Sunday, August 24, 2014

Nerds, Science Nerds, and Geckos

We have had a couple of guests with us for a week while their parents are away.  It's been a lot of fun.
The kids made dinner one night for all of us: sloppy joes with mini apple pies for dessert.  Yum.

"onion protection"
A few weeks ago, we drafted and had everyone sign a kind of "contract" beforehand so that we were all on the same page about household rules and general behavioral expectations.

the "Pledge" and Chore Chart are on the fridge,
so everyone can remember what's what.
 It has worked out really well.  No one has complained about duties or scheduling or anything.  It seems to have helped everyone and given us all a sense of structure and predictability about our time together. 

In the evenings, we read out loud from our current chapter book (The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster) and then have a "debrief" about our day and go over the plans for the next day. 
This evening routine is not something I had planned in advance, but it just sort of happened and the kids LOVE it so it stayed.

One of the (many) perks of spending a week with us on Saipan: night swimming!

The two eldest girls went to a week-long summer camp through the National Park Service called "Ridge to Reef," all about marine biology and conservation in the CNMI.  It was excellent.  They had experts come in from the Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Bureau of Coastal Management (and others), they got to do bird-watching, hiking in a re-vegetation site, a beach clean-up, they went out to one of the wildlife sanctuaries (an island you can only reach by boat), they participated in the "tagging" of a sea-turtle, they got to ride a semi-submarine... All of that and more in just five days.  
L. took the camera along to document the semi-sub voyage.  The montage is pretty hilarious (I thought) but I am told they had a good time and even saw a giant humphead wrasse.

Blurry images of the deep:

Ah, there he is:
And they learned this song at camp and have been singing it ever since:
Probably one of my favorite parts of our week together was when, on Sunday afternoon, after I woke up from a warm afternoon siesta, the kids came into my bedroom with very somber expressions on their faces.

"We have to show you something."
"We really need you to help us."
"I don't know if you can fix this, but I hope so."
(Good grief!  What on earth are they talking about, this sounds very serious!  Why didn't they wake me up?)

I followed them to the living room. 

There was a jar on the coffee table, full of grass and covered with a Kleenex that was secured with a rubber band. 
"We made sure he could breathe."
"The ants were carrying him away.  He wasn't even dead!"
"We chopped up some fruit and gave the bits to him."
"He is not moving.  But he does move, barely.  He isn't dead yet."

It was a gecko.  Who was very near the end, and they were trying to save the little fellow. 
They had written encouraging little notes and displayed them outside the jar: "Get well soon." and "It'll be allright."  With hand-drawn pictures of healthy geckos (for inspiration?).

"We thought that some music would help."
"We chose classical music so it would be soothing."
There were earbuds balanced on top of the jar, plugged into an Ipod.

"We looked up information online about what to do and we found on Youtube this one about a gecko who was eaten by ants in under an hour!"
"He is letting us touch him.  Geckos are not supposed to do that!
"What can we do?  Help us fix him!"

Later, after a swim, we checked in on the little guy and he was no longer responsive.  BR broke the news to the girls: "I am sorry, I have bad news: we lost him."

One by one, they filed in to the house to see for themselves.  And then they made the most tragic discovery of all.  Somehow, the music station had been changed and was no longer playing classical tunes.

"We KILLED him!  It was the KIDZ BOPS!"


tangle said...

Science camp is awesome, but the gecko demise takes the cake.

clairesd said...

I thought so, too, Mary. Too funny..