THE ACCIDENTAL ROLE MODEL

Right now, the Cabbage is into science. I say 'right now' because she's six and next year she'll probably be into something different, like law or cosmetology. But for right now, science is her thing. She likes bugs. We passed the time waiting for Michael at Harbor Freight, looking at pictures of moths and butterflies on my phone one day. We have a family membership for the Union Station because it gets us into Science City for free whenever we feel like going. This turned out to be a great way for Michael and the Cabbage to spend the day during the summer when it was too hot to do anything outside. I think there was one day they spent the whole time watching movies at the planetarium and eating free popcorn. 

For the past two or three weeks, the Cabbage has been asking to go to Science City. "When are we going to Science City? I want to go to Science City." It's a loop she's been playing over and over. Our weekend schedule has been super busy with other things. We've done fun stuff like visit Randy and Katrina in Branson and a zoo day, but none of this has been Science City. The last time she said something about it I told her we would go the next weekend she was at our house. I cleared the schedule for it and she started a count down of days before we would be at Science City. No one realized this until Michael went to pick her up on Friday, but her class went on field trip to Science City that day. The day before we were supposed to go. Didn't matter. The Cabbage said she wanted to go to Science City again on Saturday even though she had just been there the day before. 

So, Saturday, we went to lunch and then to Science City. I like Science City. It's big and open, with lots of running around space. Many of the exhibits are hands on. It's one of the few places I feel comfortable enough to take the Cabbage where I feel like I can let her roam free and explore on her own. We wandered around, making electricity by riding bikes and changing tide flows with magnets. They have those spinny top looking chairs that don't tip over. The Cabbage and I spent a good ten minutes just sitting in those chairs and rolling around. Then I got lost in Force and Motion and when I came out, I found Michael and the Cabbage talking to a woman in the Spark!Lab. Michael was helping the Cabbage write on a piece of paper. I heard the woman ask the Cabbage "Who is your favorite scientist?" Then I heard the Cabbage reply "Cindy!"

I'm sure the woman in the Spark!Lab was expecting to hear something like Einstein or Curie. She definitely was not expecting a "Cindy!" I mean, I'm not really a famous scientist (I just play one on TV) and of course I was totally flattered. The Cabbage has asked me about my job many times and has said that she too wants to be a scientist one day. So I was not all that surprised or humbled to hear that I am her favorite scientist. I'm the only scientist she knows. Suddenly the responsibility of being the only scientist she knows becomes a boa constrictor tightening around my ribcage. I have instant doubts. I don't know why, but I don't see myself as really a scientist. I hardly ever wear a lab coat and I have a hard time explaining to people what I do exactly. Mumble mumble microscopes seems to be my most frequent answer to what it is that I do. 

Though it is really sweet, especially since the Cabbage and I had a rough summer where we didn't really get along all that well. She went through a "I want my mom and dad to live in the same house" phase, even though she was too young to even remember the time they all did live in the same house. Any way, she's over that for now and into bugs. I'm over it too and trying to think of ways to be better at being that scientist role model. It's not as easy as being an accidental tourist.