flying bird that happened to live during the dinosaur times, as officially no dinosaurs flew. I try to explain to him that while I'm impressed with his knowledge, not everyone else needs to know quite so many specifics about them, and some people don't appreciate being corrected.

Then again, some people do like it. When we were at the St. Louis Science Center earlier this summer, there happened to be an exhibit on dinosaurs. One worker had a game of dino bingo. You had to name the dinosaur model she pulled from under the counter and see if it matched any of the (labeled) dinosaurs on your sheet.

Mister Man named each dinosaur without looking at his sheet. And as more dinosaurs were pulled, he would separate them into groups for the worker. Each was a grouping of the dinosaurs that lived during the era. Before I realized what he was doing, I noticed that some dinosaurs he would lay on their sides, and some were left standing. He soon explained that the ones on their sides were dinosaurs that came from earlier eras and were therefore dead by the time the other dinosaurs were around. The woman was impressed.

Mister Man's favorite song on the radio right now is - of course - "I Am A Paleontologist," which I think is awfully appropriate. I won't even try to type the lyrics, as there are too many dinosaurs I can barely pronounce in it, let alone spell. The song awakened the idea in him that he, too, could one day be a paleontologist and discover dinosaurs and work with them. The idea has him fascinated, and I'm waiting for the day when he asks to be a paleontologist for Halloween (in the meantime, I snagged a really neat clone trooper costume for him for $20).

I love seeing the passion for this awaken curiosity and creativity in my children. It amazes me how much they want to learn and how they see so many ways to use their knowledge and share it with others. It makes him even more motivated in school to learn the math and science he'll need, and I've emphasized how much writing he'll be doing as a paleontologist, taking notes of all he discovers.

This passion may fade, only to be replaced by another, just as Thomas was. But in the meantime, I'll be doing anything I can to encourage his curiosity and his thirst for knowledge. What else is a mom for?

This post was inspired by the new book "Dinosaurs on the Move: Movable Paper Figures to Cut Color, and Assemble" which I received as a part of the Left to Write book club.

As a side note, because I know people will ask - this was a really cool activity; however, needing to find and use brads to put the dinos together was a bummer. We have other dino assembly books that do not require additional materials.


Laura August 27, 2010 at 2:16 AM  

ohhh you guys need a copy of thunderfeet the Alaskan dinosaur book and cd-fun music great book

Cathy Diez-Luckie August 27, 2010 at 1:20 PM  


It's amazing how much we learn from our kids. And you sure know a lot about dinosaurs (more than I knew when I started writing this book... thankfully several paleontologists reviewed it for accuracy before it was published! :D).

Sorry that you had such a hard time finding the brads! :( We have seen children also use plain office fasteners instead of the brads. The mini-brads are available at Michaels, and any craft store.)

Chef Dennis August 27, 2010 at 7:13 PM  

keep that interest in dinosaurs going, you never know where it might lead'll have to start working in some other species!

Michelle August 28, 2010 at 10:10 PM  

Laura - Hmmm, I will have to see if they have that one at the library. I can imagine he'd love it... since he knows how to use his CD player by himself now :)

Cathy - Oh they teach us so much. I'll have to tell him actual paleontologists fact checked the book he read. He'd be stoked!

Chef Dennis - No kidding - so many opportunities. With him, other species and interests are key since the OCD side of autism allows him to tunnel focus so easily into a single interest. We're working on it!

septembermom August 31, 2010 at 8:56 AM  

That's great Michelle!

I get caught up in reading some of my kids' "information" books, as I like to call them. The other day I learned a lot about the human body from one of my boy's books. You would think I was such an expert on the subject since I pushed four kids out of this tired old body. LOL.

Michelle September 3, 2010 at 2:49 PM  

Kelly - Some of those books are really cool, aren't they? My dad was reading Mister Man's "Weird Animal Dictionary" yesterday and was so entertained by some of the animals in there.

  © Blogger template 'Solitude' by 2008

Back to TOP