At some point in high school, I sat through a discussion of Schrodinger’s cat. You know, the cat in the box that’s supposed to be both alive and dead at the same time? And somehow has something to do with physics (I think)?
Yeah, that cat. Anyway. Nobody really understands that cat. I’m not convinced Schrodinger even understood that cat. But you know what? Now that I have a baby – I think I might be on the right track.
In recent weeks, Roo has finally started to fall asleep in her bed on her own. It’s taken nine months to get here, and we still have some work to do, but the Mister and I feel good about allowing her to reach this milestone at her own pace rather than forcing it on her earlier in life.
Each night around 7 p.m., I drop whatever I am doing and start the bedtime routine. Yes, sometimes this messes up family dinner. Yes, it often annoys guests or people at whose home we may be staying, but it’s essential for my sanity and the few precious hours of quiet I get in the evenings.
When I put Roo in her crib at bedtime and leave the room, for a while, she is quiet. She’s the cat in the box – both asleep and not asleep. Either is a possibility, and until I go find out otherwise, I can tell myself that either is the truth. (If I don’t know for sure, I can tell myself anything. That’s how I get through a lot of things in my life. But I digress.)
Until I go check on her and see that she is, in fact, wide awake and playing patty-cake with her feet, I can pretend she is sleeping soundly for as long as she doesn’t make any noise. Until she screams unhappily, I can tell myself it worked and go take a shower. Until I know differently, I can believe the outcome is whatever I want it to be.
Thus, cat in the box: both asleep and not asleep at the same time, until you open the door and find out for sure.
Done. Equation solved. Teachers need to just use that analogy to explain the cat.
Although how that applies to quantum mechanics or whatever the cat represents, I still have no idea. Maybe Roo will explain it to me when she starts talking…