Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Five Year Old's Perspective on Virology

When Niecey came to visit me back in August she of course spent time in every room in my apartment, this of course included the home office/plant room (and thankfully the bathroom, she was a late potty user and almost didn't get to come because I said she had to be potty using in accordance to the state law to be allowed to visit). In said home office/plant room there is a wall that has dark wood paneling. This nasty paneling is actually featured through much of the apartment. I have seen worse but either way I am not a fan of it. To make it more livable for me I decided to cover/decorate it with my GIANTmicrobes collection and some family pictures. Now I actually like the wall, and so did Niecey. There was one microbe in particular that caught her eye, it is the plush for E. coli.


Every year there is this huge student-run/organized (somewhat mostly, the university seems to have a huge hand in it) campus-wide celebration that lasts a week but the main bash is on the weekend. This occurs in April, usually the weather is starting to get better and the frozen tundra begins to thaw so the fact that the buses are totally rerouted that weekend isn't quite as upsetting to me (I am usually stupid enough to try to work that weekend). Every year I try and make a point to visit the undergrad micro club's display and will often buy a shirt from them (they also sell giantmicrobes and sometimes other stuff). Last year they had made little replicas of bacteriophage (aka phage) out of a styrofoam ball, a wood peg and pipe cleaner and were giving them to whomever bought something from them. I was going to buy something anyway but really really wanted the phage. Phage are viruses that infect bacteria. Well I decided to put this little phage on the E. coli plush and thus my tangent now connects with the original logic train.Niecey can be a very curious child, as are most children her age, and so she wanted to know what that thing was doing on that microbe. I gave her a watered down version of phage:bacteria interactions and how viruses work. I am not 100% how well she understands virology at this point, but she does have some conception of it and this is her rather good interpretation of how it works:


This picture is one of my absolute favorites and I will keep it forever! I plan to eventually frame it, she was so happy that I put it on my fridge that I have left it there for now. I love how easy it is to make a child's face light up and their little chest swell up with pride! That is why I always try to pay attention when there are little kids around instead of ignoring them. A kind word from an adult can totally make their day and not much else makes my day better than making someone else's, adult or child but children are usually easier, lol.

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Picture 1: Picture Niecey took when she found my camera, this features some of the microbes wall and some of the plants.
Picture 2: Another Niecey pic, this one features the E. coli plush (football shaped with string coming down) and the phage (round thing on top of plush).
Picture 3: Niecey's depiction of a bent rod shaped bacterium being attacked by two phage, the one on the left appears to be injecting its genetic material into the cell while the one on the right appears to be in the attachment phase.

8 comments:

Weaselmomma said...

Oh man, after that artistry you are going to be disappointed at the mail.

The Microblogologist said...

Convincing someone that has never met me to have her kids draw pictures of a mythological creature I made up when I was about to go insane and drown myself in the 200 proof ethanol... I highly doubt I will be disappointed! (and totally kidding about the ethanol line, I owe the gov't my first born if I violate the tax exempt agreement by drinking that crap, I think they also own part of my soul)

Weaselmomma said...

can you say Barackalacka ding dong on Nov 4th? Then the government may well own part of your soul. LOL
Not to get political, but that was just too easy and funny.

nonna said...

from the looks of her drawing i think u r a great teacher as well as a great aunt! i will have to video me and james doing something now. hmmm the wheels r spinning...

The Microblogologist said...

Barb: If that were what were printed on the ballot I would laugh my butt off! I got the pictures and they are adorable =)!!!!!

Nonna: I would say the drawing ability itself is somewhat due to her art major auntie's influence and the subject matter is all me. She also had a wall full of giantmicrobes for inspiration, lol. And it would be very cool if you made a vlog of you and James, I love cute kid vids! Wish I had better access to Niecey otherwise I would have her featured in mine, how funny would it have been to have had her in the soy protein drink vid?! Ooooh I am so buying a bottle before I go home for Thanksgiving...

Deb said...

She's a genius. Whether that genius will ultimately manifest itself in art or science (or both?) remains to be seen, but we're definitely going to need more Niecey stories. That was very cute! And I do love to see their faces when you display their artwork.

The Microblogologist said...

Niecey definitely is a smart one and has a lot of different role models, it will be interesting to see where she ends up! She does happen to be the fodder for two blogs, her other auntie has a blog too, how many 5 year olds can say that?!

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