Friday, June 1, 2007

Safari Close to Home

Today was kind of a weird one. It was all about the animals though. Smunch woke up early this morning. He crawled into bed with us about 6:30 and waited for his favorite morning show, Caillou, to start...asking about it every 5 minutes or so. Sometime after that (in my hazy stupor, I'm not sure when), he brought me a piece of paper and asked me to draw a vase for him. I stuck one hand out from under the covers, grabbed his black crayon and drew him a vase. It kept him happy until he was finished with this masterpiece...the inside of a 'thank you' card for his speech therapist at the school district. Today was his last day with her. Of course, the problem was that he was so busy with this artistic endeavor that he didn't want to eat breakfast!

On a side note, Smunch's much-improved speech fluency is deteriorating slowly again. Maybe the big swings in his ability to speak will get smaller, at least.

This afternoon, I took Smunch to school. We always go in the back way and there's a lovely grassy area there, surrounded by trees. Only today, it had been "decorated". It turned out the kids were going on a safari! This was one of the coolest things I'd ever seen. I dropped Smunch off and went home to get my camera. I'm not really sure I captured the scene very well. One of the other classes actually had a checklist of animals they had to find and binoculars for looking for animals. I loved the monkeys and birds hanging from the trees. There was even a family of opossums hanging from a branch. There were lizards sunning themselves on rocks, a "lake" (blue tarp) with fish, turtles and manatees. I couldn't help feeling like it would have been absolutely magical as a kid.

Smunch's class was much more of a free-for-all, with no real structured activity around this amazing set-up. Still, the kids were awfully excited and very cute. Mam, who was with me, was equally enthralled. Although it wasn't the most impressive item in the jungle, Smunch was enamored with a little peacock he found.

Smunch was pretty mystified that I'd turned up at school again. I wish I could have been a fly on the wall and observed him "in his native habitat" instead of disturbing his school day with my picture taking.

I tried to get out of there as quickly as I could, but I also remembered that this is his last Friday at preschool...ever. And on Fridays they get to play in the "far yard". I whisked Mam off for a quick trip to TJ's so we might have something to eat tonight, dropped off the groceries and headed the mommymobile to the far yard.

The far yard contains the "circlecycle". It sounds weird, but this has got to be one of the coolest things ever invented for a preschool playground. I'll bashfully admit that seeing the circlecycle in action was one of the things that sold me on this particular school. It's a really cooperative toy. Five kids can ride at a time, but they all have to get together and decide how to do it first. They can ride forward or backward, but they all have to pedal and coooperate to make it work like it's supposed to. It's true playground genius!

Of course, it's not all fun and games with the circle cycle. You don't want to be caught trying to dig the track out of the sand when someone else starts pedaling and you certainly don't want to get so curious that you stick your head in there while kids are riding at mach speed. I've noticed that some preschoolers haven't quite developed this sort of obvious common sense, but still...

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