Today was the first real day of summer vacation. It was quite glorious. All day I had planned to write about our adventure to the Blackwater Creek Athletic Area and how much fun we had once I got over myself and let everyone trudge through the puddles. But this evening our get-out-of-the-house-so-daddy-can-work walk gave me a new idea.
If you spend any time at all with Chica these days, you’ll quickly learn that the questions are never ending. Many times I find myself serving as her walking dictionary. Take, for example, this exchange, after a motorcycle sped past us….
Me: Man….did you see how fast he was going?
Chica: Why was he going so fast?
Me: He was trying to show off.
Chica: What does show off mean?
Me: When you do something just to impress someone.
Chica: What does impress mean?
Me: When you do something just to get someone to think how special you are.
Sometimes the questions are fun like, “What does that tree look like to you?” It was covered in kudzu. I said a dragon tonight, but she always thinks camel. Other times the questions are just completely random. “What’s the difference between your heart and your spirit.” Really!?! I gave it my best shot, then told her to ask her Nana later.
But tonight we ended our walk with three different questions that she wanted me to look up on the Internet. She’s never quite satisfied with, “I don’t know,” and she won’t let you forget that you didn’t know either. So while she took her shower, I scoured Wikipedia and other semi-reliable sources to get her answers.
(Can I just digress for one tiny second and point out that I have a kid old enough to finally bathe herself with no help except turning on the water and opening the shampoo bottle? This is fantastic. Ok. I’m done.)
If you’ve made it this far, I’m hoping you’ll humor me and take the Chica Challenge. Just check out the questions below, and then think of how you would have answered her BEFORE you read my answers. I’ll give you a score at the end.
1. Is this spit or eggs?
2. What’s that green stuff growing on the rock wall?
3. What part of a honeysuckle flower can you eat?
Ok….have your answers ready? Good! Read on…
1. She was sure it was spit, and I was sure it was eggs. Turns out she was closer to the right answer than me. The froghopper, also appropriately called the spittlebug, is a bug that coats itself in a foam made from “frothed-up plant sap” when it’s in the nymph stage. This covering hides it from predators, helps regulate temperature, and keeps it moist. Tonight we did poke one of the spit piles with a stick to see what would happen, but we weren’t expecting to find a bug inside. Maybe we’ll go back again tomorrow to see if we can find one. They are apparently amazing jumpers who can jump 100 times their length. Cool!
2. My best guess (lichen) actually turned out to be the right answer, but I had no other information to give her. I learned that lichen is actually two organisms working symbiotically–a fungus and an alga. The alga produces the food through photosynthesis, and the fungus feeds off of the alga. Chica had guessed that the green stuff was algae, but it turns out the alga is actually more like bacteria than algae.
3. On our first walk today I pointed out honeysuckle to Chica and let her smell it. I have strong memories of being just about her age and walking by a wall of honeysuckle on my way to our neighborhood pool in the summer. I mentioned to her that there was some part of the flower that you could taste, but I had never tried it. We read this together tonight, so you can bet we’ll be stopping at every honeysuckle bush we pass tomorrow.
So…how many of Chica’s Challenges did you know?
Zero–You are Chica Challenged. You should probably go watch some Wild Kratts.
One–You are a Chica Charmer. Don’t worry, this was my score too!
Two–You are a Chica Chief. Was it the spittlebugs that got you?
Three–You are a Chica Champion! I’m coming to you with tomorrow’s questions.
How about you? Did you learn anything thanks to your kids today? I’d love to hear it….leave me a comment!
Spittlebug froth © nordique | Flickr Creative Commons
Lichen on rocks, Wayside, E of Prineville, OR © Martin LaBar | Flickr Creative Com.
Honeysuckle © Nicholas Roche | Flickr Creative Commons