As I was playing this multiple choice question game with my son, a question came up with one of the possible answers being “soap on a rope.” He asked what that was. I said it was what it sounded like. But as quickly as I opened my mouth, I realized the kids usually use liquid soap.
I wasn’t sure which was stranger to me, liquid soap or the idea of a bar of soap hanging by a rope. I think the idea was so you could hang the soap up after using it.
I’m assuming it was so the 10 cent brick wouldn’t get lost. And then I flashed back to that horrible moment when soap got in your eyes. And God forbid the soap slid off and landed on a dust ball under the radiator. You could end up spending the rest of your shower, cleaning it off.
And remarkably the soap never seemed to go away. As the pieces got smaller and smaller, they just merged with other pieces of soap that eventually balled up into a regular sized multicolored play dough like object that rested on a wet soap dish.
My son’s only exposure to a bar of soap is limited to the picture book about a boy named “David.” He’s a kid that constanly gets into trouble. I can remember reading the book and trying to skip over the section where David gets soap put in his mouth as punishment. But like the soap on the rope, he eventually asked, “dad, why does David have a bar of soap in his mouth?”
I’ll save that one for another blog entry.
Our lives pretty much revolve around our kids school calendars. At the present time, our life is all about endings.
It’s a weird concept to explain to a kid. You enter school, soccer, lessons, friendships and more in the fall. You transition through fun, frustration, success and failure, and then just when you’re comfortable, it’s time to end. As adults, we know it will all start again. But maybe we’ve forgotten how hard it can be to say good bye.
My youngest son just finished up pre-school and said he’ll miss it. I found myself agreeing it is sad to say goodbye. But I had a harder time explaining how your feelings shift from feeling sad to gradually but surely feeling Ok to eventually even feeling excited about trying something new.
All I know for sure is that even the greatest groups eventually come to an end.
So the pendulum has swung according to today’s NY Times magazine, and now new parents are saying enough with over protecting their children. The backlash is against the idea that parents are so involved with their children and putting them on the track to success.
One criticism is against over scheduling your kids for activities. I for one support this. I don’t think a kid needs or wants to be scheduled every minute of the day. From my own observation, kids look forward to some unstructured time to just let their mind wander, play, and be silly. Especially when they are in the early years of school.
As parents, one of the issues we fail to consider is what do the kids actually need or want. For example, we may love soccer, but the kid is more interested in butterfly’s, because the game may not fun for them. On the other hand, our kids may wish to swing on the swing for long stretches of time and be quite content, and then we interrupt it for a chance for them to maybe hit a ball a few times in little league.
If our game is cancelled on the weekend, my kids would go from swinging, to kicking the soccer ball, to playing music, to playing a computer game, to reading with one of us, to having a jumping party with sofa cushions on the couch, to fighting with one another, making up, and running around the house, literally climbing up the door way, playing a board game, to swinging, and running outside in the sprinkler. The point being they would create ways to have fun.
To me, the question is who is all the activity for- the kids or the parents? From what I’ve observed, there are many middle to upper middle class kids that are just hungry for some down time with their parents. In fact, whenever I’m reading to my kids or hanging out with them near a park, kids will flock around us.
Where are there parents, you might ask? They’re usually on their laptops, Blackberry’s, or on the cell phone. I guess spontaneous, unstructured time with kids is not as much fun…for the parents.
As part of our Memorial day tradition, we have taken to flying kites. It began several years ago when we went to a city wide kite festival near the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. It was an amazing site to see kites of all colors and sizes floating in the sky. There were dragons, box kites, and everything you needed to make a kite and take off.
So yesterday, we met up with some friends along Lake Michigan, and let the fun begin. We were well equipped with our $1.99 kites from Walgreen’s. Some of our friends brought the big Chinese dragon kites. Others had the super powered rocket ships. And one even had a kite that not only flew, but was constructed to sound like a buzzing bee. Some barely got off the ground, but our Walgreen’s kite touched the clouds and seemed very reluctant to come down.
You remember that line from the movie, “Field of Dreams,” “If you build it, they will come.” Wow, is that ever true for kites. Despite open fields, soccer games, and playgrounds; kids from all over came over to watch the kites. They wanted to put them together, touch them, and hold them in flight.
At one point, this very lonely boy, came by and asked to hold the kite. Despite my request that he hold on tight, he, of course let go. However two older boys ran after it in this jumping, laughing, silly manner. They seemed sure they could catch it. But …..the kite flew away.