Pre-K Naval History

I’ve been talking to Jack all afternoon.  We chatted while I prepared dinner.  We chatted while I put Legos together.  We chatted while he put Legos together.  We chatted while I finally cleaned up the toys.  And now Max and Ruby are going to entertain him because I feel like I’ve been taking a test for the past 3 hours.

Before we left for Annapolis last weekend, we visited Fort Monroe with my parents.  Pat had been there for a command function and thought we would like it.  It turned out to be a great afternoon visit.  There was a beach, gorgeous views, a lighthouse, ramparts to climb, guns to look at, a moat and a museum.  At one point, we crossed the moat to visit the museum inside and Jack wanted to know where the castle was.  He was a little upset when I told him there wasn’t a castle.  “But there’s a moat Mommy, so there has to be a castle inside it.”

When we told Jack there was a museum, he was oddly excited.  The last museum we went to was probably a children’s museum so maybe he thought it would be like that.  There were no toys here, but he really liked wandering through everything and asking a lot of questions about things.  It was hard for him to understand why some things looked so different.  I think he gets that “hundreds of years ago” is a long time ago, but the concept that things were very different then is kind of hard for him to grasp.

On Tuesday we went on a boat cruise of Norfolk and had another great day.  We got Jack some real binoculars (as opposed to his toys ones that don’t really magnify) and he loved looking through them.  He didn’t like sharing them with Casey, but he survived that tragic unfairness with only a few outbursts.  At one point we went downstairs for a little air conditioning and little change in view.  There was a picture of the battle between the Monitor and the Merrimack and oh the questions it spurned…

What are those ships doing?  Why are they shooting at each other?  Why are they other ships there?  Why are they wooden?  Where were they?  Where are they now?  Why were they fighting?  What is a cannon ball?  How does it work?  What is a war?

I answered them all as best as I could.  But today we had round 2 of warship questions.  There was a brochure for the Naval Museum sitting around with more pictures of old ships and battles.  One picture was of the USS Merrimack during conversion to ironclad CSS Virginia.

Why were they putting iron on there?  What does the iron do?  How does it get sunk if it’s iron?  How do the cannon balls go through it?  Does iron keep the ship from sinking?  Why aren’t there cannon balls today?  What do they use instead?  How do the missiles work?  Are they really heavy?  Why were they fighting?  Just because they didn’t agree with each other?  Why?  Why?  Why?

And so it was a long afternoon of trying to explain naval battles to a 4 year old.  We talked about ships that are sunk and finding treasures and artifacts on them too.  (I did not however, use the word artifact…another 10 questions would result.)  Then he asked, “Don’t they have any ship soap?”  This “ship soap” is quite a product.  It is something that you can put under the ships and it brings them back up to the surface.  Poor Jacques Cousteau is rolling over in his grave because he had no idea about this ship soap.  I wonder if you can use it preemptively.  The implications are awesome to behold…the Titanic pops to mind first.

The finale of this conversation is that when Jack grows up he is going to build a new battleship that is a friendly battleship and doesn’t hurt anybody.  

I jest a little, but it is so amazing what his mind can do and the imagination that he has.  It certainly keeps me on my toes.

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