Tuesday, June 17, 2008
We went to a homeschool meet-up in a lovely community garden in the East Village last week. P's really been having issues with being around other kids for a month or so and I hoped it would be smooth for him. While most of the kids played ball or tag or dug in the sandpit P wanted to hang out with me under a tree (vividly conjuring images of his father in high school:) There were a couple of home school teens playing tag together and this was what prompted P to interact. He followed them around the garden paths hoping to be included in their giggling shrieks. When the time to go grew near he ventured into the sandbox and tried to ignore the kids around him. Its such a strange stage for such a social kid...
Monday, June 16, 2008
One thing about living in New York, there is Always something to do. Actually, there's always about a million things to do :) But this weekend we had to go no further than our front stoop, as it was the annual Block Party. P has fond memories of the older kids spraying the bejeezus out of him last year when he attempted to join in on their squirter war (and yes, it is actually a fond memory, strangely enough). So he was super psyched for this year's festivities.
It started first thing in the morning with poster painting and bubble blowing. Then the bouncy house went up and all the kiddies went ballistic. It was up for over 2 hours and P spent almost all of those two hours happily bouncing or waiting on line to bounce. Minus the time for the vanilla snow cones a neighbor boy was selling (two were necessary for full hydration). Then the fire truck came and opened our fire hydrant for the kids to run through. They also helped the wee ones clamber all over their truck, little voices announcing over the megaphone "Welcome to 7th street block party. Yayyyyy!!!!"
After a couple changes of clothing and hours of wildness, we dried up to grab some groceries for the pot luck dinner (yes, we like to plan way ahead for things.) The little man promptly fell asleep in his stroller and snoozed his way upstairs and on through a nice nap. When he woke up he was ready for the water gun war taking place below.
E had returned from work and took him downstairs while I cooked. Apparently, P's sweet little turtle squirter didn't quite measure up to the water canons being carried in the street, so E took him down the block to "size up." He came back, happy as a clam, with the last water gun available in the neighborhood. After proudly showing it to me he went back down to join the fray only to find out.... his new shooter didn't shoot. It merely dripped. Crushed, he returned home to bargain over another trip to the store ... only to have the skies open up and the neighbor kids give up the fight for shelter. Ever optimistic, he took his turtle squirter down to the stoop and stood on the edge of the rain, waiting, just waiting for it to stop and the kids to return. It was truly heart wrenching to watch his optimism buoy his patience. The rain finally relented just in time for the pot luck to set up (mass quantities of novel foods totally trumped all thoughts squirter related) , and then started again as everyone served the food :)
P loves nothing more than a giant buffet of new and different foods, and venturing out into the middle of the street during a downpour to fetch these newfangled edibles was so exciting he could hardly contain himself. Watching the rain, we sat on the stoop while P squealed happily over each new morsel. The downpour turned to a drizzle and the reggae band set up for some dancing fun. P was in full swing of neighbor dad addiction by then and E and I spent the rest of the rain-free time pulling him off of other pals (aka sweet, but busy, dads). Its such a hard line to walk. Its fabulous he's so very friendly and social, its just unfortunate (for these dads) his focus is adults... often adults who already have their own kids to care for :) Its also unfortunate that through classroom segregation our society is so agist. (Our neighbor Anna came running over to her dad, asking for back-up because another kid didn't believe she was a second grader and only plays with other second graders.) Vertically socialized home schoolers tend to run in an ageless mass in a nice, natural way. But obviously, the logistics of this in an overwhelmed public school system are impossible to manage.
The brief, music filled dry spell ended and everyone ran for home. P wasn't quite ready for the day to be done, plus he had lost his plate of goodies in the downpour, so we put on our ponchos and puddle jumpers and waded through the flooded street in play search of stranded delicacies. Our plans for the Brooklyn Bridge fireworks had gone down the drain, but the day had been so full we didn't even miss it.
Our good friends, Shane and Tom, came over to hang out a week ago. Poor P. He, of course, assumed they were here to see him (epicenter of the universe that he is :) He could quite do without his same age peers on most days (total dears that they are!) but is always over the moon when his older pals stop by. Shane and Tom sweetly obliged some toy time, positively Making P's weekend. He was so pleased with their play, in fact, that as we planned our trip to the fireworks this weekend P told me to make sure and invite Uncle Seth, Uncle Shane and Uncle Tom :)
One of the days the heat index hit a hundred we retreated to the American Museum of Natural History with Yoav. P wanted one more go at the dinos before we went to Kansas, and the massive amounts of cold air sounded fabulous to me. The kids wandered around in the cool dark space filled with African animals, and it was nice :) We eventually made it to the whale room (of course!) but never made it to the whale. The ocean entry is flanked by two large walls filled with funky taxidermy. P has quizzed me on these critters for 2 years and I haven't made much headway on the nametagless names yet... This time we spied a guy tapping around on a computer screen, so P took a turn tapping. Lo and behold, there was a map of the wall with a fantastic interface of information. It was so exciting to watch him figure out that the map on the computer matched the sea life on the walls. And to then figure out how to navigate the screen animals to determine the names of the wall creatures.
Next we hit the horses exhibit, which, quite honestly, was a bit of a bore for the boy. With the noticeable exception of three parts: The trotting horse, the photos of which created a movie when a wheel was spun and the spinner looked through the slots. And the pooping horse. This, this was amazing. There was a huge screen that showed a life size horse. While the horse looked like a video (very real) the insides were superimposed on the video image. So when a women fed the video horse, you could watch the food go through the horse. Aaaaall the way through the horse. The third wow moment was the sculpture horse by Deborah Butterfield (a gorgeous bronze cast from carefully chosen driftwood pieces). P was so inspired by this that he's determined to find wood on the farm to make one for Grams and Gramps, horse lovers that they are :) Apparently that pooping horse really stuck with him too. Just this morning (a week later) he suddenly asked how horses poop ball shapes. Its funny to think that question has been rattling around in his head for the last week...
Saturday, June 14, 2008
The super sweet twins invited us to Rockaway Beach in an attempt to escape the heat wave last week. Inspired by the options a car affords, P packed everything but the kitchen sink and away we went.
I wasn't so sure sitting in the sun during a heat wave would be comfortable, but Leslie was right. It was breezy and beautiful at the beach, a balmy 85. It was warm enough to really enjoy the water and cool enough to dig in the sand. The kids were Thrilled.
Two boys, maybe about 5 or 6, played close by in the surf. P watched them jump the waves for a while with that, now familiar, determined look growing in his eyes. And then he let go of my hand, the one he had been holding Very Tightly, and took off in the water. He ran round and round, jumping and smiling. Every once in a while an unusually big wave would sneak up and his look would go from determined to a wee bit frantic :) but there was still a self satisfied smile in there too. It made me realize how easy it is to not know someone. To anyone else he would have looked like some kid just running willy nilly in the waves. But there was so much more going on for him right then. As he ventured further and further down the beach from me, savoring the guts it took to enjoy that independence, the mild danger he felt he was fighting, I could see him growing. And I couldn't help but wonder at everything I'm missing below the surface of each person I pass every day. P eventually felt so fortified by his frolics he wanted to change into his suit with floaties and float in the ocean. A huge wave and a couple of rays brushing past our legs ended that plan rather quickly, but his sense of adventure was left intact for next time...
The day eventually grew a bit steamy and teens flocked to the shore to escape their dull, end of year studies. We gathered up all of the sandy toys and children (minus one digger that P waxes poetic about whenever he is tired) and headed home. As we whizzed through Brooklyn the car's thermometer measured 109 outside. Thank god for friends and the beach :)
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
P's Aunt Alicia (well, she'll Officially be Aunt in just a couple of weeks!) is finally in Brooklyn, and the kid is thrilled. The only thing better than Seth is Seth And Alicia :) We spent last Friday in the park hanging out with her and had a blast. There was tree climbing, frisbee throwing, witch's brew brewing, bat swinging, chasing, tickling and even some duck, duck, goosing thrown in (Yoav was there too.) I'm thinking P would very much like Two mums :) When P wasn't busy jumping on Alicia he was battling his buddy Yoav with the bats they found in the grass. Fortunately, this sword fight was wound/tear free.
The next day we finally had our scooter trek with Uncle Seth. Good sport that she is, Alicia joined us, despite the record heat. We took an easy trip downhill for a few avenues and then had the brilliant idea to just Keep Going all the way to Redhook. Needless to say, in 100 degrees without a map of any sort, this didn't prove to be the best approach to a hot Saturday, but we all had some sweaty fun. Leaving the rest of Redhook to a cooler weekend, we jumped the train to find some fabulous hummus and then headed home to hide inside and wait for Hades to pass over...
Playgroup was in Williamsburg, E's and my old stomping ground, last week. Its such a happy, healthy little group! The kids buzzed around the space, jumping in the paddling pool, building train sets, bouncing on balls, running nekid and hanging with the mums. A sit on scooper, giant ball and bouncing horse captured most of Phoenix's afternoon. He had a fantastic time, despite his recent reticence to peer play, and left loving a number of other mamas :)
We received some cosmos seeds in some random mailer. P was thrilled at this unexpected gift and quite stoked to plant them in our vast garden, er, um, fire escape pot. He was very helpful, in the traditional sense, for the first 2 minutes. Then he was sidetracked by the bag of peatmoss and all of its innate possibilities. I reached out the window to grab another pot and turned back to see he had created a table length dirt road for his truck :) Then as we watered in the little seeds he decided to help again. A small splash for the seeds quickly became a rain shower on his dirt road. As I yelped in surprise he smiled up innocently "I'm just helping you wash the table mama."
I expected verrrry little from these free seeds, but whalah! A few civil wars with the pigeons later and we have a whole crop of cosmos growing green out our window.
Last week, before our ickysticky heat wave, P wanted to take Baby Brother for a walk in the woods with his stoop stroller. He makes lots of gnashing and growling sounds so BB can be "scared out of his monster suit," maliciously chuckling all the while. The leaves lay heavy on the ground and held the previous day's rain underneath. This scent was unappealing to the little man, so we retreated up hill to a log for snail hunting. We found no snails (a three week hunt has yet to produce a single snail!) but slugs and worms galore. He's soooo drawn to poking and prodding, and not in a gentle way, lately. I finally asked him what he was trying to achieve. He said he wanted to hurt the worm, so he could see what happens if he hurts something. I'm not sure if he means it in a blood and goo sort of way, or a karmic repercussions kinda way, but he certainly has an agenda. Poor worms. Budding surgeon or sociopath?
Monday, June 9, 2008
Thursday, June 5, 2008
I've been longing to hit my favorite paper supply store in the city (hoping to find a little time to draw) but P hasn't been feeling it;) Then, inspired by some animal crackers his rocket shooting pals brought to the park, he was hot to trot to Trader Joe's - which just happens to be 2 blocks from the art store. Yay!
We made a nice day of it, wandering up St. Marks and trying on the goofy sunglasses and jewelry. Then, with a tub of Trader Joe's Animal crackers in hand we braved the art store together. Small aisles full of pretty colored tubes and doodads, with a three year old in tow, is generally my idea of a nightmare. But P charmed the paper lady and we made it out without too many dirty looks :)
Since it takes us the better part of the day to get out of the house (so many games to play and foods to eat before leaving!) we decided to spend what was left of the afternoon in the city to meet E after work. Union Square park was shady and green so we snacked there until he revived his strength for the playground. He tentatively played with a little girl and then swung for forever screaming "I'm on a rocket to the moon!!!!" over and over again.
When I was fairly sure no one could take anymore moon talk I suggested a change of venue. Would he like to push some buttons and listen to music? (Button pushing being an all time fave.) So we hung out at Virgin and did a little music appreciation until E was ready to eat. As we left the lovely jazz section the pounding beat of a rap song caught P's booty and he started shaking it, despite the fact he was balancing on my scooter. His hair in tails, his racer glasses on, smiling face to the ceiling, bouncing his butt for all it was worth as he was scooted through Virgin, I had to laugh at his freedom.
After dinner we walked over the bridge. I don't know if P was just trying to elongate the evening or if he truly is suddenly captivated by how bridges are built, but he wanted to read every placard, asking a million questions about the Brooklyn beauty. As we entered Brooklyn P spied an Otterness sculpture we hadn't noticed before. He Loves this artist and insisted on spreading his love all over the enormous bronze until the sun set.
Sunday, June 1, 2008
After a looooong social dry-spell, I was finally able to lure P out of the house to meet some playgroup pals. He said he'd go, but he wouldn't play with anyone :) True to his word, he chatted with the grown-ups (some old friends of mine popped by for a bit) and played by himself. But he couldn't help but enjoy the stomp rocket Dez and Nini brought. After the other kids were done playing with it he wandered over to give it a go. He didn't have quite enough stomp in him to shoot it by foot, but made it fly by drop-sitting. Over and over and over again :)
And, is it just E and I, or does P look about 10 in that picture?