Look it Up: Lessons from the Pirate Nook

The phrase “Look it up” isn’t unique, but it’s one I’ve chosen to use for these Lessons from the Nook in honor of my Grandpa, who taught his kids to both ask questions and to find out the answers for themselves. If one of them had a question during dinner, he would smile at them and say “look it up!” and there was a dictionary right in arms reach so that they could. After my last Lessons post, I had an aunt reach out to me and tell me that he called all of their musings Smithings, a term which I’ve taken very much to heart.

So, without further ado, here are the Smithings from our latest adventure.

(We’ll start off with the easiest one)

Is 100,000 miles equal to an acre?

No. 1 square mile = 640 Acres. (Cue discussion on the difference between measuring distance versus measuring area).

Which moves slower, a snail or a slug?

We saw lots of slugs on our walks through the property we were staying at. We don’t have them around our home so it was a new experience for the kids. The only other exposure they’ve had to such animals are the empty freshwater snail shells we find in the lake at our cabin and the Ryan Reynolds movie Turbo.

A quick internet search will tell you that the Common Snail can hit 1 mm per second which is faster than most slugs. But a deeper search led to me discovering the following gem of a video in which a scientist talks about the time he clocked a slug going 8 inches in 90 seconds (or 2.2 mm per second) and about the time a snail travelled at 28,000km per hour.

Watch it here.

Where do burglars live?

Immediate answer: In jail

Follow up: Where do they sleep?

Immediate answer: In jail. (And I left it at that because I didn’t need my anxious kids worrying about burglars while staying in a pirate ship in the middle of the woods in the middle of nowhere.)

Tangent Fact: Upon writing this post, I learned I didn’t actually know how to spell the word burglar.

What’s your favorite kind of sparking spot, again?

What’s your favorite kind of parking spot, again?

My nine year old likes to ask me random questions and then giggle when I make a confused face. But this question actually came up organically one day when I was talking about how much I disliked trying to parallel park. The conversation went from being about how “Mom doesn’t like parking the mama-van on the road” to “Mom, what’s your favorite kind of parking spot?”

I actually had an answer for this one: I love it when I can pull through into a spot so the car is already facing forward when it’s time to leave.

So, when we got to the parking lot at the Original Wisconsin Ducks Benji very excitedly exclaimed, “Mom! They have your favorite kind of parking spot!” which made my four year old ask the above question.

What if, when I’m older, I’m riding my motorcycle and Aunt Snookie and Alder are chasing me in her car and this song is on? Wouldn’t that be cool?

(Alder is her puppy, “this song” is the Wellerman Sea Shanty, and you’ll just have to wonder why my kids call her Aunt Snookie)

There wasn’t really an answer for this four-year-old question. But this moment was just so sweet and heartfelt. And it warmed my own heart to know that his mind was dreaming up fantastic, movie-like situations just like mine used to. I love that my kids are curious about life and want to know real answers and truth about things, but it’s also so important to me that they also have space in their heads to dream, to wonder, to imagine, and to create.

And spending a weekend in a pirate ship did just that.


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