Parenting is always an experiment so why not collect the data?
Motherhood 1905

Why is our project like an upside-down painting? UKBAPS update

by Astrid Rønning Petersen, UK Breastfeeding and Parenting Support – Parenting Science Gang

Many years ago, I saw Derren Brown at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton do some painting. And I know that this might not sound like the most interesting night out. But, not only did he not know what he was painting – he was ‘mind-reading’ an audience member – but he was also painting the picture upside-down. It was amazing to watch – it was exciting because we didn’t know what would happen next, and at the same time it was surprisingly frustrating, probably because we couldn’t predict what was about to happen next.

It was a night out I had mostly forgotten until I experienced this strange mix of excitement and frustration again this week. Because this week we have been doing the first round of whittling down our research questions for UKBAPS-Parenting Science Gang.

It’s exciting because we’re a step closer to our experiment, tests, complicated questions and (hopefully) interesting results.

And it’s frustrating because we’re only one step closer. How wonderful it would be to know what will happen in the future right now! I know it will be interesting, and I want to know all of it straight away. It’s like being five years old on the 22nd of December – there’s just too many days left still until Christmas.

On Thursday we finished voting to find our shortlist of ten questions. We had 34 questions to choose between, and we still managed to have a tie for tenth place. Which meant another round of voting. And at the same time, five of our ten questions were posted in seperate threads so we could comment on them, discuss specific areas we’d like to explore and link to related research that already exists. Our Facebook group was a flurry of activity. It was very exciting. And frustrating, because there’s so many interesting ideas. So many unanswered questions. So many directions we could take this project. If only we could do it all, and have all the results now.

Next week we will be discussing the second lot of five questions, and a couple of weeks after that there’ll be another vote, to pick the final topic we will explore.

And it will be exciting. And frustrating. And our upside-down painting won’t look like much to begin with. But when we turn it the right way up, it will be amazing. And who knows, maybe we’ll have dramatic music and rapturous applause as well. Fingers crossed!

You can see the UKBAPS question shortlist here.

You can watch Derren Brown do some ‘mind-reading’ and upside-down painting on YouTube here:

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