I’ve been sensing a shift in Esmé’s project focus lately. It made sense to set aside her entomology work when the weather turned and it got colder and many of her beloved bugs became harder to find, but there was more to it this year. Instead of a sense of loss, which happened last fall, there were new interests percolating.
Remember the DED MAWS? That sparked a new interested in dissection, which is moving forward with the homeschool dissection class coming up at the aquarium this month.
But more to it, and more particularly, Esmé’s interest is narrowing to pathology. What killed the mouse? Was it bacteria? Was it a virus?
She’s always had a fascination with sickness and ill-health, and in particular, the causes of such. Now though, she’s honed in on a particular area of interest. So much so that I think I can safely say that it’s her new project.
The other day, when we were sweeping leaves in the co-op courtyard with a neighbour, the neighbour asked Esmé how her insect studies were going.
“I’m not studying bugs anymore,” Esmé announced as she held the dustpan for her. ”I’m studying viruses now.”
“Oh?” The neighbour swept a pile of leaves onto Esmé’s dustpan. ”What sort of viruses?”
“All of them.” Esmé dumped her load of leaves into the bin. ”Starting with the ebola virus. That’s the worst one. It makes you bleed out your eyeballs. Do you know why it’s called Ebola?”
And our neighbour did, from back in the eighties, and the onset of the AIDS epidemic.
“Yes,” our neighbour answered. “From the river in Africa.”
“You KNOW that?” Esmé was so impressed that she dropped the dustpan. ”How do you know that?”
“I read it in a book, I believe. Called And the Band Played On.” The neighbour raised her eyes to me, for help.
“I want to read that book.” Esmé said. And then to me, “Can we get it from the library?”
“There’s lots to learn about viruses,” I said. ”All in good time. That’s a good one for when you’re a bit older.”
“Oh,” Esmé said. And then to the neighbour, “Want to see my picture of it?” She ran inside to get it.
When she was gone, I said, “It’s a bit of a challenge to keep some of this age-appropriate. Bugs were a lot easier.”
“I bet,” the neighbour said. And then, when Esmé came back with her picture. ”That is one beautiful looking virus. Tell me more about it.”