Our house, like many families, looks like it has children living there. Telltale signs include toys scattered all over the floor, half-masticated lumps of food, grubby fingerprints showing up in the oddest places, and a refrigerator covered in magnets. (Which is pretty funny considering it was not so long ago Keen would throw a mild fit if I tried to sneak a couple of artistic or decorative-looking magnets onto our fridge. He swore he would never let our fridge become one of those refrigerators. Poor guy.)
Now the dominant magnets on our fridge are those big plastic number magnets (they always seem to be sold out of the ABCs) that are superficially considered “educational toys” (though I think the primary concept they teach is the power of magnetism – and kids can learn that from the X-men movies, right?). Of course, Chance loves them, he moves them around, flings them off the fridge, and carries them around with him. Kid heaven. They cannot resist something grabbable on a flat surface. (Yes, “grabbable” is a word.)
Then I noticed something weird. Chance always seemed to have certain magnets he was carrying around. I started paying closer attention. He seemed to like certain shapes, and among his regular rotation there were a couple he kept coming back to. In particular, it was the orange eight and green seven.
Nah, I thought, those have just got to be in the same place on the fridge when he goes to play with them. Or I must be putting them back in the same place… or something. He can’t really be picking out that eight and that seven out of all the numbers, not to mention all the other eights and sevens on the fridge. Right? I mean, a favorite toy is one thing, but two favorite number magnets out of twenty?
So I started running some tests… I moved the green seven and orange eight around to different spots on the fridge, I grouped a bunch of 8s and 7s together, I grouped colors together, and so on. (Wow, that sounds much worse in print than in my head. My poor son has been sick even, and I’m playing mind games with him! Oy!)
Keen almost wrecked it all after I told him what I had seen. The next time Chance approached the fridge Keen started chanting “seven and eight, seven and eight,” like a frickin’ cheerleader!
ME: “Hey. Stop that!”
ME: “You’re ruining my experiment. I want to see if he’ll keep picking up those two numbers without any influence from us!”
KEEN: “Oh. Sorry.”
ME: “That’s OK. Now go group those 1’s and 3’s together. I need a control group.”
Through all the trials Chance still picked out the orange eight and green seven the majority of the time. Occasionally, if he couldn’t find one or the other of his favorites he would substitute an eight or a seven with one of a different color. It was pretty eye-opening. I didn’t know what it meant, but it was eye-opening. I was working up the courage to put the orange eight on one side of the fridge and the green seven on another (I had moved them apart previously, but not very far – I’m not a complete bitch, you know) when sadly, all my tests came to an end.
It seems Uncle Matt coming to visit jinxed the whole experiment. The orange eight is now missing. It was last seen as Chance headed towards the living room (and his uncle), the eight clutched in one hand while the green seven was clutched in the other.
We’re not giving up hope for recovery; green seven is lonely. (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it).
– the weirdgirl