Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Growing up

So I took Rye to the Children's Museum on Saturday, while the men of Nebraska spent their afternoons in bars watching the Nebraska football team.

And the museum, though it was pretty busy, was maybe the most fun it's ever been.

The best part by far: I noticed in Rye a curiosity so much more mature than it's ever been before.

On Saturday, instead of simply focusing on putting as many balls as he could into one of many receptacles in the huge ball maze that they have, he was more interested in watching where his one ball went.

He'd place a red ball, for example, into one of the openings and then track it as the air pressure pushed it through one tunnel, up another and then shot it across the room to a different area entirely.

Then he'd do it again.

In another area, he'd turn a crank that made his yellow ball this time travel up a conveyor belt until it, too, fell onto a track that took it to the other side of the contraption. Then he'd run over there, turn another crank and watch as his ball took another journey.

It was cognitively challenging and hands-on and it was great. I could almost see his brain working.

Sure, we still danced in the dark "Recollections" room where Jamaican music plays and we can watch our thermal images move like we do on the screen in front of us. And we played on the fire truck and in the little pretend house.

But we didn't spend nearly as much time doing those things as we have in the past.

Rye says his favorite part was a giant crane he could sit on and turn a wheel to make the whole thing turn around. Working with other kids -- of several different ages -- he figured out how to turn the crane one way to collect balls from a tray (that would only work when another child pulled a rope, causing the tray to dump) and then another way to deposit the balls in another tray on the other side (again, another child had to pull another rope to make this happen).

Even upstairs in the special dinosaur exhibit, we talked a lot about when the dinosaurs lived and the fact that they were here long before people. I told him about how some dinosaurs ate meat and how some only ate plants. I tried to tell him it was sort of like how our family doesn't eat animals. We talked about how some dinosaurs lived on the ground, some under water and some flew in the sky like birds.

When we found a tent with books inside, he desperately wanted to read them.

So we did. I think he really liked this, too.

In all, it was fun for me to see a place we used to go to just to run around and occupy a Saturday afternoon become educationally enriching as well.

And it was another reminder how quickly he's growing and changing. He is the age now that I couldn't wait for him to be even when he was just still growing inside of me.

I hope it doesn't go too quickly.


chris said...

I can't wait to take Jack to the Children's Museum. I try not to say that too much - "I can't wait until ____." I'm afraid it will all go too quickly. So I try to just enjoy the moment. I hope Rye stays just the right age for a long time!

Ashley said...