Friday, April 24, 2009

4/24/09 Crafty Boys

After swim lessons today, the boys and I picked up Katrina and got home at a nice early 4:45pm. I was all set to change into my frumpies, snag a chocolate snack, start dinner and burrow in at home....but Gabriel was all excited about a wooden craft project he'd just finished. The boys had both done one they'd received as party favors and really liked them.

I commented idly that these wooden craft projects were easy to get at Michael's, and Gabriel asked excitedly if we could get some more. "Sure," I said. Then a parallel spirit quantum-leaped into my body and said, "Let's go!" "RIGHT NOW?!" he asked, incredulous. Mom never says "right now" unless it's about following one of her orders. "Yup, right now!!" My pajama dreams evaporating in a sudden flameburst of Good-Momness, I piled the crew into the car, and off we went to indulge in some materialistic consumerism. The boys were beside themselves.

These wooden craft projects are small and cheap, but the boys have a great time with them. And, they were on sale, for 79 cents, down from $1. Fun doesn't get any cheaper than that. Gabriel picked a biplane, and Julian picked a military boat, and they both immediately got down to business when we got home.

(BM & PP, you'll recognize these projects: Julian did a similar tractor while you were here.)

Like how they're set up in our "formal" dining room? Clearly, this is not a space devoted to storing china that no one ever uses. Seeing our one dining table covered in tablecloths, paint and glue brings me far more joy than a perfectly presented "formal" dining area anyway. It's so much more alive this way.

That said, the kids really do need a craft table, but there's a small impediment to that: "glue girl." Paint, glue and cups of painty water in reach of crafty little sister with a propensity to confuse Elmer's for body lotion says that the dining room table is a fine place for craft projects. Even it means we can't eat on it.

But the boys' new devotion to crafts meant that Katrina very very VERY happily played outside by herself, not screaming or crying once in almost an hour of very very VERY happily toddling about without any interference from brothers. This made Mom very very VERY happy.

And oh JOY! A new freedom!! She can open the sliding door to the backyard and let herself in and out! I can cross "doorman" off my Mom resume!

The boys are having a terrific time with their swim lessons. Their favorite part is at the end, when they have five minutes of fun time, but they're both smiling and greatly enjoying the time in-between too. And I think they're even learning to swim in the process.

I'm increasingly impressed at how well some kids -- younger than Gabriel, even -- swim. These lessons are a far cry from my days holding onto the edge and kicking to nowhere. I can already see how much more comfortable the boys both are in the water, though I also saw Julian fall off the mat during playtime and the teacher have to pull him out. They're still a ways off from being water-safe, but this is a great start, and they're loving it.

Julian and his classmates, lined up like little ants, awaiting the fun time as their stylish teacher sets up.

The "magic carpet" during playtime. Gabriel's class did the same thing this time (playtime activity is different every week) right next to Julian's class, so I captured both classes. Wow, I even captured the moment in which Julian fell off and his teacher pulled him out -- no emergency (at about 00:33 in the video). They're both having a great time (each boy is on the far left side of each mat). The "magic carpet" play is a little more advanced in Gabriel's class, where the teacher rolls the kids off the mat; Julian's teacher mostly pulls them around. They both love it.

As I see it, this isn't just play -- it's using their new skills without even realizing it, incorporating them into fun, and rounding out their general water competence. Call me old-fashioned, but I'm convinced that the hours my sister and I spent jumping off truck innertubes into our pond upstate was an essential part of our water-learning. And FUN! Please, let's not forget fun amidst all this learning!

I thought I'd be bored waiting half an hour during the swim lesson, but actually, I can't quit smiling at all those childhoods unfolding in the pool around me.


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