Here’s the song reference.
Bugaboo skipped into the kitchen yesterday morning before the sun was fully up, clad in her first-day-of-Faith-Formation dress. She loves that dress, partly because it’s pretty and has a poufy crinoline, partly because she picked it out all by herself.
In all honesty, I share her enthusiasm for the garment in question, but there aren’t too many November days with just the right combination of warm temperatures and plans to stay indoors all day that make wearing it feasible. The fabric is lightweight, and the tulle skirt isn’t really conducive to rough-and-tumble play, which tends to be a feature of the tribe playing outside, particularly when there are big piles of leaves just pleading for children to jump in them.
“Mommy, don’t you just love this dress?
“I do, Bugaboo, and I’m still very proud of you for choosing it. Unfortunately, it’s November, and it’s a little cool for it today. You can wear it for now, while you’re in our nice warm house, but later today you’ll need to change or you’ll get cold.”
That earned me a distinctly pouty Bugaboo face. Luckily, I was still typing yesterday’s blog post, and thus had a browser open. Inspiration struck.
“Hey, Bug, come here a second. Let me show you something on the computer.”
She trudged over, scowling mightily. I pulled up the bookmark for the Weather Channel and pulled her up into my lap. After giving our oldest a hug and a kiss, I pointed to the screen.
“Can you tell me what that is?”
“It’s the weather. It says 35 and clear.”
“Right. Do you know what that means?”
“It means it’s not raining and I should be able to wear my dress.”
“Well, you’re half right. It’s not supposed to rain, but 35 degrees is pretty cold, sweetie. If it was three degrees colder, it would be cold enough for snow.”
“I like snow.”
“I know. I like snow, too, but I wouldn’t like it too much with bare legs and bare arms.”
“The upper parts of my arms and legs aren’t bare.”
“True. Tell you what. It’s 35 degrees in the refrigerator. Why don’t you open it and put the bare part of your arm inside, and tell me what you think.”
“Okay.” She thumped down from my lap, opened the fridge while standing on her tiptoes, and thrust her arm inside, shoving it between the lettuce and the cake pan. “Hey, that’s COLD!”
“Exactly. Now, do you think you would be happy wearing that dress outside right now?”
“Uh, no! That’s way too cold!”
“Bright girl. Come back over here for a minute.” Wide-eyed, she climbed back up into my lap, rubbing her chilly arm to dispel the goosebumps she’d sprouted. I clicked on the “Today” tab, and asked her again what she saw.
“It says 65 and clear.”
“Right. Do you know what that means?”
“Well, 65 is more than 35. It’s going to get hotter, so I can wear my dress later and not be cold.”
“Let’s see about that. Here, stand up for me. Let’s do an experiment.”
I pulled the chair over to the sink and turned on the tap, bumping the control arm of the faucet until the water temperature was about 65 degrees. “Come on up, Bugaboo. Put your hand in the water and tell me what you think.”
“That’s not very warm.”
“Right. That water is about 65 degrees. If that was the temperature of the air on your arms and legs, would you be comfortable?”
“Probably not. I’d probably complain. I’d probably complain a lot.”
“Right. 65 degrees is as warm as it’s supposed to get today. Because it’s November, it won’t be that warm for very long, either. Most of the day will be cooler than that.”
I ticked the control arm to warm the flow of water slightly. “Now try it. This is about 80 degrees.”
“That feels good!”
“Right. If it was going to be that warm, it would be a good day to wear that dress.” I nudged again, so the water temperature was about 100 degrees. “Now what do you think?”
“That’s kind of hot.”
“Right. That’s about 100 degrees.”
“I like popsicles when it’s that hot.”
“So do I. That’s because the popsicle’s temperature is only 32 degrees, and eating it makes us feel cooler.”
“Oh. So I should probably find some long pants and a long-sleeved shirt.”
“If I touch the window, will it tell me how hot or cold it is outside?”
“Yep. That might be a good thing to do when you’re trying to decide what to wear in the morning, too.”
“Okay.” With that, she bounded off of my lap and over to the kitchen window. She giggled when she touched the cold glass, then puffed a breath onto it to make a little patch of fog. As she touched the condensation with a finger, her eyes widened.”
“Mommy, the glass is a little warmer where I breathed on it! I was going to make a picture, but I just noticed breathing on the window makes it warmer.”
“Good observation, Bugaboo. Why do you think that is?”
“I guess because my breaths are hotter than the glass?”
“Right you are. And when you warm the glass suddenly, like you just did with your breath, that causes the water vapor in the air to condense on the glass. You’re basically making a small cloud on the window when you do that.”
“THAT’S SO COOL!”
“It really is, honey. That’s why, in the fall and winter, you and Beanie can stand by the windows making pictures on them like you do. Since the cold weather is back, maybe you could practice your spelling words like that, by making fog on the windows and writing your spelling words in it.”
“That would be awesome! Could we really do that?”
“Sure, why not? The point is to learn the words and work on making them neatly enough that people can understand what you’ve written. If we can have a little extra fun with that, so much the better. You could even do spelling practice in the van that way.”
Just then, Beanie shuffled into the kitchen, swiping at her eyes with the sleeves of her nightgown and snarling at the day. She started when Bugaboo rushed at her, crowing, “Beanie I just learned the COOLEST thing and you have to come here right now and see this and Mommy can I have a paper towel to wipe of the window so we can do it again and no Beanie really you have to come here right now this is awesome and Mommy can Beanie have a paper towel too and do we have to go anywhere right now because Beanie and I want to make fog and write in it and Beanie come here let me show you if you breathe on the window you make your own fog and that’s what we do whenever we breathe on windows when they’re cold and . . .”
You get the general idea. Bugaboo wiped the window with a paper towel and gave it to Beanie so she could check the temperature, then breathed on it to warm it and gave it back to Beanie. They worked together, wiping the window, checking the temp difference between the towel and the window, breathing on the window and the towel, drawing faces and animals and writing their names. Beanie doesn’t often giggle until she’s been awake for at least an hour, but the two of them stood at the window together, laughing and nudging each other, each trying to capture a little extra pane space for herself.
Today’s prayer: Thank You for Your blessings, Lord, and for the wonders of Your creation that await their eager exploration. Kindle in their hearts and mine a sense of awe at all the simple miracles of each day, and lead us to see Your breath in the fog on a pane of glass. Use our sense of wonder and our desire to appreciate Your creation as a beacon to draw souls to You, and guide us to point out and rejoice in all that is beautiful by Your hand. Through our sharing of the beauty You have made, let us proclaim Your truths.