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« Books, Oprah, and dalmatians | Main | Sunday—castles in the sky »

Dirt under my nails

How many puddles can he find on a sunny afternoon following a night of thunderstorms and rain?

Unless you count that third one as a pond or a lake, then I guess he can find four.

And in the garden this afternoon we found buds on all our new trees and bushes, and we even started pulling weeds. I know spring is near when I find myself going to bed (or about to go to bed) with dirt under my nails.

We spent our early morning inside, though, doing laundry (he changed his bed all by himself!), reading books, and practicing piano. He drew pictures while I ran on the treadmill (I can't wait for warmer weather), then we compiled all the Africa exploration paraphernalia from all over the house and put it in a folder, which he decorated and labeled before putting on the shelf. The topic was well lived and we had a great time exploring the continent, but I can tell when interest is waning.

The timing is good because I had planned on introducing another Five in a Row book this week, The Clown of God by Tomie dePaola. I specifically chose this book and marked it on the calendar for this week, because the FIAR guide linked it to the topics of aging and, basically, retirement. Since we are going to my (still very young!) dad's retirement dinner on Friday I thought it would be a good book to help Calvin understand the concept a little better. Then I read the book. It's a dark book, actually, and it deals not really with retirement, but with depression and death, two things I don't want Calvin to associate either with my dad or with retirement. But there is a fortuitous side connection here. When I first read the book to Calvin yesterday (thankfully without mentioning my earlier plans for comparison) I mentioned the setting of the book as being Italy during the Renaissance. He promptly demanded to know where Italy was on the map (somehow he already knew it was in Europe), and then launched directly down the Renaissance road. Apparently I've mentioned the time period before, and he associates it with knights and castles and is even more excited about the prospect of exploring those than he was about being in Africa (although maybe the difference is his increasing familiarity with the exploration process, since each topic we've explored has trumped the last on his excite-o-meter).

Our Monday afternoon visit to the library, which usually is just an afternoon of sorting in the book sale room, ended up a major harvest of books on the new topic, all of his choosing. More was added to the castle tonight, too, and he's already talking about expanding it further, and creating armor to wear around the house. His excitement is infectious, which is a darn good thing if I am expected to keep up with him for all these activities this week.

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