Friday, April 07, 2006

How to Make a Model Volcano (but Good Luck Explaining Why Anyone Would Make a Real One)

Here's how you make a volcano: When creating the world, leave openings on the earth's surface for molten lava to escape, burying whole towns, like Pompeii, in a day.

No not that kind of volcano. Here's how to make a fake volcano:

1. In a small container, like a yogurt carton, put a spoonful of baking soda. You can measure an exact amount if it makes you feel scholarly, or dump in the whole box and curse it when you're unable to bake cookies or deoderize your refrigerator later in the week. It really doesn't matter (but don't blame me if you lose an eye in the course of this experiment. The pursuit of scientific knowledge requires certain sacrifices.)

2. Arrange the perilous situation you want to create. For instance, you can surround the container with rocks or a mountain made of play dough. Your kids will want to place dinosaurs or animals in harm's way so that they can run for dear life when the lava flow begins. Feel free to narrate all this like an Animal Kingdom announcer: "The dinosaurs sense danger, but face a difficult choice: Kronosaur-infested waters to the north or hot lava to the south."

3. Add vinegar (you can dye it red with food coloring to make it look more realistic.) Again, the amount you add is inconsequential. Are you having chili tonight? Then don't add the whole bottle. You'll want it for that extra kick.

4. Watch the lava flow as your kids make sure the animals outrun the disaster. Say, "This time, the brontosauruses find safety in the water. They live to die another day."

5. Your son will ask, "What makes volcanos happen?" You find this explanation in Animals and Nature, by Janine Amos and Andrew Solway, 1995, Scholastic, Inc. and Two-Can Publishing Ltd: "Volcanoes are holes, or vents, that go down through the earth's hard crust to the hot liquid layer below. When some volcanoes erupt, liquid rock and ash pour out and pile up around the volcano, forming a mountain in just a few years." Actually, that's how mountains form. But good enough. Time for lunch.

6. Not so fast. Next, your son will ask, "Why does God let volcanos happen?" You know you're in trouble when your child's whats turn to whys. But your college philosophy and theology classes should come in handy, right? There was the theory that nature had not yet reached perfection. And the one that said God created the world, gave it a spin, and left it the hell alone. And the one that everything happens for a reason. But the problem is, you never bought any of those theories. You never heard a theory that sounded plausible, so you finally you stopped thinking about it. So what to say? How to avoid the unsatisfactory, "I don't know."

7. "I don't know," you say. And you start thinking about it again.

8. You look around your own house and wonder why you let this disaster happen. Someone blew their nose on the roll of toilet paper and left the snotty part hanging there. And there are chocolate cake crumbs on your bed sheet and neither you nor your husband eats in bed so you can only conclude that ants carried them there. The baby's onesy looks like a dirty dustmop. In fact, ever since he started crawling, he has been your mop, poor little thing. But you're too busy applying bandaids and pouring glasses of milk and breaking up fights and drying tears and researching the cause of volcanos (and watching T.V. and writing in your blog) to do something about it.

9. Does God feel this way? you wonder. When he made time, did he subject himself to it? So that he has to prioritize like the rest of us. And housekeeping goes by the wayside because there is always something more pressing to do. He never quite gets a chance to repair the holes on the earth's surface because he's too busy taking care of people. Answering prayers. Mending wounds. Breaking up fights. Watching T.V. Blogging. Well, maybe not the last two.

10. But that can't be it because dirty floors don't hurt anyone and volcanos do. You still don't know the answer.

How to make a volcano is so easy to understand. Why anyone would make one is beyond me.


Anonymous Pat said...

You are so funny! I laughed several times at this one! I love that God is busy blogging and that JJ has been your mop since he started scooting! And I love that your answer to "Why?" is never "because I told you so!"

8:53 AM  
Anonymous mary said...

Yor kids are lucky that Mom
takes the time to make a volcano
for them! You're a great Mom Bridge!

10:07 AM  

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