Kī tōnu taku waka topaki i te tuna

Grandpa and Friend2

This morning,  Janie and I wrestled a tri-fold foam board festooned with all things New Zealand— including charts, timeline dates, photos, economic facts, phrases in one of the three official languages and a big, green map—in and out of the car, along with a box containing a traditional Māori design, if the Māori culture had ever favored burlap-covered foam board.  The six-page New Zealand Gazette: the Awesomest Kiwi News Evah!* and the thirty-slide PowerPoint project was e-mailed to her teacher Sunday afternoon.

Two glue sticks, twelve sheets of red and blue construction paper, three cartridges of printer ink,** an entire roll of double-sided tape, a photo album of my parents’ precious vacation photos that I carried safely through a snowstorm and back again to scan,*** a brown marker swiped from Sunny’s vast collection, and an adorable stuffed kiwi bird.

Yes, it’s Academic Fair Week.

Jane’s grade did states last year—remember Delaware’s State Macroinvertebrate?  I do.

This year, they’re doing countries, and we all now know more about New Zealand than any non-native on our side of the planet really needs to.

Don’t get me wrong—it’s an amazing place.^  But we’re experiencing the giddy joy of finally checking off everything on the Academic Fair Project List.

All Jane has left is a short class presentation Tuesday and all the rest of us have to do is show up on Academic Fair Night Thursday.^^

The kids will be celebrating a job well done with a skiing day this Friday.

The parents are resting up for next year—My husband and I are especially looking forward to both kids having projects due on the same day.

Until then, E āta inu ana au . . .


*Hey, it’s not our project, it’s Janie’s project.  Which is why the map is . . . not quite how a couple of forty-year-olds would have done it and why my husband and I have bite marks halfway through our tongues.

**New Zealand is a gorgeous country, but does it have to be so green?

***Beat that, Bilbo.

^Jane and I are about ready to pack our bags.  Did you know that New Zealand was the first country to install sign language as an official national language?   And the first (self-governing) country to give women the vote?  And the first country to legislate an 8-hour workday?  Or that the temperature in Central Otago got down to -25.6°C (or about -14°F) in 1903—and there hasn’t been a recorded temperature that low in the country since?   Dude, that last one  alone is almost worth the hassle of expatriating . . .

^^With my laptop, so everyone can see Jane’s PowerPoint show, which includes images of my then-68-year old father (the gentleman being menaced by the Kiwi at the top of this post) bungy jumping off the Kawarau Bridge in 2000.  I’m serious:



8 thoughts on “Kī tōnu taku waka topaki i te tuna

  1. Another project of yours, I mean Janie’s, crossed off the list! My next one, I mean my son’s, is on the coral snake. Good times.
    In the meantime, my youngest has just decided that he is going to be an Olympic snowboarder because it is “epic” and “sick” despite the fact that he has never been skiing or on a snowboard. I spent today researching where there is a little hill around here and couldn’t believe it would cost a hundred dollars a person (oh and yes, there are five of us) for rentals, helmets, a lesson and a day pass…
    Any ideas since you know your way around these ropes, my dear?

    • I can help with the coral snakes—or the facts for them, since I’ve never personally met one and don’t intend to—but I haven’t quite worked out how to turn my non-skating Sunny into an Olympic-grade figure skater, as that is her new dream.

      What if you outline a snowboard on a big piece of paper and have him decorate it during the Olympics, and then ‘practice’ with the athletes on the tube—then get him a skateboard in the spring?

  2. I remember when I was a tyke, I tried to solicit my parents’ help for such projects (mind you, they were A LOT less elaborate than the one your described). Mom (a teacher) would tell me to “Suck it up and do it.”

    “But I’ll faaaaaail!” I whined.

    “Then fail,” Mom replied.

    Ah, the good old days.

    But the project you describe is insane. There is no way parents can be as hands off as mine were once upon a time. Sheesh. Who are we trying to educate here?

    • Honestly, Jane’s teacher set it up so that the kids had plenty of time in class to do the bulk of the work. And Jane did do most of the home stuff, aside from the scanning, the carrying, and half of the double-sided taping (I wish we’d recorded our experience with the stuff—do they still give out $10,000 prizes for that kind of thing?). I did provide the majority of the nagging and the snacks.

      But, yes—we’re a parenthood of enablers. The only reason I can keep my mitts off Jane’s math homework is that I stopped understanding the problems about three months ago . . .

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