When The Eight-Year-Old asked me why my hair was turning grey this last week, I was so tempted to simply answer with a quick and trite: “Parenthood.”
After all, as this photo clearly shows, my first grey hair popped out shortly after The Eight-Year-Old was born.
But even this English major knows that correlation does not equal causation, so I skipped the made-a-million-times-but-new-to-The-Eight-Year-Old jokes and went straight to Asking the iPhone.
The lovely flowing stuff you see on The (then) One-Year-Old’s head is called the hair shaft. The part of the hair you can’t see, the bit that anchors the hair to the head, is called the root. The roots of our hair are surrounded by something called the hair follicle.
The follicle is where the magic happens with respect to hair color. Follicles contain pigment cells. Those pigment cells produce stuff called melanin that determines whether our hair is blond like The Eight-Year-Old’s, deep chestnut brown like Younger Mommyo, or a growing-more-dignified-by-the-day blend of brown and gray like Present Day Mommyo.
If melanin sounds familiar, it should. It’s the same stuff that determines our skin color and whether you tan or burn when in the sun. Our bodies are efficient that way.
Anyway, as we age, the pigment cells in our hair follicles gradually die off, taking the melanin and our original hair color with them. Without the melanin to plump up the color, our hair slowly turns grey, silver, white, or in my case, an outrageously gorgeous shade of platinum.*
*Most people dye the grey away, I prefer to pretend my hair is worth its weight in bling. It’s called coping, people, and it’s easier to fit into my schedule than a visit to the hairdresser.
- Why Does Hair Turn Gray? (KidsHealth)
Our mostly-weekly survey of the tidbits that cross The Eight-Year-Old’s desk. This week, The Eight-Year-Old does math with cats and discovers a new-to-her-book buried under her Elvis wig.
What? You *didn’t* put this basket full of kitchen towels here just for me?
But it’s so comfy. Weird.
In other news, I cleaned out my pantry last week.
Here at Caterpickles Central, we believe that everyone in the family works together to keep our household functioning without expecting any particular compensation beyond having clean silverware to eat with, the ability to walk through the house without tripping, and clean clothes to wear.
So when we decided four years ago that The (then) Four-Year-Old was old enough to receive an allowance, we didn’t ask her to do any chores around the house to earn it. Instead, we decided to use the allowance simply to teach her how to manage money.
How we structured the allowance
The allowance itself is structured very simply. The (now) Eight-Year-Old receives a dollar for each year of her age, of which she is expected to set aside at least one dollar to save and at least one more dollar to donate to the charity of her choice. She can either save or spend the rest as she sees fit.
She earns her allowance simply by surviving the week, and gets raises for surviving enough weeks to host another birthday party.
The consequences of giving The Eight-Year-Old her own money
Naturally, The Eight-Year-Old loves having her own money to spend on whatever she likes. In some ways, giving The Eight-Year-Old her own money has been a boon to the parent-child relationship.
Now that The Eight-Year-Old has an allowance, everyone understands that Daddyo and I will only buy her toys on her birthday and Christmas. Which means that when we wander into a store and The Eight-Year-Old starts the inevitable lobbying for That Really Fun Thing Over There, I no longer need to try to talk her down. Instead all I have to do is ask “How much does it cost?”, “How many week’s allowance would it would take to buy it?”, and “Have you saved enough?” Continue reading
The Eight-Year-Old, slumping out of her room this morning: “Mommyo, I think earth’s gravity is stronger today.”
Our mostly-weekly survey of the tidbits that cross The Eight-Year-Old’s desk. This week, The Eight-Year-Old falls under the spell of two exceptional story-tellers and shakes a literary fist at the beetles destroying her favorite trees.
The Eight-Year-Old wandered into the kitchen the other day while I was prepping a blueberry and spinach smoothie. While watching me stuff the blender with spinach and almond milk, she asked, “Mommyo, if you ate only spinach, how much spinach would you have to eat to maintain your weight?”
She was not satisfied with my off-the-cuff response of “an impossible amount.”
She really wanted to know.
So we ignored the issues of how on earth I’d keep from overdosing on Vitamin A if I subsisted only on spinach and treated it like one of her third grade math problems.
Question: If one cup of uncooked baby spinach contains 7 calories, and if The Eight-Year-Old’s Mommyo needs to eat 2,100 calories a day to maintain her weight*, how many cups of spinach would Mommyo need to eat every day, if she ate only spinach?
2100 calories/day divided by 7 calories/cup of spinach =
300 cups of spinach each day
Well, blow me down. That’s a lot of spinach.
According to the Taste of Home website, one pound of spinach yields 10-12 cups of torn leaves. Eating 300 cups of spinach would require me to tear up and devour roughly 30 pounds of spinach every day.
And that’s just me.*
Can you imagine how much an 80,000 pound Apatosaurus would have had to eat? According to some estimates, Apatosaurus and other giant sauropods required 100,000 calories per day. That meant eating up to 1,000 pounds of vegetation every day.
Let’s all pause for a moment and be grateful that we aren’t 80,000 pound Apatosaurs.
- Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 (health.gov)
- I can’t believe I just said that (Caterpickles)
- Reason #463 to stop eating fast food (Caterpickles)
- Green Smoothie 101: How to Make a Green Smoothie (Simple Green Smoothies)
*Note: My 2,100 calories a day number comes from the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010. On page 13, the report states that adult men require 2,000-3,000 calories per day and adult women need between 1,600-2,400 calories per day, depending on their age and activity level. I picked 2,100 calories/day for our math problem because 2,100 calories falls on both scales and I wanted a round number that would make the math easier. That’s it. It’s not intended as actual dietary advice for either me or you. In fact, I strongly advise you, dear Reader, not to consult us here at Caterpickles Central for any nutritional advice at all.