Today, over a lunch of Annie’s shells and white cheddar (with peas mixed in, which I totally sold by explaining that it was “hide-and-seek macaroni and cheese” and the peas were the hiders), Fiona told me about her day.
“I sat with the boys at snack today, Mum. I told them about my experiment.”
“Oh, that’s nice hun. What did they say?”
“They told me that experiments are for boys. It’s a picture of a boy so that means only boys can do experiments.”
My jaw dropped. I wasn’t sure what picture she was talking about, (though I seem to remember a science kit in the book order last month, I could believe there was probably a picture of a boy on that), but it was all I could do to keep from yelling “BullSHIT only boys can do experiments! What year is this?”
Instead, I calmly explained that those boys weren’t quite right. That girls most certainly can do experiments. That in fact, I have multiple friends who work in the field of science, and they are girls. That experiments are for anyone who wants to learn more about the world around them.
Now I’ll admit. “Experiment” is a word that probably gets overused around here. Need an excuse to get Mama give you an entire roll of scotch tape and a big sheet of foil? Call it an experiment. Feel like mixing things in a big bucket? Experiment. Want to just make a general mess? Experiment. Mama can’t turn you down if it’s an experiment. I’m starting to wise up though. She’s old enough now that we’ve started talking about making a hypothesis, and analyzing data. She has to tell me what she wants to learn with her experiment, beyond just balling up tape and dropping it into water.
Her most recent experiment began as a simple sink-or-float test. We made a chart. Recorded the data. Then she filled an old syrup bottle with water and threw in some beans that we’d picked from our garden. She asked me label it “The Bean Blaster” and it has been sitting on our counter for… several weeks (possibly months?) now. Now the experiment is to see what happens if you leave beans in water. Last week she wanted to open it, and so we did, and let me tell you- I regretted that decision. But then we got to have a discussion about fermentation and gas. She mainly just thought it was funny that the entire kitchen smelled “like a bean toot.”
So hey, little kindergarten boys. You betta recognize that girls absolutely CAN do experiments. I can only hope that I do a good enough job raising my daughters that they can stand up when they find themselves in these sorts of situations later in life. I know a little conversation over snacktime is just a minor thing, but damn. We may have a house full of pink and purple and tutus and flowers and my little ponies, (and you know, vaginas) but we also have BRAINS. And I want my children to USE their brains in any way they want to. Ballerina? Cool. Scientist? Cool. Artist? We’re down with that. Accountant? Whatever makes you come alive, girlfriend. Stay-at-home-mom with a penchant for mild to moderate cussing? Not a bad life, if I do say so myself.
I want you to know, my girls, that I will support you in finding your passions, whatever they may be. No matter what those boys at school say. I’m behind you. Keep your curiousity, your desire for knowledge. Don’t let anyone stop you.
Unless of course you decide to become a Yankees fan. That shit is unforgivable.