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Sandy, as seen by a preschooler

Started: 2012-11-10 20:10:49

Submitted: 2012-11-10 20:47:47

Visibility: World-readable

In which Calvin shares a preschooler's insights into Hurricane Sandy

I just had a bizarre conversation with my three-year-old Calvin.

While playing Legos with Calvin this evening, I built several buildings (which, at one point, were the "daddy", "baby", and "mommy" towers) and Calvin decided they were like New York City. While we were on the topic of New York, he asked about the recent storm and I told him a little bit about Hurricane Sandy, including its name, and that it brought wind and rain and flooding to New York. (We don't watch television news, but we do read various news outlets online and probably discussed the storm at some point during the past two weeks. I don't know how much his classmates know about the storm, but he's certainly at the age where he can learn things from his classmates, though at this point it's more like a game of Telephone.) Calvin wanted to know the rest of the story, and I told what I thought was appropriate to tell someone his age (which wasn't much; I spent a lot of time talking about storm surge and flooding and "dewatering solutions"). He created a new storm named "Computer", which, he told me, was one of Sandy's friends. I concluded this must be the nor'easter currently bringing snow to the northeast, and told him "Computer" was a big snow storm that came after Sandy left. He then created a new storm called "Tibet" and decided that it was a fire storm. He wanted me to tell the story of "Tibet", and I tried to figure out exactly what he knew about fire storms (other than the obvious fact that fire fighters are involved), and whether he knew about the actual neighborhood fire in Brooklyn during Sandy. I wasn't sure where precisely to go with this story, so I asked him to tell me what happened and we ended up with a fire in China that only threatened the "bad guys", and was polite enough to wait for people to move out of their houses. This discussion absorbed most of the time I had allocated for bedtime stories, but may have been more interesting.

This whole experience feels a bit like a weird dream: I can see information going in, churning around, and coming out, often in bizarre ways. Calvin's thought processes are clearly developing, in strange and unpredictable ways. It's fascinating to have a little human-development experiment living in my house.