Engineering for toddlers

 

My sister came by the other day with her husband and kids. My sweet but hyperactive niece, who is nearly four, is growing up so fast. She knows how to use a DVD player for example- I know several grown ups who do not. This explains why her Winnie the Pooh DVD is scratched, of course, but Iím hoping that one day she might learn how to program the video recorder, so she can come over for milk and cookies, piano playing, jumping up and down, whining, giggling, screaming and setting the timer for the late night movie.

 

My niece has her own CD player as well, which she needs no help using, and likes to sing along to songs with a pretend microphone. I see a great career as a pop star or a pub karaoke night organizer.

 

Her little brother, who is learning to use the DVD player as well, likes to toddle around, like a miniature robot, bumping into the furniture and picking up everything he sees. He has an inquisitive mind- he likes to take things apart. I am not sure if he has already attempted to take his sisterís stereo apart but, considering what three year olds listen to, this would be very understandable. And since his sister is keener to become the next Britney Spears, I hope that at least he will be a doctor, a scientist or an engineer.

 

Iím not going to discourage my nephew if he wants to be any of these things. There are much worse things one can be (such as unemployed). I know quite a few doctors and I have friends and relatives that I respect and love who are engineers. They are all hardworking and intelligent people. Also, they read this newspaper.

 

Engineers helped design the Channel Tunnel after all, and doctors help to put people together again. Chemists invented non-stick cookware and fat-free snacks (which is why I have a soft spot for them). Physicists have enlightened us through the ages as to why apples fall from trees and why the world spins around. And environmental scientists are, of course, the greatest of all. Why? Because one of them writes this column and he says so.

 

Then again I may be wrong about the little boy altogether. He has after all, yet to reassemble anything he has taken to bits. This does not suggest he would make a good scientist or engineer; it suggests heíd be a good scrap metal merchant.

 

But whatever job he chooses to do, Iím okay with it (Iím only his uncle, so who am I to argue, after all). Anything he does is fine by me because heís cute and I love him to bits.

 

Just as long as he keeps his cute little scrap metal merchantís hands off my stuff.

 

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