Today in the McBride household, most of us had the day off to attend the girls’ three way conferences at school, where we collected their first semester portfolios and reports, and where we learned that our daughters are awesome (I might have had my Mummy earmuffs on – all I heard was “blah blah blah awesome”). Eight year old Zoe’s teacher thought that she shows promise in her creative writing, as evidenced by this excerpt from a persuasive text she wrote:

I’m telling you, aliens ARE real! The reason the robot on Mars can’t see any aliens is because the aliens taped a picture of Mars onto its camera! Behind that taped picture is a whole city of Martians! The universe is HUGE! We can’t possibly be the only life in this never-ending universe! Scientists say there is enough space for a million other life forms! Why does no one believe me?

Alien pictures taped to the camera – seems legit.

Later, we discussed the Egg Drop Experiment, that perennial favourite of science teachers in which students must design and test a device that will protect an egg from breaking if dropped onto a hard surface. Ten year old Alia just finished it at school (her egg broke) and it’s fourteen year old Declan’s turn at high school on Friday.

“Put it in a jar of peanut butter,” the girls said. “We saw it on TV. It really works!” Of course, we weren’t about to just take their word for it, not when one must adhere to standards of scientific rigour, so I bought a jar of generic peanut butter (thanks for the words of advice, husband, about making sure the jar is plastic, I say as I hold up my sarcasm sign) and spent a few fun-filled minutes with Declan interring a raw egg in peanut butter and dropping it from waist height.

Who needs Hayley Westenra when you’ve got a Fisher & Paykel top loader?

They were right. It DOES work. The tricky part is getting the egg back out again.

We were on a roll with our experimentation, so the next mission for the evening was to test out something Declan had seen on Facebook. Success again; it turns out that, yes, if you have a Fisher & Paykel washing machine, then by holding down certain buttons in a specific sequence, you can get it to play an electronic rendition of the New Zealand national anthem “God Defend New Zealand”.

And then there was this conversation:

(Background info – for reasons known only to herself, Zoe aims to wear a different hat every week to her hip hop class. She’s fossicking through the house for a new hat while this takes place).

Alia: Zoe wore the same hat to hip hop twice, and nobody noticed.
Me: She’s not the Queen, you know; she doesn’t have to wear a different outfit every time she leaves the house. [musing quietly, almost to myself] I wonder if the Queen ever wears track pants…
Zoe: [emerging from my bedroom and holding up one of my hats] Does this hat still fit you?
Husband: I doubt it.
Me: [indignantly] What? What are you saying? I was an adult when I bought that hat. Are you saying that my head has got fatter?
Husband: No, you fool, I was talking about the Queen! I doubt that she wears track pants.
Me: [anticipating what he is going to say to me next] “It’s not always all about you, you know! Sometimes it’s about the Queen and her pants.”

Close enough.

Yes, it was just another ordinary, uneventful and completely sane day…

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