The law of gravity…a basic scientific principle with which all four of my kids shared a fixed fascination. Funny how this phenomenon seemed to find its greatest impetus during our shopping excursions. And how interesting that their experiments with this natural force always got the same results. From watermelons to bubble bath and a couple of items in between, I quickly found out that when a child’s curiosity and gravity work together, it’s bound to wreak havoc in any given store while Mommy shops.
I’ll start with the watermelons. My oldest daughter Lisa proudly takes credit for this one. She was five years old at the time. Her experiment took place in the produce section of our neighborhood supermarket. All around us, in a carefully arranged assortment of colors and shapes, were the season’s most delectable fruits and vegetables. I went straight to the strawberries while Lisa made a beeline to the watermelons.
As I examined each package for the perfect strawberries, I kept one eye on my adventurous daughter. She was gazing in wide-eyed wonder at the towering watermelon pyramid when I heard her exclaim, “Look, Mommy!”
“Just a second,” I called back.
I shot a quick glance her way, amused by her gaping mouth as she craned her neck to look up at the top. And I thought I saw a hand move in an upward motion. Just to be safe I added, “Look but don’t tou…”
The next thing I knew, a rumbling sound, similar to that of an approaching freight train, sparked a mob rush toward the melon display. At least what was left of it anyway.
“Careful! Look out!” echoed from all directions. I looked over to see my terrified little girl standing knee deep in watermelons.
While a few shoppers stayed to help, the produce clerk showed up like an awesome superhero to save the day. Then to my bewilderment, he began arranging the watermelons just like they were before! The logic escapes me. (I’d love to meet the genius who masterminded the idea of the grocery pyramid. I have but one question to ask him: “What were you thinking?”)
Completely satisfied with her newfound knowledge of gravitational force, Lisa didn’t touch a thing at the store for weeks. Many a kind soul told me that someday I’d look back on this and laugh. Hmm…
Did I mention that my infant daughter Lindy was in the baby seat of the shopping cart during the watermelon fiasco? She was. And I think she must have been taking notes. However, almost two years passed before she conducted her own experiment. She simply waited for the right conditions to be present to conclude her hypothesis.
When the time came, Lindy sat upright in the child seat of the cart, studying everything with utmost scrutiny and trying to decide what could possibly top her sister’s accomplishment. We breezed through the store and were now finishing up in the dairy. I parked the cart next to the eggs and opened a carton for the obligatory examination. A man standing next to us did the same. Lindy looked back and forth between us, carefully calculating the “eggs-act” moment to make her move.
I can’t really describe what we heard, but we all know the sound. Fortunately, since egg cartons don’t roll, there were only one dozen broken eggs on the floor. But this time the reaction of the man next to us wasn’t quite as positive as that of the shoppers who’d helped me out with the watermelons.
“Well! I guess you just bought those eggs!” he huffed as he stormed away with his egg carton carefully placed in his shopping cart. I warmly nicknamed him “Mr. Sunny-Side-Up.”
As my anger at the man heated up enough to nearly fry those eggs, another super-duper superhero burst onto the scene carrying a mop and pail.
“Don’t worry about it, ma’am,” he said. “Happens all the time.” (These guys are so amazing.)
Two experiments down…two more to go. Tune in next week for Part 2 of my “Shop Till You Drop…Something” series!