Wednesday, April 11, 2012

J is for ... Jupiter

The last few weeks have been an astronomer’s dream.  Mars was hovering in the eastern night sky, while Jupiter and Venus danced around in the west.  My husband John and I have watched it with awe.

With that prelude, J is for…Jupiter.  Rather than create a new post, I am re-posting one titled “Sunshine and the Solar System”.  My granddaughter was four years old when she and I discussed Jupiter; her insights trump mine anytime. 

Today I learned about the Solar System from my 4.8 yr. old granddaughter, “Sunshine”.  She started out the lecture over lunch, by leaning over and whispering as if this info was high-level security.

I am still important, in my own little way.
Where did THAT come from?
“Pluto isn’t a planet anymore, Grandma,” she told me with very serious eyes.  It is hard to take anyone seriously when there is peanut butter and strawberry jam on either side of her  mouth, and a milk mustache.  I did a quick swipe with a damp towel.

“Yes, Sunshine, I know,” I admitted to her with regret.  “All these years, Pluto has been the farthest planet and now it is just a cold big rock.  What can I say?” 

Sunshine patted my arm in solace.  “It’s okay, Grandma.  It’s okay.”  She took another messy bite.  Sunshine is a full-body contact eater. 

“Oh!  Oh!  Grandma!  We wouldn’t want to go to Venus.  You know why?  ‘Cause we would burn up, just like that!”  She tried to snap her fingers, never an easy task, but impossible with p.b.j. gluing the fingers together.  I swiped again.   “But my favorite planet—you know what it is?”  Then she looked around the room and leaned in to say, “S-a-t-u-r-n!”
It's my favorite!

I don’t know who would be listening to our lunchtime conversation, but apparently all this information being departed was worthy of covert-operations security.

We can take a big huge giant knife...
I whispered back that my favorite was “J-u-p-i-t-e-r!”  Then I told her about how huge Jupiter is.  She nodded so knowingly.  “Is it the one with the big red spot?”

Yes, Sunshine it sure is.  Then I told her that Jupiter was sooo big that we could put 100’s and 100’s of Earths inside it.

“I know what, Grandma!  You and Grandpa can rent a space ship and we can go up in space.”  She paused for a swig of milk. Swipe, swipe.

“Then we can get a really giant rope, and we’d wrap it around the earth.  And we’d tie the rope to the end of the space ship.”  Sunshine took a p.b.j. bite, followed by an apple slice, and tossed it down with milk.  Swipe, swipe, and wipe up the milk off her shirt.

“Then, we could pull the Earth all the way to Jupiter.  Once we got there, we could take a big huge giant knife.  We could cut out the red spot, and pull the Earth inside Jupiter.  And we could see how many more planets we needed to get to fill Jupiter up.”
All we need is a giant rope and a space ship.

I tried to tell her as gently as I could that Jupiter was so far away that we would not live long enough to go there.  Then I waited for some tears or disappointment.

 Instead, Sunshine just shrugged her shoulders.  “Well, then.  We will just go up into space and fly around for a while.”  She finished up her food, and went to wash up.

Sunshine is undeniably brilliant, and now I realize she is pragmatic.  Perhaps she will have a career in NASA?


  1. What a wonderful post, just loved it.

  2. Great Post! Grandkids are the best.

  3. Oh this really made me smile. I'm a bit of a space geek myself, and it's wonderful to hear it all from a child's point of view.

  4. You have the best grandkids ever. I LOVE whenever you write about them.

    Oh and thank you for the wonderful comment on my blog ;)

  5. Absolutely priceless!

    What a gem you have there!

    Thanks for sharing :)

    LOVED your haiku by the way :D

  6. I vote for her to work for NASA. :)

  7. LOVE this!

    And isn't it always funny that adults are the ones who are the saddest that Pluto isn't a planet anymore? Kids handle that info so much better than we do!

  8. The planets are fascinating!
    I think its' great that your grandaughter has such an interest in, and is so knowledgeable regarding the planets- perhaps she will grow up to have a career at NASA!

    Children are a joy! May her future be a great one!


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