Yesterday, I was feeding my seven-month-old daughter, Princess. She likes to grab the spoon away from me (which, as I commented here, isn't such a bad thing), so I usually give her a second spoon to play with to distract her.
Well, I couldn't find another spoon. Our "everything" drawer of kitchen utensils had quite an assortment of items in it, but no extra baby spoons. I wound up handing her a (clean) toddler toothbrush.
Watching my baby meet a toothbrush for the first time was a real treat. First, she waved it up and down, in the "I've got a new thing! See!" way that babies do. Then, she passed it from one hand to the other and started running her fingers down the bristles.
"It's a toothbrush," I told her.
I stopped feeding my little scientist and just watched her play with the toothbrush. She kept passing it from hand to hand, touching it, exploring it. Finally, she shoved the toothbrush in her mouth and began to move it up and down, just like a big kid.
Little Brother was delighted. "Look, Mommy! Look what she can do!"
I never thought that a toothbrush could be a teaching tool. But then, I tend to forget that, for a baby, the whole world is a new thing to explore. You can find science anywhere.