it's not just a song
highway to the danger zone
Yesterday, the wee one got to disassemble a blender, and work on making a noisy-alarmed treasure chest to protect his important stuff. It was his first Tinkering class! It was also a lesson in knowing your own personal limits (am I scared to try that?) and in testing boundaries that are finally OK to test (it's OK to try that!).
It was a good lesson for me, too, about trying to not be so hyper about letting him out of my sight. I mean, in the car on the way over there, I had the standard chat with him. Be polite, don't interrupt people, call me if something happens, and most importantly, don't be crazy. I ask him to not be crazy a lot. He gets so excited about things that he jabbers at extremely high decibels and runs in circles and crashes into things. I am less worried about him doing this, and more worried about other people yelling at him for doing it. (Getting yelled at by other people really freaked me out when I was a kid.)
But then we got there.
Rope swing, skateboard, kids everywhere laughing and playing and eating dirt and running around. His big eyes boggled. I think I saw them actually shoot out little stars like he'd turned manga for a second. Tinkering class is a place to BE crazy. It's a place to be a kid, to explore and play and loosen up and do things that seem verboten but aren't (hold onto a rope and jump off a platform? Yes! Take apart this DVD player? Yes!) He was thrilled.
I was thrilled, too. Sure, my instinct was to constantly shout things like, "Careful!" and "Watch out!" but then I left so he didn't have to worry about me.
There are these movements now… these "let your kid be a kid" movements. Like Slow Family Living and Free Range Kids and, of course, the original Tinkering School. There's Maker Faire and the Stunt Ranch. It all sounds so wonderful, not just for the kids, but for parents who still want to be kids, too.
I admit I kind of enjoy being a little uptight, though. It balances out my laziness. I mean, really – combine 1 part lazy, 1 part uptight, 1 part worrywart and add a sprinkling of play time and things balance out nicely. At least for me, it makes me feel like a better mom to know I can give a look of consternation at the dirt on the carpet, even though I will probably not do much about it. That's not a judgment on other parenting styles, just me admitting to a hang-up I have. Too much June Clever as a kid?
Anyway, Tinkering class was a hit. I'm so glad the wee one signed up for it. It's going to give him an outlet for his curiosity, and it's going to give me a lot to think about.