I don't like to brag, but while your children were sitting zombie-like in front of their television cartoons this morning, my children were dragging their "Smithsonian XM 5000 MicroChemistry" sets to the kitchen table to begin the kind of searching, discovery-filled scientific inquiries that might have taken place over breakfast in the Einstein household.
The Smithsonian XM 5000 MicroChemistry Set is a "world of adventure, discovery and wonder" and contains everything necessary to conduct over 1,500 different scientific experiments and procedures. Including poison. Also marble chips.
"What's 'marble chips'?" the fourth-grader asks her big brother.
"It's candy," he says without hesitating. "It's what they make Snickers out of."
But she is no fool. After all, she is the one wearing two pairs of safety goggles as they attempt to connect a pair of wires to a battery and a light bulb.
Plus she has discovered something more interesting than marble chips.
"I have poi-sooooon," she sings out in her musical theater voice. "It's won-der-ful."
I look up from The New York Times, which I am enjoying along with my Starbucks Kenya Bold, and give her a smile that says "I fully encourage your scientific curiosity and creative impulses."
Also, "I will not be baited into alarm over your casual handling of tiny vials with pictures of skulls on them. Not even if you switch to opera voice."
She switches to opera voice. "Dan-ger-ous, dangerous, POI-son. I have LOTS of POI-son..."
Soon my newspaper will be strewn with little vials and scoops and wires and every imaginable bit of scientific paraphernalia, except for the 85-page instruction booklet, which will remain in the box. (Safety rule #1: Never allow a child to eat any chemical or the products of their experiment!)
(Safety rule # 1, paragraph 2: Do not allow any liquid to be drunk while experimentation is being conducted. Not even Starbucks Kenya Bold.)
"Poi-son of my verrrrry own."
Perhaps I am not Einstein's mommy after all. Because I really just want to read my newspaper and drink my possibly poisoned coffee in peace.
"Very, very, very fatal poooiii-son..."
But probably not enough.