If yesterday was a bit warm a bit suddenly, weatherwise, today has been absolutely glorious from the get-go. Temperatures have even been excitedly prodding the 33°C mark this afternoon, so we decided to go to a lab and do lab work.
Yep. Needs must and the need today was for the boy to get some practical work done ahead of a couple of very busy weeks leading up to the Eskom Expo International Science Fair.
He has an entire project to do – to ISF standard – in two weeks. And that’s with other commitments including (but not limited to) er… school, Scouts, an orienteering competition, two Dodgeball Academy sessions, two Expo meetings, a rendezvous with an astronaut (yes, really) and a partridge in a pear tree.
Of course, we’ll support and help where we can, but this is his baby and he needs to get it right through to adulthood in the next fortnight.
Right now, he’s just frantically changing nappies.
I debated long and hard over whether to share this. On the one hand, as you’ll see, I’m a proud dad right now. On the other, I don’t want it to seem like I am showing off. No-one likes a showoff. But then no, I don’t do this sort of thing often (despite having great kids) and I do want to shout this from the metaphorical rooftops. If you have a negative opinion on my decision to do so, well, so be it.
The backstory: Earlier in the year, my 10 year old son did a science project for school. He investigated whether using stored grey water to water plants had any effect on their growth. This is important, because at home, we store any spare grey water in order to water the garden, and we don’t want to kill our plants. Topical then; a neat little project which worked out nicely, got him a certificate at school and an invitation (along with a handful of other students) to take it to the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists at UCT.
In the intervening six weeks, the boy wonder addressed the shortfalls in his initial experiment and basically did the whole thing again on a much larger scale, working literally every day throughout the school holidays.
Flash forward to the present day (well, almost): The Eskom Expo happened on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday last week. The boy, along with 900 other students, went and set up 492 projects in the infamously chilly UCT Sports Hall.
The students then had to present their experiment and were interviewed by several (or more) judges and the projects were graded accordingly.
His school did really, really well at the Expo. And I knew that his was a good project, done well. And look, given the disclaimer above, you can probably kind of guess where this is going. But I had no idea.
He won a gold medal, a special award for one of the best Environmental projects and a special award for one of the best primary school projects. We were astounded.
And then they awarded him the inaugural Priscilla Moodley Award for the Best Primary School Project at the Expo. His was the best project out of the 100 submitted in his age group. Amazing.
So yeah. I’m a proud dad right now. The kid seems to be going places, possibly following his dad into the hopelessly underfunded, but still often rather fun world of science. [screams internally: DON’T DO IT!!!!]
UPDATE: Oh, and because people are asking: He discovered that the length of time that grey water is stored for (he tested fresh, 1 week and >1 month) has no discernable effect on plant growth, and that any grey water is better than potable water (his control) for both numbers of seeds germinating & average plant height.
I took the boy to his first Sheffield United game this afternoon. The Blades v Plymouth Argyle in the second round of the FA Cup. A potential banana skin of note.
(Just check out those blue skies, by the way.) (And please excuse his hair, he’d just taken his beanie off.) As local band Pulp once sang:
Do you remember the first time? I can’t remember a worse time
And at half time, 0-0 and having endured a thoroughly depressing 45 minutes, I’m not sure I could, Jarvis, no.
But then in the second half, things perked up. They got a penalty and they missed it and then we got a penalty and we didn’t. And then we got another penalty and we didn’t miss that one either. And with the boy thoroughly excited, we then slotted in another (not a penalty) and all was right with the world:
All’s well that ends well, and this did end well. It’s taken a while to get him there, but I’m glad we did. Another rite of passage in my (not so) little boy’s life.