I’ve been thinking about social safety nets–in case you’re new to this terminology, that means government programs like food stamps, Obamacare/ACA, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security–and the idea of personal responsibility–making choices that let you live in health and comfort. In political discourse, those two are often presented as opposites: Either you have a system of government that encourages personal responsibility, or your government provides social safety nets.
Why am I posting a picture of what you know most be one of zillions of Benji’s art projects? Well, first, you’d be right if you guessed that we get rather snowed under with art. However, this one stands out for a few reasons:
- Benji instigated it entirely himself. Normally, I have to set aside time and cajole him into scribbling randomly for like 5 minutes, after which he wants to go back to playing trains. This time, he pulled out most of the supplies himself and started on his own, only bringing me in when adult help was required.
- The ideas were almost entirely his own. The design is entirelyhis-a solar system, not surprisingly-and I merely made suggestions for what materials to use (I supplied all the different tapes and the glitter glue). Previously, I’ve always told him what our project will be. This time the creativity came from himself.
- He wanted to use art to represent something, and figured out a way to do it using the materials at hand. And stuck with it with good focus the entire time, no getting distracted.
I’m not sure if this is because of his new preschool, which has an art center area that’s kind of a new concept to him; or if playing with Legos has anything to do with the increasing creativity; or if watching big-boy Colin build Legos creatively (and Benji’s preschool peers, for that matter, but he really admires and respects Colin); or if we’re just passing some kind of milestone. But whatever the case, this art project represents a moment I want to remember.
Listening to our Pandora station for kids, we heard this song:
Thank you, Pandora, for possibly the silliest song we’ve heard in a long time. Love it!
Benji got his first cold, right on time, three days after his first full day of school; it was massively rainy so I converted my big, outside ride into a short trainer ride; and clearly we were meant to spend all of yesterday playing Legos, building Legos, and sorting Legos. Benji is getting pretty good at building with the small-size Legos.
We started summer in the middle of May. This week, five months later, we finished it. It truly has been a marathon summer, and we’ve had so much fun and Benji grew up in so many ways — but it also validated my firm belief that I will never, ever home school my child. We would drive each other nuts in the first year (or less). So, we started at ORCS this year, and will probably go there for a couple years.
In any case, I’m also happy for Benji to start school because he needs that time with other kids. He can read surprisingly well and can count past 100, but although he likes playing with people and is friendly, he doesn’t know what to do with other kids as much. Also, I like that his large- and small-motor skills get stretched at school, as he tries to copy what his peers do.
Table of Contents
I told this story to Benji yesterday, and it came out coherent enough that I thought it worth writing down. It’s about 4200 words long, so get comfy if you’re going to sit through the whole thing. I’m glad I took the time, too, because in the end, I rather like Lumpy.
Part One: Lumpy the Dragon
Once upon a time, there was a dragon named Lumpy. He was a purple dragon with green and yellow spots, and he had big wings and long, clever claws. Lumpy lived in the forest with the other dragons, all of whom were named things like Vicious and Killer and Firey because they were all like that.