Category Archives: Science

The Big Cat Theory

There are many times when my son Dylan (now close to four months old) is cranky and will not be consoled by rocking, bouncing, or holding while I am sitting down with him (actually it happens with any adult, not just me).  He fusses and fusses unless I walk around the house with him.  If he does calm down while I’m standing and holding him, he starts to fuss soon after I sit down.  As you can imagine, this is rather tiring and frustrating.

The thing is, I remember Jonah showing similar behavior at a young age.  Jonah wasn’t as fussy as Dylan, but the trait of increased fussiness when I would sit down while holding him was there.

So I have this theory.  OK, it’s a bit far-fetched and rather silly, but it helps me not get as fed up with the little guy.  I call it the Big Cat Theory.

Some reflexes in infants are remnants from earlier in human evolution.  The grasp reflex may be left over from our primate ancestors–infants then needed to grab on tight to their mothers (or mothers’ fur).  I propose that the “fussing when the person holding him sits down” behavior Dylan shows is an evolutionary remnant as well.

Millions of years ago, our primate ancestors roamed the plains of Africa and were sometimes preyed upon by big cats (lions, leopards, etc.).  Stopping to rest for a few minutes had the potential to be deadly, as you never knew where a big cat could be waiting to pounce.  Obviously, infants who were docile and let their parents sit down with them fell prey (along with their parents) to the big cats.  Infants who fussed and kept their parents moving survived.  So Dylan’s fussing to keep me walking behavior is left over from avoiding being eaten by big cats millions of years ago.

That’s the Big Cat Theory.  I keep telling Dylan that there are no big cats in our house, but I don’t think he believes me.  Santina doesn’t think my theory holds water.  But even if it doesn’t, it still keeps my spirits up when Dylan is keeping me from sitting down.



Filed under Dylan, Science, Wayne

Jonah the chemist?

When my mother-in-law was visiting a few weeks ago I was called upon to explain the difference between saturated fats, unsaturated fats, and trans fats.  Being a chemistry professor, I borrowed Jonah’s easel, which has a dry erase board.  I proceeded to explain to my mother-in-law the differences in chemical structure between the various fats.  Of course I drew structures that looked something like this:

fatty acid

And I explained what the various letters and lines represented.

Later that day, Santina showed me a picture she had taken of Jonah drawing at his easel:



My son, the junior chemist!

Leave a comment

Filed under Jonah, Science