Seth, my five-year-old, has always been my analytical observer. Even as a tiny little baby, he would recline in his bouncy seat and watch the world around him, slight pucker between his eyebrows.

It hasn’t surprised me at all that he is growing into a boy who loves to make experiments, take things apart, put things together, and meddle with anything that crosses his field of vision.

I’m trying to rein in some of my motherly, out-of-touch grown-up impulses about messes and “shouldn’ts” with “Why Nots?” I practiced this again when he came in one Sunday morning, looking for some ice cubes, because he wanted to do an experiment in front of the (well-screened) gas fireplace. My first impulse was “We’re about to leave for church” and my second was “Oh boy, what a mess.”

Then I took a breath, said “Why not?” and offered a pot. When he wanted my phone to take a movie, I took another breath and said, “Why not?”

And then I got all “Mom’s messing with the science project” on his videos and put them on YouTube and put (too loud) music behind his narrative because MY 5 YEAR OLD IS AWESOME, INTERNET!