July 3rd, 2008

They say a bad day fishing is better than a good day at work. I didn’t go fishing today, but I didn’t go to work either

For the second year in a row Isaiah has attended a summer science program put on by the local school district. For a few weeks the kids spend Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:45 am to 1 pm doing science-ish activities and going on field trips. Today was the last day of this summer’s program and they had planned to have a picnic at the park with parents invited so I had taken the day off to attend. Being Thursday, I’d also have the opportunity to go to Play Pals with Elsie- something I don’t get to do nearly as often as I’d like.

Though it had stormed pretty well last night, it was cool and dry this morning with clear sky, but the grass was still a bit wet and we didn’t know whether the picnic would be at the park or if a backup plan would be in effect. We soon discovered when we dropped him off that the picnic in the park had been converted to lunch in the cafeteria due to the wet grass and possibility of more rain.

From there, Ruth, Elsie, Gideon, and I went to Play Pals. I wish we could have found somebody to watch Gideon during Play Pals, but I think all Ruth’s relatives were busy so he went along. He could have behaved a little better, but I tried to be patient with him because it’s a difficult environment for him. I generally try to cut him a little more slack than the other kids because he’s the middle child. He’s too little to do the big kid stuff with Isaiah and too big to play with the little kid stuff Elsie is interested in. It’s hard for him at Play Pals because not only does he want to do something while he’s there, but he went to Play Pals when he was younger. So not only is he a little too big for the climb-on ride-on toys, but he’s comfortable in a familiar environment that he doesn’t fully realize is not his place anymore.

All things, considered he could have been better, but he was OK. Elsie, of course had a blast as always and I had a good time watching her do one of the daytime things I generally just get to hear about. She is as active as 14 month old Isaiah and 14 month old Gideon put together! She’s always in motion, crawling, moving, climbing. She really likes to climb. The little dress she had on today, did not lend itself well to her attempts to scale the toddler size ramps and steps, but that didn’t stop her from making numerous valiant efforts. After all the paying customers had a chance to make one with Ms. Amy the Play Pals teacher, I helped Gideon make an American flag with star stickers and red fingerprint stamps for stripes. Unfortunately I discovered the hard way that I had the wrong memory card in the camera and was only to take a few pictures before it was full. On the other hand, the card in the camera was mostly full of pictures of Elsie at Play Pals on previous days and not being able to take pictures of my own enabled me to forget about fooling with the camera and spend time enjoying my rare time there. When we got in the van I noticed that the odometer read 155544. I made a mental note to watch the mileage closely because I’d have an opportunity that day to photograph an interesting number sometime today.

Play Pals runs from 9 am to 10 am and we’d been told that parents could show up at the (no longer really a picnic) picnic anytime after 10:30, so we went by the house to get a different memory card for the camera and then went to the middle school (in the building I went to high school in) to see what was going on at the science program.

Not too much was going on there, actually. Some kids were playing board games in the cafeteria where we would be eating, but Isaiah was not among them. We ventured through the halls and found him coming out of the gym with a friend named Steven. One of the program personnel then began hearding everybody from the gym and the computer lab back down to the other end of the building where a movie was playing in the auditorium.

It was kind of interesting to see the inside of the Main building of what used to be Alton High School. I hadn’t been in it in over twenty years. I was surprised how little it had changed, but then change is not a strong point of our American educational system. The auditorium also had not changed- but it was very much the same as I am sure it has been since long before I was there. In fact my maternal grandfather went to school in that building way back when it was new and I’d bet the only very noticable feature that had changed since then were the new seats.

Down front the kids were arrayed in front of a projector screen upon which a small LCD projector was showing an unmentionably nauseating “movie” I later learned was called ‘High School Musical 2’ or something like that. I knew Isaiah and his buddy Sam sitting with the other kids were enjoying it no more than any of the rest of us. Ruth, Elsie, Gideon and I were sitting near the back of the auditorium just kind of waiting around.

After a while it was time to go down to the cafeteria for the (non) picnic. Isaiah was already in line, so I told him to save spots for us when he sat down. He and his buddies Steven and Sam (who he went to preschool with) got a table against near the wall by themselves so there were seats for us. The lunch was school cafeteria hamburgers, an apple, a small bag of doritos, a juice ro milk, and a small cup of ice cream. The hamburgers were surprisingly good (though small) and the ice cream was not-surprisingly good. Elsie especially enjoyed the ice cream I fed to her. I asked the boys what they had learned and they did a good job of recounting several of the projects they did with details- things like making paper and a biosphere.

The program lasted till the regular time of 1 pm so I asked Isaiah if he wanted to stay or go with us.

“Where are you going,” he asked.


“What are you going to do?”

“Uh, nothing. We’re just going home.”

“In that case I’ll stay here.”

At home Elsie did a good job of NOT taking a nap. We were just being at home for a while when I had the idea to capitalize on our time without Isaiah to give Gideon a little extra attention. I asked him if he’d like to come sit on my lap and watch some videos on the computer with me. We ate Ritz crakcers and drank some soda while watched a few episodes of The Trap Door (snived from YouTube) and several more episodes of The Cheap Show before it was time for me to pick up Isaiah.

When we got back home I told Isaiah to sit right down and write a blog post while the science program was still fresh in his mind. He grumbled a bit, but agreed it was a good idea and sat down to work. Elsie was asleep in her play yard in the family room and Gideon was playing in the play room while Isaiah labored at the keyboard. I was sanding fins for the model rocket I am scratchbuilding on the dining room table. After Ruth had been gone a few minutes I noticed things seemed kind of quiet. I asked Isaiah if he thought some music would help him writing his post and he said he thought he would. When I asked him if he thought electro music or heavy metal would be better. He said heavy metal would be better because it’s cool, so I started up a Pandora channel and turned it up so I could hear it about ten feet away at the dining room table, but not loud enought to damage his young ears.

We were rocking out (and Isaiah was almost done with his post) when Ruth got home and asked the same question she always does when she goes shopping and we have the music on when she gets home:

“Don’t you think it’s a little loud?”

To which I invariably reply:

“What? WHAT?” while cupping my hand to my ear.

Elsie was still fast asleep and closer to the speakers than I was, so I figured it was not too loud.

After Isaiah finished his post, we took the boys to Ruth’s folks’ house while we took Elsie by the pediatrician’s office for a re-check following an appointment she’d had a while back. We had traveled several blocks when I told Ruth to get the camera out of here purse. Then, as soon as I went through the next intersection, I put on my right turn signal and pulled to the curb by a laundromat.

“What’s going on– is something wrong,” she asked.

“Nope, nothing’s wrong. Just hand me the camera, please.”