Thursday, 23 August 2007

Science day fun

Science day with the parks department. This is fab.

For a start, we're all together, en famille, and Tiger is not grounded at home, being looked after by Dig. This is because Dig is a nice daddy and wants Tiger to have someone to talk to the moment she feels she might like to smash up the house, strangle a puffin, or just go beserk because she has seen the colour green. So Dig has a campaign to spend every minute of the day with Tiger. Where Tiger goes, Dig goes too.

Dig says this is a change of Tiger management strategy. He needs to know if we have a deeply disturbed child on our hands or one who just might be fed up right now of having sisters. At the moment I have no opinion on this since recently I have been running off, at high speed, the moment Tiger's warning signals start. Dig thinks this might be an OK thing to do for Shark and Squirrel, but not for me. In my defence I say I cannot cope now with a Tiger in a rage. I have temporarily exhausted my strategies. And I'm feeling a bit emotionally battered by Tiger rages, which have been going on more or less since June. Conjure up a dead cow being hit with a mallet.

Well, we have a different Tiger management strategy today, which means that for the science day, at least, we are all altogether, en famille, and we'll manage. I know Dig will be around, and Dig knows I'll be around or scarper at the first sign of trouble. And so on that basis we proceed. Even though Tiger is being grumpy right from the off, and is not sure whether she wants to come.

Today the Mad Science people are coming to do a show with the Parks department. They do rocket launching, slime making, acid cleaning and some things we miss because we are late. But we are in time for the show with dry ice where all the kids sit down and get wowed by magic-science for 45 minutes.

Fortunately, Tiger doesn't need much management for this. She sits glumly at the back, apart from Shark and Squirrel, looking like she is trying not to be interested.

On the other hand, Shark is desperate to get involved. She is particularly desperate to be a volunteer with the dry ice. But every time she puts up her hand with a Me! Me! Me! look on her face, Squirrel, who's sitting next to her, elbows Shark in the ribs and bashes her hand down. After about five times of this, Shark has a big shout. Fortunately her STOP IT! is largely ignored by the audience who are far too engaged with the show. Squirrel explains afterwards that she was only doing it to stop Shark making an idiot of herself, and, she adds, it might have been a dangerous experiment and Shark might have been blown up. I wonder if this might betray Squirrel's deep fears about insecurity and loss of her triplet sisters and mentally file it away for later reference.

After the show, the children are invited to make inventions using junk from the local scrapstore. I note everyone else makes wise inventions like new designs for lunchboxes, or trailers to hook up to the car to carry tents in, or clever devices to hold up your toothbrush.

Shark invents a unicorn launcher. But not before Squirrel invents a machine that will first trap your unicorn by creeping up behind it and hitting it on the head to render it unconscious. Tiger is temporarily enthused, and invents a flying machine to catch the trapped and stunned unicorn as it is propelled from the launcher and carry it further up to the skies. Tiger explains that when the unicorn is hundreds of meters up, the doors open so it can fall out. What happens when it hits the ground? I ask. Tiger looks thoughtful. It helps it to fly, she says. I think the fact that she did not say 'It kills it outright' might be hopeful. Anyway, it all might need further psychoanalysis, and I resolve to tell Dig.

Shark's unicorn launcher is quickly followed by a wish box. You put it at the end of your bed, put your wishes into it, and they'll come true. I can't bring myself to remind her that last time she had a wish and only told Toy Fish, that it most certainly did not come true. I could say, though, that the technique of loudly wishing for a pinky-purple hippopotamus, day in and day out fifteen times a day, was much more successful in bringing about a speedy and satisfactory conclusion.

Squirrel goes on to invent a box that you blow into with a straw. It has something to do with unicorns, but I cannot figure out what. I'm not sure if it is to pump air into the battered and bruised unicorn, or suck the last remaining life out of it after it's been hurtled to ground from Tiger's flying machine.

Tiger doesn't want to invent anything else now, she says. She wants to go and play with the rocket launcher. I'm sure that needs psychoanalysis. Either that or it's because the rocket launching station is at the other end of the field. About as far away from her sisters as she can get.

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