Court and Cole stopped by yesterday afternoon. Well, “stopped by” isn’t exactly accurate. Court learned that we had been without hot water for two full days, and took pity on us. I’d like to think that it wasn’t just that we were going out for a birthday dinner yesterday evening and he didn’t want to sit next to two people who hadn’t showered in two days. So he came over to light the pilot light that I suspected had gone out for some reason connected to the big power outage experienced in our neighborhood Thursday morning. I don’t know if those two things can actually be related, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

While Court was downstairs working on the water heater, Cole was upstairs with me, playing a game on his iPad. Without looking up, he asked, “Nana, can you name the elements?”

Lordy, Boy. I can tell you the proper time to use there, they’re, and their. As for the names of the elements, nosireebob. Third grade was a long time ago.

I tried. I started saying, “Iron? Oxygen? Sodium? Hydrogen?

He lifted his eyes from his iPad with that look on his face. You know, that look that says, “I can’t believe you and your ilk run this world. No wonder we’re in such a mess.”

“Nana, that’s the periodical table,” he sighed. “I’m talking about the elements.”

While he’s scolding me for my ignorance, I’m busily googling the word elements, all the while speculating that I was pretty sure I had never heard of the periodic table until 10th grade chemistry.

“Water, air, fire, and earth!” I shouted happily.

“You forgot aether,” he said, sadly.

I thought he was perhaps making that last one up, but I googled it and learned that aether is everything beyond earth, and was later added as an element. We didn’t know about outer space when I was in third grade. We were too busy worrying about the dinosaurs.

“Dad knows what the elements are,” Cole said.

“Your dad is way smarter than me,” I responded.

That got his attention.

“Were you ever smarter than he was?” he asked.

“Yep,” I said. “When he 2 years old, I was definitely smarter than he was.”

By that time, Court had come upstairs.

“Daddy, can you name the elements?” Cole asked.

Of course, smart-aleck daddy named the correct elements. I apparently raised a show-off.

“You forgot one,” Cole added. “You forgot love.”

Now, I must tell you that no matter what Cole says, I don’t believe that love is one of the elements. I say that quite confidently, even though at this point I’m still not sure what an element is.

Having said that, I enjoy the way the child’s mind works, and if I ruled the world, I would say that love is the most important element of all.

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