Here's a mystery that took a little time for me to solve.  First, a little background: On February 14 we got the kids a couple helium balloons that had little weights at the bottom of them.  More about that later.

So, I put Mason (9 mo old) on the floor of his and Drew's bedroom because I had to run to the rest room (except I call it the bathroom).  I put one of the Valentine's balloons near him just to keep him entertained.  When I returned from the bathroom I noticed that Mason was sitting in a pile of rice.  It was almost surreal - I was sure there was no rice there a couple minutes ago. Could I have missed rice on the floor? I don't think so.  And why would it have been there, anyway?  Could we have a Chinese poltergeist?

I thought about my older son at daycare.  When he was a little younger they would have "sensory tables" where they would have a recessed table filled with things that would provide a different sensory experience: water, dirt, even coffee grounds and flour.  Sometimes I'd bring him home from school and these things would fall out of his pockets and diapers throughout the evening.  Could they have had a rice sensory table in the infant room? Would they really give babies raw rice?  It didn't sound like a very good idea, but even if they did, this was a LOT of rice.  I couldn't fathom that there had been this much rice in his diaper and I hadn't noticed it before now.

I'm sure anyone watching would have described me as the poster child for confusion as I dazedly looked around the room seeking an explanation for the sudden appearance of the cylindrical grains.  I left the room and returned at least a couple times thinking I'd come up with an explanation for this. Eventually my eyes came across the Valentine balloon across the room and against the ceiling.  That balloon had had a little bag tied to its string to weigh it down. I didn't know exactly what was in the bag weighing it down before, but now I suddenly did: rice.  Sure enough, the bag was still tied to the sting but it was now open and empty.  

I was mostly relieved, because I didn't have to completely rethink my understanding of the natural world to explain spontaneous rice generation.  I just lived in a world where curious babies could destroy things, including a balloon's ballast.  The fact that babies could destroy things was already known to me, and suddenly everything made sense again.

I picked Mason up and left the room.  When I got a chance I went back to clean up the rice, but another mystery had developed: most of the rice had disappeared.  However, this phenomenon, while on the surface appeared paranormal, was immediately explained: the dog had ate it.

AuthorTodd Zarwell