Sunday, May 29, 2011

Legoland and Lying

Legoland encourages lying. Ok, that's totally not true. I'm not proud of it, but I taught my kid to lie at Legoland. Legoland splits some its rides between children ages 2-5 and 6+. At five years, 5 months, Alex is really too big for the little rides, but not quite six years he is a little too small for the big kid rides. He wanted to do both, so we worked the system. We quietly whispered about how we would trick the attendants when they asked his age for the 6+ rides so he could get on. He'd check-in with me to make sure he was getting it right and then smile when the trick worked. Have I corrupted him forever? Should I have towed the line and just dealt with the tantrum? Or was it harmless fun that won't psychologically damage him forever? I guess I'll find out when he gets to high school. If he starts carrying a fake I.D., I might have to blame myself. As for Serene...she spent the day riding around in her stroller.

In a Galaxy Far, Far Away......Legoland

Legos are a wonderful opportunity for children to build, expand their creativity and improve their fine motor skills. If you google 'what can Legos teach you', you'll learn find articles on how Lego building can help with financial management, improve the tactical skills of Marines, engineering, robotics, real estate and more. Alex has discovered Legos recently and now there are hundreds of tiny red, blue, yellow, black and gray little plastic pieces sprinkled throughout the house. This week it looks like Alex will become a future designer of space stations and the rockets that will take astronauts there. Next week...maybe an architect. But, in a Galaxy Far, Far Away...or just north of San Diego, Legoland. Smaller than other theme parks with rides designed for the little guys & girls, Legoland also features the world in Legos, intricate models built entirely of Legos -- the Eiffel Tower, the Taj Mahal, the U.S. Capitol, Big Ben, the Great Wall of China, the Golden Gate Bridge and it now several worlds beyond our own: Star Wars. Visitors can explore the planets of Tatooine, Alderaan, Naboo, Yavin, Endor and others. Whether you are into the oldies' Episodes IV, V and the newbies Episodes VX fan or I, II, III everyone can find their favorites. Anakin Skywalker is Alex's new hero. May the force be with us.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Superheros Take Over the Neighborhood

Alex, Superman, Batman, Spiderman and Ironman are ready for action! Or...maybe ready for bed.

Long before the age of four, boys are boys and girls are girls. They've split into their own play groups and the competition begins for who is "the best." Once little boys discover superheros, they've got all the proof they need that they are more powerful. (Somehow despite the fact that we live in the 21st century, that sentiment continues to permeate male-female power dynamics in every dimension of our world for the rest of our lives). Wonder Woman & Catwoman just can't compete with Batman, Superman, Spiderman and the Green Lantern as defenders of the universe.

By the 5th birthday every boy's party requires a superhero flying in from the sky to create joy, glee and screams for dozens of kids. (Every girl's birthday demands a princess.) At Dylan's party, kids were told to dress up as their favorite Superhero. Spiderman swung in on his web for Alex's 5th birthday and we ran into Batman, along with his enemy the Joker, at his friend Cole's big party. It's amazing how those Superheros get around town saving us all from disaster. Now if they could just do something to improve gender balance in this world.

Boys, Girls and Race Cars

With the rest of the family racing NASCAR, Serene isn't about to be left out. At six months she is cruising in her walker at warp speed. By seven months, she can crawl. And, at not quite 8 months, she is can pull herself up and has all the mechanics to walk. It won't be long now until she is running around the house. For more on the differences between boys and girls, Dr. Anita Sethi says it far better than this mom....

Alex racing cars

Mommies aren't the only ones that can race cars. Alex's own pint-size NASCAR can reach up to 1 mph or so on the sidewalk. As a young NASCAR wannabe he has already taken over the family fleet of vehicles as each is equipped with carseat, snacks, and fruit juice boxes.

Racing Cars Instead of Driving Soccer Vans

At the Toyota Speedway in Irwindale anybody can race NASCAR -- even jetsetting moms who don't have enough adrenaline in their lives changing diapers and scheduling playdates. Strapping on a stock car for twenty laps around the country's shortest track takes less than 15 minutes at 100 mph (give or take) and is not for the weak at heart. A hour training session with the track all-time speed champion was enough to teach this mommy how to 'scrub the tires' and then 'go green' until the checker flagged was waved.

Now...ask me if you think I'll let my kids try it when they grow up?

Garbage Truck Party

The annual Open House hosted by the Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation teaches kids about recycling while letting them ride around in garbage trucks, lift garbage bins up & down (just like when the city picks up garbage at your house) and provides all-you-can-eat free burgers and hot dogs. Who'd ever thought that a "Garbage Truck Party" as Alex called it could be so much fun. Complete with swag -- compost, mini garbage cans, plants and other paraphernalia -- boys and girls can party all day with garbage men.