In the blink of an eye, the boy turns nine

In the blink of an eye, the boy turns nine

Nine years ago today my second child was born. It was a stormy night as I walked the corridors of the hospital, in the early stages of what was to be a quick labour, with the doors flinging open from the force of the wind outside. Then all went calm as labour kicked in and a short while later I was holding my son in my arms.

And still he brings calm into our lives when the wild winds blow.

He was due a week earlier, but, as he now likes to tell people, he got a bit too comfortable and stayed in a while longer.

Early to move, early to talk, he seemed keen to catch up to his sister. He learned how to walk at an early age, but realising he could move more quickly from a crawl, he preferred to move on all fours. Until he mastered the art of running that is, and then he didn’t stop.

We bought him his first proper shoes on his first birthday. He must have liked them for he ran the entire length of the town with both his parents struggling to keep up. This small little blonde head bobbing up and down, parting the sea of people on the street, each one turning with bewilderment and then amusement at the happy little runner.

To his big sister he quickly became devoted companion and defender. At the tender age of two I remember he stormed across a playground to confront an eleven year old boy he thought (incorrectly) had spoken to her out of turn. He followed her blindly and was the willing side kick to some of her hair brained adventures, that may or may not have included a spot of creative face painting with pink emulsion paint and a black indelible marker. Not only did the poor boy sit quietly for the “body art” he then sat quietly while his irate mother plopped him in a bath and scrubbed his little face until it was more pink that the paint she was removing.

From an early age he had a strong sense of justice, of right and wrong. Before he was even two we would sometimes find him sitting on the “time out stool”, quietly waiting. When we asked why he was there he would openly admit to some small crime he had committed, and acting as self appointed judge and jury, he would dish out his own punishment.


When he was three the family unit as he knew it changed quite dramatically. He had always asked for a baby and finally he got one. When the moment arrived for him to meet his baby brother I had it all prepared. No longer a rookie, I knew just what to do; I had baby placed in the crib and moved a little away from mammy so that when he and his sister came into the room I was completely available for a cuddle. Things never go as expected though… the door was opened and a very assertive little boy walked in, scanning the room in earnest. When I opened my arms and beckoned he stood firm with the simple reply of “where is the baby?”. In shock I responded with a waving gesture towards the crib. He walked over, looked in, and then wrapped his little arms around the swaddled bundle ready to lift him, until we intervened. It was instant love and he wanted to take his little brother home.

Five years later and the love and the bond are as strong as ever. His brother cannot shed a single tear before he is by his side, comforting, protecting, defending. He has never once complained about the broken lego or the shared bedroom.

Growing up fast
Growing up fast

He always amazed me with the facts he comes out with, at this stage I have stopped looking them up to see if they are right, as they always are. He seems to remember every scene of every film he ever saw, and can usually quote a lot of it back, word for word. He is a lover of lego but is always in a hurry to build whatever is in the box, so he can take it apart and create his own version.

He has a wonderful sense of humour and an impeccable comic timing. He has a great memory for jokes. It is no surprise that his favourite animal is a monkey as he obviously feels a kindred spirit for their mischievous ways.

He is part calm, part exuberance, a wise old soul and a free young spirit. He is full of charm in his own quiet way. Nine years and sometimes it is he who creates the storm, but one quick flash of that smile and all is calm again.

Happy birthday my little man!


A busy week and forgotten birthdays

A busy week and forgotten birthdays

Last week was a busy week here in the Science Wows household, as I am sure it was in many homes across Ireland. We had the back to school for the older two children and the “starting school” for our youngest. It went really well for him, he practically ran in the door without a backwards glance, but let’s just say his parents needed a lot of extra TLC!

In fact it was such a busy week that other little milestones were completely forgotten. One was Science Wow’s 3rd Birthday! I can’t believe it has been three years already. I have learned so much in those three years and still have much to learn! Each year as I renew my work Insurance and order another set of children’s lab coats I like to reflect on how the year has gone and plan what I would like to achieve for the year ahead.

Dr. How's Science Wows is three years old
Dr. How’s Science Wows is three years old


I love how the last year has gone for Science Wows. Some highlights for me have included...

…being asked back to do birthday parties for the same families (it is a lovely affirmation for me as well as the pleasure to get to know the family a little more and the fun of preparing new experiments to excite and entertain the children)

…working with Cell Explorers on a new project called “Little Cells” , bringing cell biology into classrooms for children as young as four

… working with The Galway Science and Technology Festival which saw Science Wows bring “The Science of Sound workshop” into 16 different primary schools during the two week festival

… joining in the Galway Food Festival with an interactive workshop with lots of food related experiments; the workshop was scheduled for 10 am on Good Friday (Easter) so we were unsure if anyone would turn up. I was delighted when families after family arrived to join in the fun

…. bringing science to children in Summer Camps this Summer; I particularly enjoyed a recent trip to Birr to join the children of SPEAK Ireland; their enthusiasm was infectious, their knowledge impressive, their energy inspiring (I would have happily stayed all day)


I have many aspirations and ideas for the next year for Science Wows… and I am always open to new ideas and suggestions!


It would seem that this three year anniversary was not the only milestone I over looked this week; I just realised that I posted my 200th blog post last Monday. A small milestone but a significant one non the less. The blog is not three years old yet but it  is certainly a project that I hold dear. It has provided me with a platform to develop, explore and express my love of science communication in the written and visual form. The blog too has some highlights for me, this year in particular, so, while I am in a reflective and sentimental mood, I thought I would share a few.

Some of my blog highlight for this year are…

…in February I finally took the plunge and merged my blog and website to a brand new site on word press. It was an exciting and creative project but certainly came with lots of glitches and problems. Some of which I am still ironing out. It has taken me a while to get used to this but finally I can say that I am glad I made the move and love how much I have learned and all I still have to learn.

… I have stopped some regular slots on the blog (Such as the weekly Mystery Creature post) and started some new ones. I have to say, one that I particularly love is the Simple Slice of Science series. I have had great fun creating the graphic side of Dr. Simple and really love the questions from the young and the “not so young” that have come pouring in. The response to the series has been uplifting and I plan to keep writing and developing the series for a long time to come.

… one of the reasons I set up the blog was to create a portfolio of writing and communication and I was delighted that this extended to features on other platforms such as The Journal and even an interview on the radio discussing an article I wrote on “Our earliest memories”

… another highlight of the blog in recent months is finding out that I was nominated in three categories in the Blog Awards Ireland 2014 (Science and Technology, SME and Education) and that I was short listed in all three categories after the first round of judging. Fingers crossed for the next round


All in all I think it has been a great year for Dr. How and my brain is churning in overdrive at the moment planning lots of new projects, ideas, experiments and milestones for the next year ahead.

 Thank you all for your support in so many ways, from reading these blog posts, to sharing your comments, ideas and feedback and of course, for inviting Dr. How to feature at your party, school or event.


For those of you who only know me through the blog, I leave you with a little insight into what else Dr. How’s Science Wows is all about!

Dr. How's Science Wows
Dr. How’s Science Wows