HUB IN THE HOOD: Time For Class
Time For Class
It started out with a sore throat – the kind that makes you feel like you just swallowed kitty litter. I rebuked it with peppermint tea and honey. I tried an ibuprofen. I even tried a glass of wine. My daughter began complaining with her throat. I scrounged the pantry for the gummy bear vitamins. We started popping gummies. I figured it was a phase at best. All week I had been preparing for a great weekend. All week my daughter had been proclaiming her excitement about the chance to dissect a frog in science. Everyday the family gets the frog countdown, complete with fascinating facts about frogs.
“Mom, did you know that the core of a frog’s eye is clear and hard and can bounce like a super ball? Colin told me. He said you can color it with a highlighter to keep from losing it once it bounces.”
We even discussed the problem of smell. I told her, “I never threw up, but the smell was pretty bad. The visual doesn’t get you – it’s the formaldehyde! Some kids would smear Mentholatum on their upper lips to keep the smell at bay. If you need some, let me know.” Ah, a mother’s wisdom.
Day three and now my daughter and I are comparing notes on which nostril is clogged and how to best combat the continuous drip of clear fluids said nostril produces. Mine is like hot water dripping out of a faucet. At school, my daughter keeps making trips to the teacher’s desk, blowing (dabbing) her nose. At work, I try to be discreet while dealing with my own nasal event. By the end of the day it was all I could do to keep from rubbing my nose on my sleeve like some snotty five year old. Thankfully, I held out. As a dog groomer, the effects of nose rubbing mingled with copious amounts of freshly-shorn dog hair would have been detrimental. (Such extreme environmental proclivity would give a whole new meaning to "nose hair"!)
Once home, I notice my daughter is morose. It is something more than a stuffy airway. As she mopes around her pink room I knock on her door.
Me: “Hey beautiful. You OK?”
Daughter: “Yeah. (no).”
Me: “So, I thought you dissected a frog today. Did you?”
Me: “Sorta? How does one sorta dissect a frog? Was it gross?”
Daughter: “Nope. Why? Because Mr. A handed each of us an iPad and said click the frog app. Then we proceeded to dissect our frog....ON THE IPAD. I was SO DISAPPOINTED.”
Me: (after a long pause in which I was equal parts fascinated by the technology affecting today’s science classroom, and incredulous at the fact that there were enough iPads for 25 kids) “Wow.”
Me: “Well, hey…at least you didn’t have to deal with the yucky smell!” (Hey – a little optimism never hurt anyone.)
Daughter: “It wouldn’t matter, Mom – I can’t smell, remember?” (points to nose)
I leave my daughter to her thoughts and travel down the hall to my son’s room. He is now in the seventh grade. As I enter his room he is lying in his hammock (yes, he has a hammock for a bed) and I hear the intonations of a man’s voice. He is saying something about the Revolutionary War.
Me: “What is that?”
Son: “Oh, that’s just chapter 8 in my history book.”
Son: “Yeah – they have the chapters on CD or MP3’s so we can take them home. That way we don’t have to read it.”
That way we don’t have to read it???
WHAT? What in the heck is going on? I am forced to return to my cup of peppermint tea and ponder my horrific middle school years. Sure, on the one hand I hate that we – the children of the past decades – which wasn’t that long ago – had to suffer through formaldehyde induced illnesses through lunch (which was, for some reason, always right after science) and suffer ungodly mental boredom as we pushed through Silas Marner and Ethan Frome. On the other hand, I am amazed by the realization that my kids truly do live in a different age; one where science class is made up of iPad apps and math allows calculators and kids can opt to listen to their chapters on CDs and MP3s. Is that a good thing? Would I have loved school more if I got to poke at an iPad everyday? I decided my answer was Heck Yeah.
That being said, I hope my doctor didn’t learn anatomy on an iPad. Never having been a techno geek, I continually admire the lightning fast pace in which technology soars into our everyday lives. It’s like Harry Potter magic as far as I’m concerned. Is there an app for root canals and childbirth? Call me when there is. Please tell me the kids won’t take their driver’s test on an app. Can we have too many apps? Where’s the line? Will tomorrow’s kids be so app-amped that they have no idea how to do menial tasks? There once was a time when the term "laptop" sounded dirty. Links were sausages. Maxi pads were the only pads I knew. My kids know more about links and apps and networking than me. Did my parents ever feel that way about me when I toted around my chunky yellow (and uber-cool) Sony Walkman as I listened to Cyndi Lauper on tape?
I remember when I was in high school I carried a quarter with me everywhere I went. This was my emergency money, which I used in a payphone should I have ever needed to call home. No one had a cell phone, and I only knew of one family who owned a Commodore computer. They used it to play Tetris. I had pen pals from other states. We traded letters about four times a year. Our home phone was on a party line, which meant you had to wait your turn to make a call. Our phone was also attached to the kitchen wall, the receiver connected with a pigtail cord. If you wanted to make a call, you stood in the kitchen…through the whole conversation. My son couldn't locate one of our cell phones the other day. He actually said, "You kow, they ought to make a phone that is connected to the wall..." But I digress.
My daughter steps out of her room and smiles. I smile back. She has a gleam of mischief in her eyes.
“Mom, guess what?” she grins.
“What?” I say.
“Did you know that a drop of snot is heavy enough to trigger a touch response on an iPad screen? My nose dripped on it accidentally today and when it did, it landed on the frog’s liver.”
Dissecting frogs is still pretty gross.