Jackson and I have participated annually in a research study since he was a newborn. The study is through UNC Nutrition and Cognition Lab. It began as a study on breastmilk and DHA. Each year we have been invited back for saliva and blood samples and asked to complete various activities and questionnaires.
Now that Jackson is old enough, he was asked to participate in hundreds of games, puzzles, and activities that tested his memory and IQ. I was required to keep a food log for Jackson and fill out multiple surveys with over 400 questions. Most of the research was conducted in this tiny interrogation room. The sessions were filmed through a two-way mirror and everything was timed.
Despite the intimidating set up, everything was surprisingly fun and age-appropriate. The researcher taught Jack how to build several objects with oddly shaped blocks. Jackson was asked to repeat what she did immediately afterwards, an hour later, and a full week later. I was surprised at how thorough everything was. I'm very curious to see what Jack's results are, especially since he answered things in unusual ways or refused to complete some of the tasks in the correct order. I knew he knew the answer, but I wasn't allowed to redirect or assist. For example, the researcher showed Jackson a picture of a girl sitting in a highchair with an empty plate. She asked, "What do you think the girl just did?" Jack said, "Maybe she fell and broke her legs." The researcher and I looked at one another. She asked, "Why do you think that?" Jack pointed to the picture of the girl and said, "Her legs are broken." Sure enough, the girl had braces on both of her legs.
Jackson was as stubborn and silly as always. He had both the researcher and I crying from laughing. For example, the woman handed Jackson a baby doll, cup, spoon, and washcloth and asked him to take care of the baby. He fed her with the spoon and bowl. She asked, "What are you feeding her?" He replied, "slugs and worms". She asked him to clean the baby. Jack rubbed the washcloth all over the baby doll. She asked, "What are you doing?" He replied, "rubbing vomit all over her. She throw up."
In addition to the hundreds of questions, Jackson also had to complete physical tasks such as hopping on one foot, walking backwards in a straight line, walking down stairs without holding on, etc.
We attended two sessions, lasting about two hours each. I really enjoyed the individual time with Jack and hearing his responses to the questions. He seemed so grown up.
After leaving the research campus, I pulled over on the side of the road and made Jackson take a picture at this intersection. I couldn't resist. How cool is that?
Since we were generously compensated for our research participation I decided to take Jackson out for lunch. He wanted spaghetti and apples. Denny's was the perfect place.
I ordered a baja burger (peppers, onions, pico de gallo, and chipotle sauce) and baby carrots. Jack devoured his enormous portion of spaghetti and apples. Our entire bill was a whopping $7. This was the best photo of the two of us. Ha!
After lunch, Jackson requested to go across the street to see the fish (aka Bass Pro Shop). We went to the large aquarium. As we were leaving Jackson said, "Can you take my picture with that giant bear?" I was seriously elated since I'm always the one begging him to pose for a picture. He growled and mimicked the bear.
It was such a fun afternoon with my silly guy. I look forward to more one-on-one time with each of the kids this summer.