Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Surviving the spear-a-mints ...

Kevin loved doing hands-on science projects which he dubbed --at age 3 -- "spear-a-mints." Whether it involved mixing vinegar and baking soda for a homemade volcano or hooking things up to a 9-volt battery for Capsela robots or taking apart old radios, he was our little scientist in residence.

The photo at right is one of my favorites. At two, he was having a grand time filling bottle caps with water from a park fountain (which he fiddled with and figured out how to keep it flowing). Note the mud on his legs and that innocent look on his face.

I can't tell you the times he got in trouble (or danger) over his adventures. There was the time he poured water in the motor housing of an oscillating fan and should have been electrocuted, but he wasn't. Or the day he plugged the vacuum cleaner in and stuck the hose down in a bucket of water so he could wet-vac the carpet -- it's a wonder he didn't get fried on the spot!

So it was no surprise he sat around reading manuals for every computer game he and his brother bought. Or studied encyclopedias for fun. Kevin chose radio schooling in the U.S. Marine Corps and was thrilled to be the one who carried the big radio pack on his back. (Did you know, Mom, I'm the first guy they'll try to kill?) Thankfully, God spared his life on many occasions -- at home and abroad -- and we still have our Kevin. He's 23 now and has a place of his own --which is probably a good thing. At this point in my life, I'm not as fond of surprises.

Kev still loves reading technical manuals and fidgeting with wires and gadgets and electricity and power supplies. I'm just glad Best Buy has taken full responsibility for his spear-a-mints. They even *pay* the boy to take apart, investigate, re-assemble and re-define the criss-crossed, highly-wired innards of expensive computers. I suppose if something blows up in the process, their insurance oughta cover it.

Moms, take heart. If your child is always "into something" and has a love for spear-a-minting, you may have a future technician or scientist or inventor or Geek (!) roaming the halls of your home. My advice? Hide the vacuum cleaner, put a lock on all water faucets, stick anything flammable or untouchable way up high and then hang onto your hats. The in-home training process can be quite hair-raising at times!


  1. Thank you for you comment on my blog, loved getting it! I have a spear-a-minter at my house too. Partially why she goes by the name of Debris, it's whats always flying every-which-where when she spear-mints. :-) That is so cute!

  2. I have one of these, too, but in a different way. His was action oriented. At two I would find him on top of everything and would have to talk gently to him so I could get him without him freaking out and falling off! It's funny now but he aged me!

    So good to hear your son has found something he loves and you obviously provided lots of encouragement. No small feat for we who fear for their lives!

  3. Whoohooo...Wheee...just look at those followers climb!!!!! I'm so thrilled! You deserve a great following! This post is priceless...My Dad was like your son...and he ended up with a Ph.D. in geology from the University of Chicago...and a career in science...investigating and inventing! The gifted never fit the mold...they break it! LOL ...Thanks for such a great story!!! Loved it!

  4. Hi, Nan!!! Thanks for stopping by! And for your delightful comments... You fall right between my brother and husband in age...and so, I'm going to adopt you as my sister!!!! Both in a phileo and agape-- spiritual way of accounting!!!! You are a gem, and I'm keeping you!!! Blessings to you! ~Janine XO


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