Taking a closer look

When I was young I had a little wooden box full of microscope slides. Each slide had a tiny yellowing handwritten label describing what was on the slide: a spider leg, a thin sliver of onion, that kind of thing. I used to spend hours with my eye glued to the microscope, looking in amazement at whatever slide is chosen. (Yes, I was a nerd. Still am.)

Imagine my excitement, then, when Isaac unwrapped a microscope from his grandparents on Christmas morning. In fact, I’ll describe it to you: you know that bit in Elf where the store supervisor dude says Santa is coming and Buddy starts yelling? It was like that, although I was yelling ‘microscope’ instead of ‘Santa’.

Hours of father-son bonding fun, I thought, as I shoved Isaac out of the way and started setting the microscope up. After looking at the preprepared slide of an insect wing I started frantically looking around for things to zoom in on.

In my haste I plucked a beard hair from my chin; turns out hair don’t look much different close up. I even reopened an old cut and bled onto a blank slide so I could show Isaac the wonders of biology. That’s right: I was enjoying this microscope so much I BLED for it.

In my excitement I failed to notice that Isaac wasn’t as enthusiastic as I was. He would look through the viewfinder, knocking the slide in the process, and I’d turn into a grumpy old man and shoulder him out of the way so I could rectify it. In the end, he left me gleefully zooming in on a tiny bit of dust to play songs on his iPod.

I think I may have ruined it for him. Does that mean the microscope is technically mine now? Perhaps I can use it to try and find my parenting skills…

One response to “Taking a closer look

  1. I too had my own microscope and box of slides. When I no longer had space for them, I donated them to one of my former science teachers. I readily took advantage of the better ones in the universities when I had free time(and my sister/brother/friend was in class). Fast forward to my being a parent to a free-spirited, smarter than is probably good for him son. He’s eight years old(soon to be nine), and when he got one from my father, I jumped for joy.
    He had asked for one(I think because he has an obsession with Sherlock Holmes…thank you very much Jeremy Brett and Benedict Cumberbatch), and I never get to use it unless I supply specimens. I once cut myself finding sharp items in the usual way, and he gleefully offered to clean it up, which I though sweet until he began taking samples on the slides.

    My son told me to say(after reading this over my shoulder), that he might gain an interest later(like when you are not looking), so don’t despair.

    Thanks for sharing, we love hearing your stories.

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