Monday, August 22, 2005


Well, micromanaging seems an inevitable part of human nature, as my kids have learned little from their own autonomous urges when it comes to our kitten Mr. Buttons. He is just too cute to leave to his own devices, apparently, as they poke, prod, place and generally petrify the poor creature. No amount of, "It looks like he wants to be left alone" can persuade the children to let Mr. Buttons be. A few scratches and a very skittish kitten do little to further persuade. In the meantime, I patiently bandage the scratches and bide my time until the novelty wears off and continue gently to encourage respect for Mr. Buttons' autonomy.

We have recently acquired one of the most fabulous toys ever designed--the frigit. After more than a year-long quest for this toy, which I had seen years ago in a catalog before the kids were old enough to be interested, an online goddess dropped the link in my lap: Frigits. Sam has been enamored with Rube Goldberg machines for more than a year now, and this toy provides exactly the kind of creative fulfillment that the game mousetrap never quite did. Sam has thoroughly enjoyed creating new "machines" by reconfiguring the different frigit pieces, experimenting with pitch and speed. He's made very direct, nearly vertical routes that shoot the marble straight down and very circuitous, horizontal switch-back routes that meander and swirl. Hard to say which provides more satisfaction--satisfyingly different, I would say.

The girls have been writing poems lately, and they've really zoned in on the rhyme and rhythm of language that they've been hearing in song lyrics and the strongly rhyming poetry of Silverstein and riddles we've been reading. They've both offered some samples for me to post on our blog.

Daisies are yellow
The Sun is bright
just like my future ahead of me.

Nature is ahead of me
When I go into my heart.

Pain and suffering is no way to go
As the chimney smoke on the lavender blow.
How can your heart beat when it's beating so slow?

Flowers are blowing and
Flowers are going.
Why can't the flowers just stay when the wind is blowing?

We've also been exploring the sun some more--Em's current online interest--learning about angstroms and light wavelenths. The Sun-Earth Viewer has lots of neat images to click on, showing the sun in different colors based on the wavelength of light. We found a really neat website on frisbee history, an inquiry spurred by our recent family frisbee games. The girls were so excited to find a family connection in the frisbee history--Ultimate Frisbee originated in Maplewood, NJ where dh grew up! Now, that's a small world!

Sam and papa spent the weekend building their first robot together, realizing one of Sam's greatest passions. Dh has been looking for robot kits that would be simple enough to keep Sam's interest but complex enough to be satisfying. His criteria also included that it be a "real" robot not just a remote controlled device. He finally found a couple of kits at Discover This that he felt would be worth trying out, and they arrived this Friday. He and Sam put together the first kit, the "weasel," that can follow walls or a black line on the floor. Sam was in absolute heaven building a robot with his papa! He kept running in to show me the next completed step, the electronic "brain," the wheels. By the end of the weekend, he was doing excited acrobatics over his "weasel," as it followed the black line of electrical tape along the kitchen floor just as it was supposed to do.

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