Monday, March 30, 2015

Science Fair and Therapy

I dread science fair more than my kids do. They pick a topic and then spend the weeks leading up to the finish line forgetting about it, but I know what's coming.  Looming over my head is the deadline, the crying, the arguing and fit throwing, and that's just me. (Kidding, sort of) Aidan is possibly going to need future therapy for his 5th grade science fair project. That was three years ago and the events of that last weekend leading up to project completion are still convulsing in his memory.

I'm so over the need to "help" my kids with their projects while casting sideways looks at the other parents' boards who were also "helping". It's a cutthroat science fair war out there, and I'm out. Now I look at it as more of a character building experience. "It has to be done, but nobody wants to do it, it's fine if it stinks, but it has to be your best effort, and sometimes in life you just have to do things that you don't want to do."

This year was much more relaxed, now that we worked out some of the kinks on Aidan. Chloe picked a topic and Chris was assigned the job of being her support team. As the resident engineer, after about 3rd grade, all of the math and science things are automatically dropped in his lap. A little time out to talk about engineers. They are perfectly wonderful, and I adore mine thoroughly, but they do have a certain complex way of thinking. They can be sometimes like a Rube Goldberg machine taking ideas from point A to point B. (This might be the moment when Aidan starts twitching)

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Imagine this: Chloe is on the computer creating a spreadsheet to graph her electrical output from her lemons and potatoes, Aidan is not at all helping by continually offering his memories of science fairs past, and I am lecturing Chris about exactly what it means to be a support team as opposed to a project manager. And then, the science stuff is all done, and now it's time for design. At which point, I stop lecturing my husband, and start project managering the photographs and painting (Chloe stopped me from photo shopping her pictures)... See? Character building.

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The cutest little scientist
Petrichor: the pleasant earthy smell after the rain.
Vellichor: the strange wistfulness of used bookshops.

There needs to be a special word for that euphoric, blissful feeling, when the science fair project is finished. Or I guess, we could just say that it's ineffable: too great to be expressed with words.

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