5yo can’t remember 1 min ago, recites 2mo old presentation

Black Hole SunI’m driving my 5yo to summer day camp today, this is a child who you ask what she did at school all day responds with “nothing,” or “I don’t know” and she starts asking about the sun collapsing into a super-concentrated black hole.

I ask her where she got this as it’s really not something I was expecting her current camp would cover, and it was back two months ago at science camp.

This child can’t remember the name of a person in front of her who just said “Hi, my name is Bob”.

She then starts telling me about the various stages of a solar breakdown and asks me what happens if the Earth hits the event horizon in three or so billion years. I was like, uh, child, you can’t even get through a Bob book remembering the site word “cat” that you said one page ago, how are you getting this?

She told me she’d seen a show on the ceiling at Science Camp – I ask her a bit about it just to verify, it’s at the planetarium, which she never told me she’d been to and then proceeds to rattle off fact after fact about the solar system and eventual collapse of the sun in 3-5 billion years.

She asks if we’ll be here or have moved to Oregon at this point. I tell her the planet will have moved off by then, or at least all the people on the planet. Fact after fact about black holes pop out of this kid, but she doesn’t understand three billion years is slightly more than five years.

At her camp today we park about a tenth of a mile away from the signin sheet. I point to a one and a half inch wide line and say imagine that is the past 10,000 years, or what we consider the era of everything human ever. She understands that. As we walk I rattle off where we are in an estimate of humanity.

By 20 or so steps in I’m saying stuff like “now you’d have been 60,000^ times a grandmother” and I’m starting to lose her and I point in a direction and say we’d need to walk about a week that way. This drops the tension she had and she asks if that’s more than one hundred, and I say a lot more than one hundred.

And I think things were good. I’m pretty sure I got the math way off, which is ok for the moment but seriously. Going to need some prep time in the future to explain while driving that her and everyone she knows will be long long gone in 5 billion year without saying it like that.

Paul King

Paul King lives in Nashville Tennessee with his wife, two daughters and cats. He writes for Pocketables, theITBaby, and is an IT consultant along with doing tech support for a film production company.