Friend H brings a paper airplane and an instructional book with her this week.
We use it while she’s at school to create airplanes for the boys.
Little J draws on a square piece of paper and I fold it up to make a “rocket plane with green fire.”
I remember this book we have on our shelves, that has directions on how to make a paper airplane, hat and boat.
So we go to the river with some very thin paper, the book, bathing suits and towels…it’s the last hot day of the year. I can feel it in the air, in my bones, in the fact that it’s already fall and how much longer can this last, really? We have to take advantage of this while we can.
We walk into the water, where the current starts to push just a little and let the boats go. We watch it go over some rapids and disappear. The paper is very thin and will decompose very fast. It almost starts to melt in my fingers as I shape it. We talk a little bit about decomposition.
As we walk along the river back to the car, we look for evidence of paper boats and find nothing.
Baby food jars make GREAT paint containers. I know, they’re made of glass and all that. But, they have a lid, they are transparent and they’re so attractive when lined up and full of colors. When I was a teacher, we also used these containers, even with some young toddlers.
Little K and I want to set up an outdoor painting area with a new/old easel. We take all the jars and lids we can round up and fill them with lots of different colors. I pour the paints, put the caps on and give them to Little K so he can shake them up. We talk about the jars being made of glass and that we should use them with gentle hands because they will break if dropped.
I set up some paper and Little K takes 4 jars, each with its own paintbrush. He chooses 2 shades of pink, a true green and a very dark red. Little K starts to paint.
Little K: A little house you can go inside, and this is your room and this is your bed.
Little J and Friend A have school together on Monday Wednesday and Friday mornings. I usually pack a lunch, and we hang out on the playground for a while before going home. We sneak into the school to use the bathroom when we stay too long, and on the way to the bathroom, there is a process table full of whole corn. The boys would stay here forever if I let them. I ask the teacher where she buys the corn…the Tractor Supply store in town. A huge bag only costs about $12. You can buy it and share with a friend if you have a small process table, or something comparable.
We talk about the plan to buy the corn and put it in the process table for a few days until I have time to go out and actually buy the bag, so there is a sense of anticipation. We finally have the bag and need to clean out the process table, which has old play dough in it. We finally get the corn in the clean table.
The kids bury anything they can in the corn…fingers, hands, arms up to the elbow, their heads…they don’t stop there. They start to climb into the tub, which is not very big, so I take out the tub and place it directly on the pavement of the driveways.
I ask them to sit on the driveway and put their feet in the table. They want to SWIM in the corn, so I ask them to take 5 minute turns in the tub.
They move onto putting other things in the tub. Cars, containers, bears…
Friend H starts delivering little parcels of corn to “neighbors,” like she is a milk man. Friend A finds some train tracks and cargo cars and fills the little vehicles with corn, pretending it’s gas.
Quick warning…if you find this corn, decide to buy it, decide to put it in a container for the kids and they love it…you will find the corn everywhere…in the undies, in the couch cushions, in the grass. Be forewarned. This is a HAPPY MESS.
Forts and Tornadoes and Volcanoes and Books and Bored Games
It’s a rainy couple of days. This does not stop us from playing outside.
We also spend some time indoors building forts. I’m sure there will be a lot of this play as the weather grows cold and snowy. The boys use every pillow, bean bag chair, blanket and gymnastic mat they can lug to one spot between 2 couches. They are master fort architects. They use their energy to make a shelter from volcanoes and tornadoes.
“There’s a volcano and it’s going to explode any minute. I bashed it down. Here comes the “tomado” (he means tornado)…Get another hatch. It’s almost here. It’s right now. Operating the bringers! The “tomados” are quick!
The boys designate jobs to each other. There’s a fixer, fixes the roof. There’s a tornado watcher and there’s someone that operates the roof levers.
“Off duty,” down time…reading books in their shelters.
I am a very big fan of Freecycle. Last week someone posted free games for young children. We picked them up just in time for our rainy day. Barnyard Bingo, A fish catching game, sesame street memory and some puzzles…no pieces were missing! The boys made up rules and created ways to use all the parts to the games. We also played by the rules, but mostly the boys had more fun when they played freely.
Playing the guitar is on my list of things I’d love to do. For the holidays last year, Big K bought me a guitar paired with a birthday promise for lessons.
I’ve started my lessons this fall, so far learning 5 chords and 11 songs. My middle three fingers on my left hand have a nice layer of calluses from practicing Baby Beluga for the boys.
I have the guitar set up on a stand in the living room, mostly so I can remember to play it when I get a chance. Another spectacular reason to have it out all the time, is that the boys become familiar with the instrument as well. I let them touch it and play it under my close supervision. They help me practice by strumming while I make chord changes.
They are inspired. Little J makes requests for songs, I’m finding Little K singing more often and Friend A likes to play each string one at a time, ending with a nice round “strum” of all the strings together.
The boys also gather around to draw a still life of the guitar.
Notice the frets, the strings, the curves of the wood, the picks, and of course, the rainbow-y music on the side. I hope that the music that comes out of this guitar, some day sounds as good as those rainbow rhythms look.
Here is a list of the chords and songs I’ve learned:
A, D, G, Em, and C
Already Gone, The Eagles
Blowin in the Wind, Bob Dylan
Brown Eyed Girl, Van Morrison
Crocodile Rock, Elton John
Heart of Gold, Neil Young
Helpless, Neil Young
I’ve Just Seen a Face, Beatles
Reason to Believe, Rod Stewart
Sweet Home Alabama, Lynyrd Skynyrd
Turn the Page, Bob Seger
Wonderful Tonight, Eric Clapton
While these are not the songs I’d choose for myself, they utilize all the chords I’ve learned.
My next goal is to learn songs from my favorite artists… Like: Feist, Madeleine Peyroux, Jack Johnson, Ben Harper, Patti Griffin, Tracy Chapman or if I’m really ambitious, the classically trained, Indigo Girls.
Here is a great website for finding the chords to favorite songs.
I signed little J up for his first season of soccer.
He has great physicality, balance and coordination. He loves to run around with friends. I thought it was a great idea.
Collected all the shin guards, cleats, size 3 ball, etc…He LOVED this stuff! Didn’t want to take it off. I think he slept with the shin guards for a couple of nights. He was so excited it was contagious. We had to get Little K the gear too.
We get to his first practice. We bring lots of family with us. Little J’s cousins, Aunt, Uncle, Nana and Papa.
He doesn’t want to play. He doesn’t want to wear the team shirt. The only way he participates is if we go on the field with him.
The hour of practice is split in halves. The first half, the team plays silly technical games with coaches. The second half, teams play scrimmages.
We watch the scrimmage.
When practice is over, we picnic with the fam and play lots of soccer with cousins and Uncles.
Little J says he has a fun morning when asked.
The second practice, he refuses to practice at all.
So we’ll watch.
He will play and enjoy it more, when he’s ready.
Did I do the right thing in signing him up for soccer?
Did I do the right thing to play with him and let him watch?
Should we just give up on the soccer thing for now or go and watch every practice?
What’s stopping him, I wonder?
Let me know what all you folks think out there…
Here are some books we found that I hope help us out a little…
This is story where the Daddy encourages his little soccer playing son to just have fun with the game.
The other is a story about a boy that gets frightened during soccer games but is a very good player.
Soccer Cousins by Jean Marzollo
We’ll be taking this to the next practice to read while, possibly, sitting on the sidelines.
“I don’t have to put a coat on because I’m a bad guy.
I can scare the wind with bad words.
I’m gonna say heery pocus
and the wind will freeze up
and pop and it will break.
and this house will all break.
I like houses breaked.”
We have a great little shelf with hooks in a central room of the house where I can arrange toys.
Lately, I set up anything remotely considered a hero tool for the boys to use during rescue play.
They run around the house with as many of the tools as they can carry.
I can tell, these tools give them more special powers for saving people from jail.
Friend H: I am an invisible spy pirate. This compass has a button that makes you invisible.
Here is a list of the stuff I put on the shelf:
The boys have a wild morning, so excited to be spending time together. I suggest some play dough play while little K is sleeping and the activity instantly zens them out.
I set up on the table, a huge mound of play dough, rolling pins and 2 scrapers for cutting and scraping. It doesn’t take a minutes before they add vehicles to the mix. They ask before adding every car, making sure not to use the really “good” cars. They make track marks in the play dough with the wheels.
Then, using a small fork lift, they burry a car with small bits of play dough, adding it little by little until the car can’t be seen.
They spend a lot of time protecting the buried car and finally “find it.”
Among all the very many truck books we own, this is among one of the top 3. The boys always giggle when we read this one.
Trucks Go by Steve Light
A delightful read with simple, colorful watercolor illustrations paired with silly word plays that describe the sounds of many vehicles.
Friend A says that our car ramp is too plain and that it needs color.
So we decide to paint the ramp in the driveway.
Each boy picks his color paint and paintbrush.
Aprons on, we cover the ramp with color, insuring that there is no way anyone can call it boring.
While we wait for the ramp to dry in the sun, we fill the process table with dish soap and water from the hose.
The paintbrushes and cups are added to the mix. The boys sploshing in the water cleans them better than the traditional way.
The water turns green.
I unplug the hose that lets the water out of the process table, and we make a river that runs into a lake.
The boys spend about 40 minutes filling cups, dumping it in the river and lake, driving cars through. They are in kid heaven.
Papa’s got a boat, and he wants to take us to the sand bars.
So instead of marching off to the beach, we climb in the boat, take a 15 minute ride, and we are in paradise, where the water gently deepens, holding us up like a hammock.
So I had a mental list of things I wanted to make time for when we went to Key West. 1. Lie on the hammock with my book. 2. Drink a good mojito. 3. Make it to Blue Heaven, my favorite restaurant.
I never made it on the hammock…mostly because there was some nap strikes going on.
But that was OKAY! Because I found the sand bar paradise, with the big blue skies, warm waters and cool breezes. I could share this peace with the boys.
Our ride home, the boys fall asleep.