Monday, September 26, 2016

Covered in Circles

My oldest son, 4 year old Big J, likes to read text books, or at least pretend to read them.  Luckily I happen to have quite a large supply of them due to my colleges (both undergrad and graduate school) not buying the majority of them back from me at the end of each semester.  Most likely because the author decided to change one sentence in order to force the next crop of students to buy the latest edition, but I digress.

Today's choice of eclectic reading material was one of my Art History books from sophomore year at Mizzou.  He happened upon a picture of Color Study, Squares with Concentric Circles by Wassily Kandinsky.

Big J: "Look at this, Mommy! Such colors!"
Me:  "Yes, that is certainly colorful! I like it."
Big J:  "I like it because it's covered in circles! Don't you think circles are one of the best shapes? Can we make one?"

I love when my kids get enthusiastic so, I got out the stack of felt that has been sitting in my closet and cut out a bunch of circles and squares (as a former art teacher, I have large quantities of such things that I saved at one point or another.  Frugality is key when you are a teacher and have to spend all of your paycheck and half of your soul on supplies just to do your job).   Big J and his brothers, 2 1/2 year old twins Little H and Little O spent a (mostly) pleasant morning arranging the felt in different combinations on the felt board and arguing/agreeing in intervals about which combinations worked best.  I loved this so much because 1) I got to drink my coffee warm, 2) it was an art project with no mess (winning!) and 3) there was nothing sharp involved so the squabbling couldn't turn into shanking.

After a while I had to get to a meeting at the Children's Museum where I work.  This is great because my boys can play while I work.  After the meeting, I was helping the boys clean up the things they'd been playing with-and by helping I mean doing it myself and singing "Clean up, pick up, put away" in the hopes that this would entice them to join me. Finally we were ready to go but unfortunately the twins have an aversion to wearing shoes and had taken them off and stashed them somewhere in the museum.  I finally found them in the climber and had to shimmy down it to grab them.  Because the weather here in St. Louis has finally cooled off and we all had our shoes on now, I thought today would be the perfect day to go for a hike on the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge.  This is a bridge that was relegated to foot traffic when a new one was built across the Mississippi.  It was a beautiful day-the leaves were rustling in the trees, the river was rushing below us, and the boys were laughing and enjoying the trip.  All was right with the world and I just wanted to breathe it in!

Me, hoping to instill some appreciation of nature: "What a beautiful place!  The river is amazing, isn't it boys!  It does your soul good to be so close to something like that, doesn't it!"
Big J, fishing a rock out of his pocket that he had evidently been saving for just such an occasion: "Yes, now let's throw stuff in it!"

Not wanting any of my children to topple into the river, we found a spot near the river where it had rushed over and formed a puddle.  The boys picked up rocks and threw them in that puddle to their hearts' content.  It's the little things, really!

Little O, throwing a rock in and pointing at the ripples: "Circles! Look!"
Big J: "Look at all those circles!  Is the whole world covered in circles, Mommy? We just keep on seeing them today."

I love to hear my children make connections and watch them learn.  I love their quirky souls.  I hope they never get too old to go on adventures with me!

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