Caterpillars don't have a bone in their body. They move by squeezing muscles in sequence in an undulating wave motion. It is easy enough to observe from the outside, but Michael Simon, then a graduate student at Tufts University wanted to know what was happening on the inside. Simon decided he needed to X-ray a caterpillar as it crawled.
That's the second strong science article they've had in two weeks. And I hope they continue this. They'll be doing me a huge favor.
Not just because I enjoy the stories, not only because both of my sons do but because my daughter does. And actually listens.
They heard that this morning and the boys called me at work to tell me about it. I told them I'd heard it too and loved it as well. So tonight we go out to eat with some of my friends from work -- my parents, my kids, my friends and me -- and it's a nice dinner and all. In the middle of it, someone mentions butterflies and that's briefly a topic and then it dies off. At which point, my daughter tells us that a caterpillar turns into a butterfly. And I nod and am about to say, "Very good honey." But she's not done, she starts tying it into the report on Morning Edition and she's pretty much got the thing memorized.
I was shocked.
Last week, she wanted to see the story online (the video of all the things that fly through the air) but said it was gross and didn't talk a whole lot about it. So I knew she paid attention but -- as I've noted many times -- she's a girly-girl and not interested in much other than looking pretty and playing with her dolls. And that's fine. You know, I don't need her to be me. Let her be my mother who is still one of the most beautiful women I know. (I'm not butt ugly but only because I wasn't last of the litter.)
But if NPR keeps it up on Morning Edition, I think my daughter could be a brain. I don't mean she is or ever acted stupid. But she's just really focused on looking pretty and her dolls and her clothes and it takes a miracle to get her to focus on anything else.
So the fact that NPR's actually awakening an interest in science in her is like this huge gift and I say thank you. I wonder if any other parents are having that happen with their kids with these stories. All three of mine love it.
"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):