My first grader's homework assignment was titled Things We Found. The instructions were as follows: With someone else look at home for things that bounce but are not balls.
I happened to be the someone else, and so we proceeded to look for things that bounce. My first grader started picking up everything within eye-shot (not balls, mind you; we follow directions, sometimes) and she'd hold it at eye-level and drop it, just let it go. As I watched, I figured well, how else would you find out if certain things bounce? Drop away, daughter of mine.
Here are, as the title prompted us, the Things We Found, with an alternative title of Things She Found While I Assisted:
1. toilet paper roll
4. plastic cup
Answer #1 was obviously measured in micrometers, but us being scientists and all, we observed a slight spring in the toilet paper roll's step, no doubt due to having recently been freed of all those double sheets. Answers #2-4 were all quite bouncy, I must say; we found that, the two of us. Answer #5, the grape. Technically, the grape would probably classify as a ball, of some sort. However, we, the two of us, set aside scientific parameters and let common sense reign. I mean, who says hey, Lazarus, let's go outside and throw the grape? That's right - nobody.
I was pleasantly pleased with answer #6. Those first five came fairly quick; a little girl moving helter-skelter through the house, picking up and dropping whatever she saw next. But then, after the grape, a pause. Pauses are good; no need for the dad to jump in and say well, what about this?
I watched as my not-so-baby-anymore-Einstein scanned the horizon and after a good, pregnant pause, fixed her eyes on her own two feet. It was like she had a dowsing rod, looking for water, and when she held it over her feet, well, it suddenly started to stir. But stirring's for sticks; my little girl started to bounce. She started bouncing like that manic friend of Winnie the Pooh, laughing and twirling and just getting all crazy-like in the hallway. My proximity was such that I was strangely drawn into her gravity field and yes, I started bouncing too. Mine was more of an Eyeore-bounce, but I gotta be careful, my tail being pinned on and all.
I was proud of my little discoverer. After the thrill of toilet paper rolls and grapes had passed, she found that most obvious, but often overlooked: herself. That kind of self-discovery usually only happens when you've got pauses in your life, room for the hazel sticks to stir. I'm hoping she was also aware of her effect on me, the someone else in her assignment. I'm hoping she saw the infectious power of self-discovery, which can easily lead to bouncing, a rather fine form of that known as joy.
After much joy-ing, she swallowed the grape, which, I swear this to be true, seemed to wiggle and jiggle and giggle inside her. I can't prove that scientifically, but I don't care.