Sometimes in life, your kids want to do something and you just cannot bring yourself to say yes to even though you know you really should just say yes. You know that they will grow from it, learn from it, enjoy it. But it requires adult participation. Oh bother. Such as it was with the school science fair.
Participation was voluntary (did you hear that – v.o.l.u.n.t.a.r.y.) – no grades given – no first place – no nothing. Just the love of a little science experiment. Oh yeah and you get a t-shirt. Bear and Flower had no interest whatsoever – so I am off the hook, right? Silly rabbit, that’s what I thought too. But there is Angel. With eyes full of wonder and a heart full of enthusiasm. And great hopes for a t-shirt.
Angel: Mom, can I sign up for the science fair?
Me: Honey, you realize you don’t HAVE to sign up, right?
Angel: Yeah, I know, I just WANT to.
Me: I am not sure there are any spots left (yes, I will tell my children a fib – sue me)
Angel: Then what is that table for over THERE?
Me: Flu shots.
Angel: NO it isn’t – it’s for the science fair
Me to myself: (damn, that’s right, she can read now)
Me to Angel: Yes, dear it is – but you realize you don’t HAVE to do it.
Angel: I know, I just WANT to.
So, we sign up about 6 weeks before the day of the science fair. Angel decides (with a little good old-fashioned coaxing) that she wants to do the Coke/Mentos experiment. Fine – that’s easy enough. So, little by little I buy 2 liter bottles of soda and mentos candies. We stock pile them in the kitchen. I had to go back and get extra mentos because apparently Bear and Flower “forgot” the candy was for the experiment. (Very supportive those two.)
We I get two of each kind of soda – I roll like that – even in my hesitation to agree to do the project, I must be prepared in case one of the sodas is flat. (Oh ye of little faith – it is highly probable here that a soda might be flat.) I delay her starting the project because I am trying to find Diet Coke in 2 liter bottles. Good luck with that. I am not sure why – but I could not find it. And, sadly, it works the best.
Everything sits in our kitchen. She is distracted by knitting practice, watching tv, fighting with her brother and sister, and that damn reading habit of hers – you name it. She almost forgot about the science fair.
But, finally she remembers that she wants to participate. I think it was because she tripped over the big science fair poster board they gave her for her display. I know, rookie mistake – I should have hidden it better. Next year. But, you can be sure I am not begging her to get started. She needs to find that inner motivation – prove that she really wants to do it. Wouldn’t you know, she found it right there on the floor next to the poster.
Now, I will admit that after number one hubby disagreed over how to measure the explosion of soda and after we discussed whether the experiment should be done on the porch or in the park, we actually all had a lot of fun. (FYI, I was right on both counts – just for the record – yes that made the project more fun.) And no, we did not ask Angel how she thought we should measure the explosion – it was her project after all – we are perfectly capable of fighting over discussing a solution without her help. Thank. you. very. much. 😉
Here is our line up.
Coke went the highest.
Sprite was a dud. And, yes, we tried it twice. Remember, I was prepared with reinforcements.
Fanta looked pretty cool but also did not rise to the occasion.
Afterwards we went to the park. (Better late than never.) And we found out that if you try to drink the soda while it is exploding, it will most definitely go up your nose.
And we found out that it is fun to have a coke-that-has-exploded fight in the park.
We also found out that Angel is perfectly capable of standing alone with her project for 3 hours and discussing it with anyone. Adults, children, teachers. She had no fear whatsoever. In fact, she really enjoyed it. Yes, she made her own poster.
And she got this ribbon – and a certificate – and a t-shirt. WOW Science indeed.
If you want to melt into the landscape of India and enjoy it unnoticed, I suggest you not hang out with us. Exit stage left. Immediately. There is nothing like drawing attention to yourselves by using perfectly good soda and making it explode with perfectly good candy on the porch while in the land of “we waste nothing”. Yep, we did not go unnoticed today. I wonder what our Indian neighbors really thought about our experiment and ensuing soda fight in the park. They must think us strange birds indeed.
All in all, we have survived and quite thoroughly enjoyed the science fair. But I draw the line at Girl Scouts – I am pretty sure that is an American organization that is underrepresented here – at least that will be my story and I will distract her from any sign up tables.
And by the way, Angel wore her t-shirt to school. Priceless.