Saturday, January 04, 2014

Just Look at the World Around You, Right Here on the Ocean Floor. Such Wonderful Things Around You. What More is You Lookin' For?

Here is a little-talked-about benefit of being a mom: you get to visit all sorts of cool places under the pretext of "outings" or "educational field trips". A twenty-something at a playground by herself is odd and frowned upon, but give that twenty-something a child and suddenly it's not only expected, it's encouraged!

This week our outings took us to the aquarium. After wandering through the exhibits we ended up sitting in a room with a hundred other people  facing a giant window that looked out into a giant tank filled with different fish, sharks, and kelp. There were two divers in the tank talking to us through microphones and an aquarium volunteer  facilitating on our side of the window. The volunteer would ask for questions, pick a child with their hand raised, then repeat that question into the microphone so the divers could hear it. The divers would then answer the question. 

While the divers were feeding the fish the volunteer was talking us about the different species in the tank. She then asked the question: How many inches does this giant kelp grow in one day? 

I was already impressed: A plant that grows at least an inch per day? Amazing! Lots of kids raised their hands and the answers varied: Four inches! Fourteen inches! Fifteen inches! One hundred inches! And then my four-year-old raised her hand. The volunteer called on her. In a very matter-of-fact tone she said simply: "Twenty-four inches." 

I smiled, as my guess was more toward the two or three inch range. To my surprise the volunteer responded with "Ding ding ding! That's correct! This species of kelp can grow up to twenty-four inches per day!" 

I looked at my daughter in astonishment. She nodded. Hadn't she just said twenty-four was the right answer? 

I thought this aquarium outing  was for the benefit of my children, but who am I kidding? My kids are genius. I'm the one that needs to learn this stuff. 

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