She came home with a paper saying she had to do a science project for school, a family science project, where her parents helped. She had ideas. Big ideas, like,
"How about a real live volcano that blows up???!!!!"
My idea was,
"How about you just bring one of those lemon trees over there and show everyone how you grew it from a seed."
"Oh, well, okay."
The feeling was that we wouldn't put too much effort into it, and it probably wouldn't be terribly exciting, but it would fulfil the requirements for the project- which were pretty steep for a first grader, in my opinion.
We talked over what we would do a few times, purchased some lemons, and the day came for the presentation. This was the write up:
Problem: Will a lemon tree grow in Wisconsin?
Hypothesis: Yes, a lemon tree will grow inside the house.
1. Lemon seeds from lemons
2. A pot
1. Cut the lemon in half.
2. Take a seed out of the lemon.
3. Put dirt in the pot.
4. Put the seed in the dirt.
5. Water it every day.
6. Keep it by a sunny window.
Results: The lemon trees grew in my room.
Conclusion: You can grow lemon trees in Wisconsin!
Not especially ground breaking, but good enough. She's six.
I brought the materials listed. I spent "indoor recess" with Little Z, who was nervous and started crying. She told a few other kids that her science experiment was not going to be exciting. We ate lunch, came back, and set up at a table in front of the room. The kids sat on a carpet in front of us. The teacher, this rock star teacher who sings the kids their lessons and is somewhat superhuman, took lots of pictures of me and Little Z, as Little Z read aloud the procedure and did the procedure. I cut the lemon. We dug out some seeds. Little Z started filling a pot with dirt, and it was like (you won't believe this) we were walking on the moon or something. I mean, the kids were completely fascinated! We could hear them murmuring,
"What's she going to do next?"
"OH MY GOD!"
They were astounded.
Little Z was planting a lemon seed in a pot. She watered it. And then we unveiled the lemon tree that was a few months old, grown by this "procedure" of planting a seed in a pot:
How could this be?
Everyone wanted to touch it and feel it and smell it. It smelled pleasantly of lemons. (Honestly, that was fascinating. It smelled like lemons even before it had any lemons!)
Little Z walked around the room with the plant and let them touch it. They had many questions. The first one was from a little girl in the front row,
"How did you even know how to do this? Where did you get the idea? I mean, did you see it on Pinterest or something? Where?"
Little Z revealed that she had not known what would happen, but she just wanted to prove her mother wrong, because I had not believed that you could grow a lemon tree in Wisconsin. True story.
There were many more questions.
It was finally agreed that they would keep the new pot with the newly planted seed on the windowsill, water it every day, and see if it, too, would grow a lemon tree. A boy (who is actually completely infatuated with my daughter, incidentally) said,
"Maybe we'll even have lemons! We can eat them for snack time!"
And the teacher, Mrs. R, laughed and said,
"Well, I think you would have to spend many more years in the first grade with me, if you want to eat lemons off of that tree."
Then all of the children started chanting,
"YES! YES! YES! YES! YES!" in unison. It got quite loud. It was almost a mob mentality. I was impressed. Apparently, every last kid there wanted to spend years and years with Mrs. R in the first grade.
The whole scene was like a younger, much cleaner version of this movie I recently saw, The Wolf of Wall Street, where the Wolf gives a speech to all of his brokers, and they spontaneously start screaming at him,
"I fucking love you! I fucking love you!" With great vigour. Foaming at the mouth (that could be all the drugs they're on). That movie is great, by the way, except it's disgusting and has too many naked ladies and not enough naked men.
But that's the kind of popularity Mrs. R enjoys with her students, only with no drugs and no money. They just love her. It's impressive.
And the science presentation was a smashing success.
When Little Z got off the bus this evening, she remarked,
"They thought it was really exciting. I didn't really think it was that exciting."
The wonders of nature.