Lasker Pool

Lasker Pool
Central Park, summer 2011

Monday, March 29, 2010

How to Make a Fish Robot

My kids love animals and robots, not exactly in that order. And ever since my 10 year-old, Kyle, went to robotics camp, the creation of robots has been a lively topic of conversation. So this morning, as I was attempting to find something unwrinkled in my closet, Seth gave me the rundown on how he would make a fish robot. It was sort of one big, long, hold-your-breath-as-long-as-you-can-and-talk running quote.
"Okay, mom, here's what you have to do:
First, kill a fish.
Then, you pull out all the bones. But you have to be really gentle and careful.
Then, you have to make sure the skin is not ripped.
At the end, you put all the robot parts in. And you have a fish robot!
So, can we go to the pet store now?"
Sounds simple, doesn't it? Perhaps we should alert MIT.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Birthday Snake

Today is Seth and Jesse's eighth birthday, and I consider it an amazing feat that we've all gotten to this point and are still
a) reasonably sane, or at least able to appear that way in most situations
b) able to remember to sign most of the permission slips, remember to send in most of the after-school playdate notes and get 80 percent of the homework and days-off from school correct. (It's really annoying to drop the kids at school, only to discover that that the teachers and staff are all attending a day-long off-site workshop).
c) feeling content once a week or more

Seth, for his birthday gift, desperately wants a pet. He talks about his animal love nonstop. One day it's fish, the next it's a snake. Sometimes he gets onto hamsters or chinchillas. But snake love is a running theme for him.
I keep putting him off, telling him that Daddy and I have to discuss the issue. But this morning, after breakfast, Sethie said, "Now that it's my birthday, let's go get my pet snake." He pointed out the window, to the conveniently located pet shop across the street. "It's lonely in the pet store. And I will love it, love it, love it. I'll even pay for the snake, but you have to buy its tank and food."

We've been loathe to reintroduce live animals into our family, given our frenetic lifestyle and scant space. Fish are easy, but they're not very satisfying to cuddle. Hamsters bite, gerbils are cannibalistic and, well, a dog is just too much of a commitment and a hair-shedder for me.

So maybe later today, we'll go and check that snake out. And perhaps we'll have a new member of the family.

Lather Up

I've been noticing lately how intensely my three boys seem to embrace their passions, from fish to football.
When they care about something, it's deeply and without reserve.
To wit, Kyle has discovered the fine art of soap carving.
Not sure where that one came from, but two days ago, he asked for a bar of soap and a knife and asked if he could whittle. Because I, apparently, am the kind of mother who allows her children to do such ridiculous things, I agreed.
His first piece was Sponge Bob and kind of cute, I must say. Now, he's asked for better soap ("I need it to be really square, Mom") and a pocket knife with which to create, and I'm finding soap chips all over the floor.
I have no idea how long Kyle will follow this particular artistic path—and a very specific path it is—but I have to think that, like origami and Legos, his interest in soap sculptures will come and go over time.
In the meantime, we'll always be able to wash our hands.