Saturday, July 7, 2012

of computers, cliff diving, and LEGO chaos: steps out of my comfort zone

our whole family likes to use the computer.  a lot.  we're technology-oriented, some might even call some of us tech-saavy.  (i would not, but friends might call us so.)   among many other things, steve does his work, research, and reading on it.  i use facebook, blog, and watch episodes of sherlock or poirot.  diana writes, checks her email, and is learning to program in python.  ander watches youtube.

it's a good thing we have two computers, otherwise the sharing among me and the kids would become untenable.  usually, i have to find a time on the computer when no one else is around (the kids are asleep) or when they are happily engaged in something else (diana is reading and ander is listening to jim weiss' good luck duck).  if ander spots me on the computer, he'll inevitably ask to watch his "videos." i hope i can get this post written before the story ends.

his current favorite is cliff diving.  i don't remember how he found it, but we watched one video of championship divers in la rochelle, france, and he's hooked.  the first was his favorite, but he also watches the same "tall men" competing in greece and hawaii.  and he's decided he wants to do it, too.  so the bed has become the water, and my dressing table is his platform.  he dons some underwear, which is the closest thing he has to the teeny-tiny speedo-type suits the divers wear, carefully climbs to the top, stretches his arms out perfectly straight, and then jumps into the air.

my heart nearly stopped when i saw him do this the first time.  although i am worried about him breaking his neck (the phrase i remember hearing, or imagined i was told, all through my childhood, indicating why i should not do something dangerous.  i might break my neck.), i don't make him stop.  instead, i insist that i be present to spot him, you know, just in case he does break his neck and i have to rush him to the emergency room.  if steve were here at home, i know he would be proud of my finding a way to say yes, rather than resorting to my knee-jerk reaction of, "are you crazy?  you're gonna break your neck!"

at least diana doesn't do that.  at least in the same way.  no, she's going to be safer and start her diving class at morley's next week.  the low springboard is as high as she'll get there.  but, she recalls jumping off the really high dive at maplewood pool in st. louis.  and there's a not-as-high board at manor pool in davis, so who knows what she'll be doing at the end of the summer.  be still my heart.  i don't really care for heights (that's an understatement) or swimming (you mean with my face IN the water?), so to watch my children do this is a stretch outside my comfort zone every time.  thank goodness my lack of fearlessness is not getting in their way.

ok, so back to youtube.  it's also the source of ander's other favorites (and i'm not talking about the nasa channel, where he can watch launches to his heart's content, or the model rockets, or the homemade water rockets): LEGOs.  he's especially enamored of madaboutlego, whose trademark is two minifigs with stormtrooper helmets showing up somewhere in the video.  the music is also quite awesome, and the kids hum it all day long.  there's also jaystepher, who narrates his reviews and highlights the extra cool things about each set, and occasionally the brick show.

the chaos to which my post title refers is the MIXTURE OF PIECES FROM LOTS OF DIFFERENT SETS.  i'm starting to lose my mind.  thank goodness diana's harry potter sets are safety tucked away (for now) so we don't get those pieces in the fray.  but her kingdoms sets, the two creator houses we have, ALL of the LEGOs that steve and i have saved over the years, and even ander's beloved space center sets are blending into one another.  i have a hard enough time separating and finding the pieces i need when we have one big set out at a time.  this is nigh on impossible to rebuild a single one of them now.

so the part of me that screams for order and organization is whimpering and cowering in the corner.  i am trying to sooth and reassure it by watching in wonder as both kids let their imagination soar and build what THEY want.  they start off by following the excellent directions to build the set.  then the structure comes apart, bit by bit, as the pieces are located and used to create something new and exciting to them.  way to think out of the box, guys!  diana has even created her own mini-sets, complete with fully-illustrated directions and decorated packages.  when she can't find what she wants, she comes up with an acceptable substitution.  ander admires what he sees in the videos and on the boxes and in the catalogs, but while he waits for an opportunity to get those sets, he makes his own version and (i think) is just as happy with them.  and he has this remarkable ability to find just what he is looking for in that tumultuous sea of crashing LEGO waves, whereas diana and i can't see what's right in front of our eyes.  that boy has focus.

maybe, just maybe, i'll be able to follow their example and make something of my own, instead of heeding to my impulse to build just what someone else has designed.  i am forging my own path in other ways of my life.  can i do it in creative play, too?

i am happyer at home today learning lessons from my children in stepping onto that high dive, ready to fly.


  1. I think cliff diving was discovered as you looked for fireworks. Which were beautiful from my roof. Quiet booms with only 97* weather at 9:30 pm. And think Indiana Jones. The road will rise to meet you.

    1. ah, yes, you are correct! we were looking at videos of fireworks around the eiffel tower, and the cliff diving in la rochelle was a related video.

      glad you had a good, quiet view :)