The girls wanted to try sucking helium from a balloon; they'd seen it done in a movie and wanted to hear how their own voices would sound. I agreed, but told them this was to be a one-time thing. Though there is little, if any, danger in inhaling a small amount of helium from a balloon on a very irregular basis, there is great peril in inhaling helium directly from a tank, climbing inside a giant helium balloon, or constantly inhaling to the point of passing out. I explained all of this to the girls. We also had a chemistry lesson on helium, and a biology lesson on exactly why helium can be dangerous in large and regular amounts. Once I felt certain they understood all of the above, I allowed them to suck a small amount of helium from a blue birthday party balloon.
The girls found their inhalation experience disappointing. Sage's voice didn't change at all (she already speaks in a high-pitched soprano), Alex's voice changed only a bit, and mine changed a moderate amount. The effect lasted perhaps three seconds. Between my lectures on the dangers of doing this more than once and the tiny and quick effect of the heium itself, the girls didn't think this was all that fun.
Hugh arranged for the girls to join an ice-climbing group last weekend. The wonderful Sarah Garlick took care of us.
Here are Sage and Sarah on the ice!
Sage LOVED this experience and can't wait to try it again. Alex is more of a hiker than a climber; she's very nervous about being on a rope. She was grateful for the opportunity to give this a go, however, and she very much enjoyed Sarah's company.
Many thanks to Sarah Garlick for her patient and kind guidance!