Sunday, March 3, 2013


Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for hosting this annual challenge.

It was a typical Saturday of driving my children within their tween and teendom spheres of existence.  My days usually consist of an orbit of drop-offs and pick-ups between activities and social engagements that are as regular as Earth's trip around the Sun.  With Sister in the front and the Boys in the back of the shuttle, I've become accustomed to hearing backseat conversations about life.  I'm not sure if they forget that I am the one operating the ship or if they don't think I can hear all the way up at the helm, but I always enjoy listening to the musings of their adolescent minds.

Yesterday as I zoomed past the driveway of my youngest's friend- something I do Every Time I Go There- I heard,
"Mom did it again." (Son One)
"She does this every time.  She needs some more Smarticles." (Son Two)
"Mom has Smarticles.  She has a Master's degree, you know."  (Son One)
"That's true.  Maybe she needs some Common Sensicles."  (Son Two)
"Heh!  Sensicles."  (Son One)

This is not the first time that I have been the object of their discussion.  I quietly chuckle at their third person references and take their observations in stride.  I know that they are at the stage of development where they are exploring their sense of self and individuality.  I also know that a side effect of this stage is that as their sense of self evolves, their perception of Mom as All-Knowing and Wise Leader implodes like an aging star.  And I'm ok with that.

So instead of taking offense, I ask, "Smarticles?  What are Smarticles?"  The idea of Smarticles shines brightly before me, a great unknown element that I want to explore.  "Are they alive or are they like atoms swirling around, so tiny you can't see them?  Can you grow them or do they just exist in a finite amount?  Can you lose them and gain them, or give them to others on purpose?"

"Uh..." (Son One)

"I don't know, Mom.  They're just like... Smart Particles.  It's just something we say," explains Son Two, obviously overcome by my Mom-ish query.  "Ok then, I gotta go.  Pick me up at 4?"

The whole ride back home, my mind was a swirling universe of possibility.  Smarticles!  I had to consult the reliable for the answer (as I often do in cases like this), and there it was- Smarticles!  The best definition (in my opinion) is this:

Smarticles8 up3 down
noun. the weightless, invisible particulates that orbit the heads of intelligent beings. They roam freely in confined spaces where learning occurs. [...]
YES!  They ARE real!  Before my brilliant shining Boys enlightened me, I had not even considered that they existed in our world.  Now I can't stop thinking about the times I have felt their presence, and I am sure that they have been orbiting around all of us since the beginning of time.  I have decided that they defy the boundaries of matter and biology as both Energy and Sentient Being.  If I had a Smarticle-Ray I could see their neon green glow, passing through space, humming and moving and multiplying as they bounce around the places where we learn.  I know that I have felt them at school during those "A-ha!" moments.  When students are collaborating and engaged, the intensity of their turbulence can move your soul.  I have felt them fizz and whirl and bubble over, yet until now, they had no name.  Smarticles.  That's right, Science.   I've just discovered a whole new Life Form.  My universe has expanded.

Savant, Genius I. "Urban Dictionary: Smarticles." Urban Dictionary. Urban Dictionary LLC, 8 Dec. 2010. Web. 03 Mar. 2013.


  1. I just love how the snarky comments of teens and tweens inspired your learning of "smarticle"-I now have a new buzzword to share with my friends! Love it!

  2. I just learned a new word! I love how you describe your transportaion as a shuttle...I am sure it feels like that often. It is amazing what we can learn when we open our ears. Thanks for the entertaining and informative blog.

  3. That's so funny. I talk about "smarticle particles" all the time with my 6th graders when their thinking impresses me, and all this time, I thought I was orginal. Scary, I am speaking the language of urban dictionary. I love how the musings of your boys get you thinking and send you to the dictionary. There are much worse words they could pick up that you would find on Urban Dictionary. One more thing, I love how cooly and with such grace you accept your childrens' evolving view of you. You sound like quite a mom.

  4. I have a few smarticles around my head just now as I have learned a new concept. You did such a good job in your writing when you went from the routine ("as regular as Earth's trip around the Sun") to such a game-changing idea!


Please feel free to leave comments or feedback. I welcome your words! :)