A friend recently suggested that I attend this local science festival-type-thing with the kids.
It sounded like this when she told me: Oh! They’ll love it! They’re into science-y stuff! They’ll have a great time! You have to take them! It’s so great! It gets bigger and bigger every year!
Splendid, I thought to myself, free entertainment for the kidlings. Encourage interest in the sciences. Sounds like a win/win proposition.
Most of you already know this about me, but for those that don’t: There are certain situations where I don’t handle myself very well. These situations include (but are in no way limited to) any venue that is hot, small, or has people. The recipe for a good time? Put me in hot, small space that is brimming to the tippity top with humans. For extra enjoyment, tell me to bring my kids along, so that my misery may be properly compounded by losing sight of one or more children on multiple occasions.
I should have taken the lack of parking and presence of traffic control personnel as a giant red flag, but it was too late to turn back.
All of my belly-aching aside, the kids thought it was fantastic. They were hot and tired before we had been to even half of the exhibits, but they were excited and interested in what we saw. They ate marshmallows frozen in liquid nitrogen, watched static electricity bend water, made slime, handled a crazy amount of rocks and minerals and more.
One nature exhibit had a coyote skin. Goose started petting it, flipping it over, poking it in the nose, and studying it from every angle. Buddy immediately bristled and asked the poor woman working the exhibit, “What did you DO to him?!?” She did her very best to explain to him that she didn’t do anything to him, but sometimes animals die and isn’t it fantastic that he left his skin for us to learn from, and so on. He wasn’t convinced, but his outrage didn’t last long.
You see, he found this hovercraft thing that he wanted to ride. He absolutely lit up with excitement. He and Bear both took rides on it. Goose wanted to stay on the sidelines with me and play with her slime. Then I realized whose exhibit this was. Actually, it was the giant display they had up with a map that said “Where is The Netherlands?” that gave it away.
Oh, I know where The Netherlands is, Mister. It’s a black hole filled with wooden shoes and cheese and tulips and it sucks my friends into it but doesn’t always spit them back out. And I don’t give a hoot if the cheese is amazing. (Please send Beemster.)
When the three kids started hanging from me like so many wet sweaters on a drying rack, we called it quits and went home. So happy was I to be outdoors, that I nearly forgot how unpleasant the evening had been.
The kids are still talking about it. They can’t wait to go back next year. Science is great! They want to learn all about it! Super fun! Great event that accomplishes its mission to get kids interested in science!
… which means… that next year… I will have to find someone else to take them, because I would rather be sucked into a black hole than try to navigate a mess like that again. (Although, I’ll reconsider if I hear that one of the tables is demonstrating the grape fermentation process.)