Six Ways Children Defy the Laws of Science

If you’re a parent, you already know that having children changes things. Lots of things.

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But you may not realize exactly how unique these little people are. Last week, I was in line at the grocery store deli counter, standing behind a young mom who was holding her toddler. The little guy had rested his head on her shoulder and was pretty still, despite trying to smile at me. I started to check a text on my phone when the mom turned around and asked me if her son had fallen asleep.

I looked up to check, and, yes, he was out! I asked her how she knew, and she smiled and said he just felt heavier.

She was right. I had felt that ‘sudden heaviness mode’ while carrying a child before. And that got me thinking. How can a child have “more mass” just by falling asleep? The mass of objects just doesn’t change all by itself. And there were other universal questions that I started thinking about, too. So here are 6 ways that children defy the laws of science.

1. Children gain mass when they fall asleep. Just like my example above, a napping child is “dead weight,” so they are much harder to carry. Do they actually pull in extra atoms and molecules onto their bodies when sleeping? Some people say that their muscles are not flexed and we feel the full extent of their weight. I don’t think so. You see, a side phenomenon of this one is when you try to pick up a child who doesn’t want to be carried. Again, their mass mysteriously increases, and they become very difficult to lift. So there is more to this phenomenon than the non-flexed-muscles argument. It’s a mystery.

2. Children can alter the amplitude of sound. Amplitude of sound waves has to do with how loud we perceive a noise. In most cases, I have found my children to have a normal range of perception when it comes to regular noises. But when I call their name (particularly when they haven’t completed an assigned task), they inexplicably are able to change the volume of my voice so it is diminished. I mean it. They truly cannot hear me and happily go on playing. [“What, Mom? I didn’t hear you.”]

On the other hand, if they are happily playing as before, and I carefully and quietly start to open a dark chocolate with sea salt candy wrapper…on the other side of the house…they are able to not only identify that sound, but even magnify it like they were some sort of sonar operator on a navy submarine! How is this possible?!? [“Mom? Can I have some of that?”]

3. Children are able to alter chemical bonds. Let’s say you are sitting with your family at the dinner table having pleasant conversation, when all of a sudden your child falls off his chair. No. He didn’t tip over. He seems to have fallen through the chair molecules and down onto the floor. It’s as if the molecular structure of the wood was temporarily disrupted so that the bonds couldn’t support your child’s mass. Of course, whenever this happens there is also the collateral damage of a cup of grape juice splattered everywhere or spaghetti strewn all over the floor. But in our house, this happened pretty regularly. I began to have distrust for the laws of molecular bonding and often gingerly sat down when it was time for dinner.

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4. Children (particularly infants) have built-in altimeters. Have you ever tirelessly walked around the house with a crying baby? No? Try it some time. It is amazing. Anyway, you finally get that precious little one to fall asleep (you know this because of phenomenon #1 above). So you slowly, carefully, gently start to sit down onto the couch. All of a sudden, this child who was knocked out starts to wake up and begin crying again. How did he know you started to sit? Yep. It is that altimeter. Now science has not discovered this biological organ in children, but believe me it is there. I have even done little sleeping experiments with my kids….standing up – child is sleeping…sitting down—child wakes up…stand up again—child sleeps again…sit down again—child wakes up. It baffles the mind!

5. Children are able to defy the laws of gravity. This one usually works only in one direction. They just seem to randomly fall down. And it happens even when there is nothing to cause them to fall. There is really no force behind it. No one pushed them. There was nothing to trip over. I often found myself asking ridiculous questions like: “How did you fall down?” “You were just standing there a second ago…what happened?” (like they really KNEW what was going on…)

6. Children can bend light waves. Like sound waves, they can do this selectively. Sometimes they can bend light so that it doesn’t reach their eyes. You know this one well. You ask your child to pick up their socks that are in the living room. They go into the room and come right back, saying they couldn’t see them. You go in there and notice the socks directly in the middle of the room. You ask yourself, How in the world did they not see these. Well now you know.

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Of course the flip side of this one is when they are able to bend light waves so that they CAN see things that the laws of the universe say they should not be able to. Like the chocolate cake on the counter that is hiding behind the fruit bowl and the blender. Or that thing in your hand that is behind your back. Oh, yes, they can see it. Just give in now.

So there you have it. These little ones don’t seem to follow the same universal rules that the rest of us do. When do they grow out of it? Well, that is another scientific mystery…