Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Marble Tower, or Why Mommy is not an Engineer

Last week Paul decided he wanted to resurrect his marble tower. Not the simple one that merely requires the skill of stacking clear plastic tubes to the same height and connecting them with a loop-de-loop thingy. Nope. The mega marble tower. The one that looks like it requires an engineering degree to properly construct. The one daddy put together last time. You know, the ENGINEER.  Pleeeeeeese? says my six year old, who is rather good at following (and then not following) Lego directions. I'll help, he promises. Sure. I open the instruction book, which is at least 50 pages long. I help him position the base and explain how to interpret the basic instructions. I suggest he take the still together pieces apart and separate them into piles. He ignores me. I leave him to his own devices. 15 minutes later I hear MOOOOOMMMM! I need help. Oh boy. He's managed to erect part of the structure but is only on page three. I do my best to help him find the pieces he needs. Mostly he's confused about the base positioning as the directions have this complicated arrow system in order to get the pieces in the right spot. As we continue along in the book, the pictures become more and more confusing and I am beginning to feel light headed. I am not, I repeat NOT a visual-spatial person. I know this because in college we had to take countless learning style inventories. Give it to me in words, I'll figure it out. Numbers? No problem. Thinking about things off in a corner? Love it. Set it to music or a snappy tune? I will remember it FOR LIFE. The two intelligences where I tank? Interpersonal skills (which is why I blog from the safety of my kitchen table instead of going out into the real world) and Visual-Spatial skills. I get lost. A lot. And step-by-step instructions fall into that category, especially when they include pictures. But the boy really wants to play with his marble tower and he is already showing signs of getting bored with the setting up process. Remember how I said he is good at following directions and then he's not? He loves to put Legos together the first time and will follow the pictures dutifully. Then he takes apart the ship/car/tank/etc and builds something new (usually a speeder bike containing an army of clones) in a completely unique design. I love that about him. But it is not handy when trying to erect a marble tower that must follow specifications in order for the marbles to actually roll down it. After another five minutes of us trying to work together he gives up. He has been distracted by something else in the basement. I stare at the partially put together tower. Ugh. I hate when things are left unfinished. I plug along and do my best to fight my natural deficiencies, turning page after page of confusing directions. Hours pass. John wakes up from nap and wants to touch everything in sight. I angrily snap at the children and tell them to go find something else to do while mommy tries to get the loop-de-loops to line up properly. FINALLY, the husband comes home. Hurray!! The engineer is here!! He will save the day!! No time to relax dear, there's a tower to be built!! I quickly run away. Five minutes later I hear the whooshing and plinking of marbles. Figures. I only had to correct a few things you messed up, he says. Thanks dear. That's why you are the engineer. And I am not.

In case you thought I was exaggerating.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

John the Foodie

John. Loves. Food. While he does not share his brother's affinity for all things vegetarian (I can get Paul to eat just about any vegetable by telling him it has "Force"), he does love all things meat. Having been a vegetarian for 20 years now, I will admit that it makes me a little sad to watch him devour anything and everything with a face. I try to get him to eat the meatless version of his favorite foods, but somehow his discerning three year old palate can tell the difference. Being a "mixed" couple of omnivore and herbivore I guess it is only fair that we have one of each in the family. And honestly, it is cool to watch his face as he tries new things. (And when I say "watch his face" I mean for both the expression and the decoration. See below.) Some of our recent adventures in culinary delight: On vacation, CJ got John to try at least six different kinds of seafood. We then endured a running dialogue of "What's that daddy? Can I try it?" When my brother and sister-in-law came to visit and she cooked up a giant batch of shellfish, John was first in line to sample. He also enjoyed sinking his teeth into a meaty chicken wing (hands down the most difficult thing for me to give up when I first went veg) and devouring my mom's famous meatballs.
When CJ and I first decided to spend the rest of our lives together, I remember him wondering who would cook the meat. For the first ten years of our marriage, it was no one. I cooked vegetarian meals; he ate them happily, supplementing with meat when we went out to dinner. Now it appears that things may have to change. It's rather obvious: CJ is going to need to learn how to cook.