A Chemistry Experiment

Science kits

I was a chemistry major in college, and my husband Mark majored in engineering. So like the dorks that we are, we got Isaac some simple science kits for Christmas from Target. His Auntie Aliyah also bought him the “Everything Kids’ Science Experiments Book”, so lately he has been very interested in doing experiments.

Unfortunately, these last couple weeks have been rather hectic. All weekend he has been begging me to do an experiment with him. I had to work this weekend, so there just wasn’t much time.

Finally, just before bedtime tonight, we had about 30 minutes to spare. I asked him what kind of experiment he wanted to do. “Chemistry!” he said. Be still, my heart!

He went through his chemistry set and pulled out the plastic test tubes. “I want to do something with these,” he said. One problem: although the chemistry set included test tubes, none of the experiments in the instruction manual included them! So we turned to good old Google. We found this neat website and decided to try “The Liquid Rainbow”.

Getting all set up

It turned out very well, and he really enjoyed it!  The liquid rainbow only works if the liquids are put in the test tube in order of decreasing density.  I explained this to Isaac.  Since we started out with approximately equal volumes of each liquid, I asked him to guess which was heaviest or densest.  He tried picking up each container of liquid.  “Can you tell by picking them up?” I asked.  “No,” he said, “I’m too strong.”

Isaac experimenting

I told Isaac that every good scientist needs a lab notebook (or used to, anyway, when I was in college):

Lab notebook

Here are our end results. If you look closely, the tube on the right has our “liquid rainbow”:

Our fantastic results

I know I should probably have him wear safety goggles, but we don’t have any yet. I’m sure I can find some online for future experiments. And maybe I can find him a small white labcoat. I told you I was a dork.

Isaac has already asked me if we can do another experiment tomorrow night!


Smiling Ben

Even though he hasn’t been feeling well for over 2 weeks, Ben is definitely showing some signs of progress with his gross motor skills. He first showed signs of grasping toys and other objects months ago, however he quit altogether for some reason shortly after that. He became very resistant to having his left hand touched for any reason, and he made little effort to grasp anything (although he would happily bat at objects and spin them).

We mentioned all this to his physical and occupational therapists, and they thought that maybe he was having some sensory integration issues with his hand. So we started some exercises to de-sensitize his hands and arms. We have three plastic containers filled with different things; one contains rice, one has black beans, and one has lima beans. We started having him immerse his hand in each of these. At first he hated all of them, but he has since come to enjoy the rice and the black beans. For some reason he still hates the lima beans! Then we placed small rings into the beans and rice (almost submerged but still visible) for him to pull out, and he’s been doing great.

Ben OT sensory integration exercise

Since we’ve started those exercises a few months ago, we’ve seen definite signs of improvement. He now readily reaches for and grasps toys and rattles, and gleefully shakes them. He even puts his toothette (that we use for oral motor skills) near (but not in) his mouth:

Ben with toothette

One of his favorite toys these days is this drum.  It’s made of real goatskin and makes a very satisfying sound:

Ben with drum

He has done the 360 degree roll a few more times – we will have to make sure he doesn’t get too tangled in his feeding tube:

Tangled in feeding tube

And he is still working on his sitting:

Ben with stacking rings

A few days ago we had dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant.  We put Ben in a big-boy highchair for the first time (and wedged him in well with his coat).  He played happily with his toy for a few minutes, then decided he’d had enough!

Ben at Mexican restaurant

We are SO pleased with his progress so far!  Hooray for Early Intervention!

Get Well Soon…

Ben in Crib

Ben is usually a very healthy little guy. However, this past week he has had a cold, and since Friday his congestion and cough have become much worse. He was supposed to have physical therapy on Friday, but he was just not up to it – we decided to call it quits within 5 minutes because he alternated between sleeping and crying. He slept most of Friday and Saturday. He’s had trouble tolerating his usual formula tube feeds, and we’ve had to substitute some of his feeds with Pedialyte. If he still sounds rotten in the morning we’ll take him in to see his pediatrician.

Of course he isn’t the only sick one in our household – Mark seems to have some sort of flu-like illness with fever, chills and body aches, and Jonny is just getting over a nasty cold as well.

The only good thing about Ben being sick is that he is extra cuddly, but it’s hard to see him so miserable.

We all hope that everyone gets healthy soon!

A Few Slices of Home

My dad is visiting us from Trinidad for the next couple of months. We all thought he was a little crazy to visit in February since he has never experienced winter before, but we are glad to have him all the same. When a member of my family comes to visit, he or she usually brings the usual assortment of Trinidad goodies that I’m not able to buy in rural central Pennsylvania. This time Dad brought a special treat:

Fried breadfruit

Breadfruit! For those not familiar with breadfruit, it is the extremely starchy fruit of a tree that I assume only grows in tropical areas. This used to be one of my favorite foods when I was a kid. And here’s how I like it best – steamed first, then pan fried and slathered with salt and butter (the preparation and steaming had already been done for me by Mom and Dad in Trinidad – I just get to do the fun part!) Mark says it tastes a little like wedge-cut potatoes, but the texture is quite different.

Breadfruit and butter

My sons had to be coaxed bribed into trying it. Jonathan thought it was just “OK”, but Isaac wanted his own piece.

Isaac breadfruit

And there’s still a good supply of it left in the refrigerator. Trust me – it won’t go to waste! 🙂