My Nephew Discovered Physics

My Nephew Discovered Physics. A.K.A. The Way The World Works

​Having children provides you with at least one guarantee; you get to witness and/or re-live moments from your own childhood from a new perspective. They may be general moments that perhaps every human who ever lived did at one point or another (like the first time you ever ate a boogy), but you think about it somewhat differently when it’s your child that’s doing it (“stop that!”). One of the actions that stand out the most is how children investigate things to figure out how they work. Pick it up, play with it a little bit, taste it, smell it. Discovery of new things in the universe is a magical thing to behold, and I have been lucky enough to be beholden to such events, even before our daughter was born.

Over the past couple of years I have been blessed with three Nephews. Joseph was the first to come followed by Daniel and most recently, Charlie. Joseph was around 2 going on 3 (I think) when I traveled down to Maryland to help my brother and his family move out of there house and into a new one a little ways down the road. Needless to say, throughout the moving process we were awash with inquiries and the occasional lending a hand from my nephews (then tiny) hands.

To set the scene, I should describe the house that we were moving stuff out of. It was a farmhouse style, although updated and was a little ways back from the main road. Due to this, a long gravel driveway was created leading up to the garage off the side of the house which cut through a decently large sized front yard. It was in this driveway that I had my first true experience of a child’s discovery.

Joseph was running around making the usual merriment when after a while, as kids do, he began to get tired and slowed down a bit. So he plopped down in the driveway, near where the gravel ended and the grass began, and started playing with the stones. Throwing them off to the side, throwing them into the air, throwing them under the truck, stones were going everywhere.

Until one of his throws found the stone land in the nearby grass; that’s when the child became a detective (Batman would be jealous). He stared for a moment, and threw again towards the grass and watched the stone fall. He then stood up and looked, as if standing at the edge of a great height, out into the grass to see where the stone had landed (about 3ft away). The theory for his investigation was taking shape.

He looked down at the gravel beneath his feet, and very sternly made the decision to move forward with his full scale experiment. He reached down and picked up as big of a handful of stones as possible, and threw them all into the grass with full force. He remained still, and examined the work. I can only guess the notes he was taking in his head as he stared out into the, now stone-laden, patch of field. I imagine, if he’s anything like his father, he was taking into consideration the random flight paths of each stone determined by the strength of his throw, the wind speed, and the weight of each stone. The release from his hand as well as the intensity of his throw are really what determine the velocity and therefore is the cause for how spread out the stones now are which makes them increasingly difficult to find.

Therefore: adjustments must be made.

He looked once more to his feet, and picked up another handful of gravel. This time however, he took two or three steps into the grass and slowly bent down and placed the small pile of stones onto the ground. He then began to stare, ever so carefully.

Until A BREAKTHROUGH! AHAAAAAA!

Or at least I think that’s what happened………

Almost feverishly he began moving from the driveway to the grass each time with new handfuls of stones, sometimes throwing them once again and quickly examining their landing zones. What could have possibly happened in that moment of discovery to inspire such excitement? What is the purpose for this phase of the study? Does the increased intensity of stone throwing provide a new angle to the hypothesis? It must. It must represent the solid finding of a key factor in the discovery that some may challenge in the future. So it must be done repeatedly and each throw as vigorous as the last, for consistency.

The experiment finally came to a close as the investigator in question was beckoned by his mother. He would have to retire for now to the house and consider all the events of today. Summarize his findings and include it in his notes for later, a particular juice box holds precedence for now.

And then, standing on the edge of the truck holding a box in my hand, I went back to work. The entire event had taken five minutes, and it was one of the most wonderful things I had seen yet in my life. Nowadays its things that seem even more simple that I observe my daughter discovering. Things like her hands, feet, and sneezing. It was just last night that I witnessed for the first time my little one grab a binky with her hand and shove it directly in her mouth.

I have never been so excited in my life. A lot of individuals who are about to become parents for the first time are probably hearing from multiple sources that “having a child is a huge undertaking” and “sometimes the frustration will be unbearable.” But I disregard these things. There are definitely times of frustration and times when one considers the immensity of the dedication you have to put toward this child, but it all washes away when these little moments happen. The first time they smile, or look at you with those big eyes. The first time they fall asleep on your chest, or the first time they begin trying to speak.
In fact its not just the “firsts” that will wash away your worry and frustration, but each time they do these things. Every time I pop the binky back into her mouth and her hand reaches up and grabs my pinky finger. Every time I go to pick her up from daycare and when I get there she is crying, but as soon as she sees me she begins to smile, and giggle. More things will come, first words and calling me Daddy and so on.

In all this, I make a discovery of my own. That this being is what is truly love. I love my wife, and I have learned that putting up with the difficult times is well worth it for all the amazing moments we share. But this little girl, I need not learn to be patient in frustrating moments. She is a constant source of happiness, wonderment, and love. I will always be grateful for anything I can do for her, even the nasty stuff, because I know I’ll always get something wonderful in return.

-B.K. Mullen
Twitter: @BKM505
Podcasts: Poppin’ Bottles Dad-Cast
Sketchy Radio

The Dining Room Forum

The Dining Room Forum

​Everyone has their traditions, whether it was passed down through the family or recently created. We brought this up on our podcast this past week and it got me thinking about my own family. The primary one I could think of was the existence of our Dining Room table. To be clear, this table is not magic, nor is it made out of some exotic material. It was never even owned by someone famous or infamous, it was originally owned by my grandparents and has been owned by my parents since around 1996.

​To understand the importance of this table you have to put yourself into a particular mindset with the following list. Clear your mind of all prior notions of what a table is and just visualize it and feel it through these descriptions:

1.) It has always been the largest piece of furniture we owned. A fixture of the house, couldn’t go from one room to the other without seeing it or even bumping into it. With the leaves put in it was over 7ft long (seemed like longer when I was little) and 3 ½ feet wide, cherry if my memory serves correctly.
2.) Dinner was ALWAYS at the dinner table. The only exceptions being:
a. You are at school/work.
b. You are sick in bed.
c. There are so many people around the table there is nowhere for you to sit.
3.) When Dinner was going on the Television is OFF.

It wasn’t just a place to eat food, it was an essential part to the communication in our family. Dinner wasn’t just that we all sat there at ate together, we talked, we laughed, we had arguments, we had discussions. We talked about everything, the table was the Family Forum. Politics, Religion, School, and those ever important “talks” in the life of a growing young person such as alcohol, violence, sex and death.

I look around and I see two things coinciding, and maybe its just me who looks at it this way but here it goes: I notice almost everyone in my generation who has emotional disconnections within there family also don’t eat around a dinner table. They don’t have that place to convene and communicate with their family. They are all rushing around pushing fast food and microwavable “meals” into their faces. Don’t get me wrong, its not a necessity of relationships to have a dinner table experience like I did growing up. All I’m saying is it helps bring us all together for at least a few hours every day.

This is something I want to continue with my kids, the Family Forum. A central location where we all get together at the end of the day and talk about everything and anything. I want my kids to grow up as I did, always talking with my family and knowing exactly who they are inside and out. Some people say that you “can’t be friends with your kid, you gotta just be a parent or else they’ll loose respect for you” and I think that’s a bunch of bull. I respect my parents more than anything BECAUSE we are friends. I feel no distance at all between us and that is what has kept us a strong family for so long, through so much. And when I was younger I still had the understanding that THEY were the authority in the house and their word was “law” but that’s because we talked about it. We had quite a few “discussions” about their credentials as parents and heads of household. Every decision they made for the family was up for discussion, because it was a family matter.

I can’t wait for my little girl to grow up and be my friend. I can just imagine the adventures we can go on, even when age starts to catch up with me. So many parents who kept emotional distance between them and their kids end up saying as they grow older “I wish I would have spent more time with them.” No doubt, every single second I don’t spend with my little girl feels like a second wasted. I miss her constantly when she’s not around, so no matter what, I will always wish that I’d have spent more time with her. However, one day I want to make that transition from being more of a father to being more of a friend, and in that way she’ll not distance herself too far.

In the end, the life she leads will be hers to choose, and the relationship she has with her mother and I will change and form between now and then. As it is with me and my parents, I wish for my child to venture into the world with all its excitement, danger, fear, and wonder. And when she does, I always want her to keep us close to her heart, and know that no matter what happens, she will always have two of the best friends a person could ask for.

-B.K. Mullen

​Twitter: @BKM505
Podcasts: Poppin’ Bottles Dad-Cast
Sketchy Radio

Bloggety-Blogface

breakfast with emma

Greetings fellow fathers and wanderers! I’m Ben Mullen, and I am the co-host of The Poppin’ Bottles Dad-Cast, a podcast where my “neighbro” and I discuss all things related to being dads. Particularly in my case, from the perspective of a new dad, as my daughter Emma is at this point 4 months old.

I started podcasting about 4-5 months ago, having had multiple failed attempts at blogging and vlogging. Podcasting has turned out incredibly well for me and I now have 3 shows in my own production company, which I’m crazy excited about. The first show, now called “Sketchy Radio”  is the one I started with, its every Friday and it’s just me blabbing away into a microphone. The second show is called “Brudders” and if you haven’t guessed by the title, it is my brother Ash and I teaming up to ALSO blab about whatever is on our brains this week. The third show of course, with my neighbor Nick we talk about all things Dad related in this crazy world we live in. We are only three episodes deep but we’ve gotten a great response from people and have just been added to the Life of Dad Podcast Network!

As I mentioned, this is my second try at blogging, but this time I have a purpose! A direction! It will act as both a personal blog at times but also as a “partner” to The Poppin’ Bottles Dad-Cast from my perspective. Needless to say there will be situations where Nick or I will not get around to talking as in-depth as we would like on some topics. Therefore we can use our blogs as a follow up outlet to give you more details and further discussions on the topics of our show. Obviously if you are reading this you already know how to get to mine, but just in case you are unaware, you can findNicks blog on here as well .

I like to think I have a pretty good idea of what kind of dad I want to be. I was raised by a pretty interesting group of people in a somewhat strange concoction of circumstances (strange compared to “normal” people). But I believe that it created a “perfect storm” if you will of a parental figure in me and I hope that I can tap into it and be as successful as possible. Needless to say, none of it (especially the part about actually having the kid) would be possible without my amazing wife Carissa. Go team!

So I hope you guys enjoy the miscellaneous ramblings of a young dad yet to come. I always appreciate comments and suggestions so feel free to leave some! And most of all, don’t forget to tune in every Sunday for The Poppin’ Bottles Dad-Cast!

-B.K. Mullen

@BKM505

Life of Dad Blog

The continuing adventures of a Podcasting Dad.