Tuesday, January 18, 2005

And you call yourself a scientist?

That last niece story reminded me of the time Pixie Niece was telling me and The Husband (who was only The Fiance at the time) that she had to draw a picture of a scientist for homework. Her sister, Muffet Niece1 was with us, and when I said that she could just draw me or The Husband, that we were both scientists, they were both flabbergasted. Just flabbergasted. In fact, they looked at me with great skepticism. We couldn’t possibly be scientists. Scientists are smart and wear white coats and, I don’t know, talk about science and stuff.

I said we’d prove it, that they should ask us a question about science. We were all set to explain how a radio works, or why ice floats or something. (I was actually counting on The Husband to provide the answer to whatever they came up with, because he’s the one who knows stuff kids want to know. Somehow, I didn’t see them asking me for optimal Young’s modulus of a substrate on which to differentiate muscle cells.2)

But they blindsided us! “OK,” said Pixie Niece. “Name all the bugs in the world.”

What? What the heck kind of question is that? Needless to say, we could not, in fact, name all of the bugs in the world. But come on! I challenge an entomologist to name all the bugs in the world. Sheesh. I guess that’s what you get for trying to impress a six-year-old. My two nieces remained decidedly unimpressed. And apparently were left thinking that I don’t do anything.

1Muffet Niece’s nickname is inspired by a conversation we had when she was about seven years old. She was showing me her journal, and she had written that she went on a field trip. I asked her where she went. “We went to see the Muffet Movie? But without any Muffets in it.”

I was stumped. “You went to see The Muppet Movie without any Muppets?”

“Yeah,” she said. “You know! The Muffet Movie? But without any Muffets?”

I tried to figure out how they managed to make The Muppet Movie without any Muppets. I mean, the Muppets are pretty integral to the plot. In the non-Muppet version, who eats Dr. Bunsen Honeydew’s Insta-Grow Pills, grows really big and scares off Doc Hopper and his professional frog killer just in from the coast? “The Muppet Movie without any Muppets?” I said again.

Muffet Niece was getting exasperated by my thick-headedness. “You know! That Christmas Muffet Movie? But without any Muffets in it!”

A light dawned. “Oh!” I exclaimed. “You went to see A Christmas Carol!”

“Yes,” she sighed, with great relief. “The Muffet Movie without any Muffets in it.”

211 kPa


EditorKit said...

I forgot that story about Muffet Niece! She is also the one who played hide and seek with herself. She would giggle and hide somewhere, then come out and start tip-toeing around. We asked her what she was doing. "Shhh!" she whispered. Then she tip-toed over to her hiding spot. "Ha! Got you!"

I think Pixie Niece asked you about drawing a scientist because I told her you were one. All three nieces didn't believe me at the time, especially the other one. I must have convinced them to ask you, but apparently they still had reservations!

Mo said...

I don't think so, because I remember instigating the conversation by asking them what they were doing in school, and specifically, what they were doing for science class.

I'm glad they're in a new school though, because "drawing a scientist" is pretty lame science homework, even for a first grader.