Helena is sick. Last night she had a fever, very unsual, and at one point she woke up but was still dreaming and said something to me about making boats out of clay. She has been wanting to make boats for ages… we mean to make a raft, it was on our list of goals for the year. Every now and then she repeats questions, the most common one is “Why am I me?” the next most common is “Why does a boat float when lighter stones sink?” – something along those lines. The boat making idea has been talked about a bit more recently. I figured that if she’s dreaming about it it must be some kind of Important. Today I helped her make it happen, she can do what she wants most of the time but she hadn’t started anything.. too big?
We talk about what we will need. She just wants the ‘bits and bobs box,’ currently actually a draw, which is FULL of rubbish. When I say rubbish I mean rubbish, stuff other people chuck… used straws, pipe cleaner bits (no whole ones) styrofoam bits, the odd button, used ice block sticks etc. It is also where we keep not such rubbishy rubbish such as pompoms, split pins etc.
Helena is reluctant to commit to any plan/idea. She absolutely just has to have the whole draw. The first thing she gets (I’m getting the large heavy drawer) is a pan with water in it. I use the water as she troops through the house and she gets the hose so we can fill it up outside. She still wont start. I have to start too, I don’t remember what I started before “needing” to do er something else. She is busy for hours.
She finds out “that things with air trapped in them float best, or cup shaped with air in them, most of my things are just full of air”. “Styrofoam, bubble wrap, corks, straws and flax wood float really well.”
I find out that in the presence of a hot glue gun no other methods are used for putting bits together. I am going to get rid of the glue gun.
There were outriggers, a balloon powered boat, one with 3 masts (didn’t float), a straw raft, and things made with foam.
Her grandfather checks out her boats and makes one out of a flax stalk. Then at lunch time he answers her question. The Ferry floats because it has air trapped inside it. For every litre of water displaced by the boat (shape) it can take another kilo of weight.
I start envisioning tests to check this theory.
Helena takes her raft to her swimming lesson that she is apparently well enough to go to. I let her. The tears if I said no would be more detrimental than a cold pool.
Maybe we should get on with this raft lark.
Next morning out come the boats and in her authoritative voice she tells me all about them proudly.
Here they are all lined up for their one minute turn complete with a commentary or song.