This one might be more of a stretch, but I dashed the whole thing off in 30 minutes, so some revision is no doubt in order. Enjoy!
Polly Tope and her Dad
Polly Tope’s father is a physicist.
One afternoon he decided to take her to the swingset to teach her about resonant frequencies. But by the time they arrived, they were both soaked in sweat from the hot sun. Her father tried to explain, but as is well documented, summer is the worst time to teach math outdoors.
“It’s like, you know about, wobbly… wobbles,” he articulated.
Polly smiled politely. “Okay.”
As he was by now very hot, her father decided his lecture had been sufficiently detailed, and that, in the future, Polly should learn to pay better attention.
Polly felt shame at her admonishment as they walked back home.
As Dad slept, Polly went to her computer to learn more about resonant frequencies. But, the Wikipedia page wasn’t designed for seven year olds. She made a note to this effect at the top of the entry.
She mulled it over a bit more and decided to try dad again. He was asleep on the couch.
“SQUAK!” she shouted, hoping to wake him.
He went from sleepy, to somewhat alert, then back to sleepy, then slightly alert, then asleep.
Dad was a very heavy sleeper.
“SQUAK!” she shouted, again.
Again, he went from sleepy, to somewhat alert, to sleepy, to slightly alert, to asleep.
Then Polly had an idea.
“SQUAK SQUAK!” she squakked.
This time, dad went from sleepy, to very alert, then back to sleepy. He muttered something about how this generation doesn’t squak as well as the last one, then rolled over.
Then Polly had a better idea. What if she squakked once to get Daddy to waken, then again just as he was slightly alert? Then he’d be even more awake!
“SQUAK… SQUAK!” she squakked.
On the second squak, Dad was more awake than ever! He muttered something about polite little girls not talking in italics, then rolled over.
Polly could tell she was on to something. What if she were to chain her squaks together at just the right time so that she could keep increasing his wakefullness until it reached the necessary level?
Then began the squaks.
“Squak! Squak! Squak! Squak!” she rhythmically squakked. With each squak, Dad became more alert. He went from sleepy to alert to very alert to awake to confused to angry to yelling about how squak isn’t a word to… well… to being impressed.
“Polly!” he yelled as he picked her up. “You’ve figured out resonant frequency! By yelling at just the right time, you’re storing up the effectiveness of your squaks!
Polly noted the lack of an apparent connection between mathematics and squaking by saying “Nuh uh.”
“Yeah huh!” replied her father excitedly.
By now it was the afternoon and had cooled down. He once again took her to the swingset and placed her in the seat.
He gave her a push, which sent her out, then very out, then back. When she was starting to move forward again, he gave her another push. This time she went even farther out, then closer, then closer, then back. Then, he gave her the same strength of push as she was starting to move forward. Now she went very far.
“You see?!” shouted Dad. By pushing you at the right time, I get you to go farther and farther. “If I pushed you as you came back,” he said as he did so, “you’d just stop.”
And she did. And for the rest of her life, she never forgot. And the only downside was that, to this very day, every time she sees a frequency graph, she hears “squak! squak! squak!” in the back of her head.