Monday, March 14, 2011

Toys, with my emotions

I spent much of the past four days looking downward, sitting or squatting because I visited my best friend from high school, who has a 3-year-old son, and then my brother, who has two sons, ages 6 and 4. It's fun to see all their little personalities, and to see how quickly they mature and progress, especially in how they communicate. The kids are coming along, too.

Kidding aside, the kids were great -- impressively well-mannered. The youngest boys are still a bit stubborn and can get a little testy when they don't get their way, but everyone also had many moments of sharing, taking turns and saying their pleases and thank yous.

Kids by this age have already gravitated toward preferences for certain types of toys and activities. My high school friend's son is highly interested in trucks and could enthusiastically and accurately name different types of construction vehicles, and the parts therein. It's humbling to see a 3-year-old know more about a subject than you do! My younger nephew has enough of an attention span to get through real games that require sitting down, although he doesn't always follow the rules, as he does dislike losing. He also has a great sense of humor and likes to play improv make-believe storylines with his toys. This was a lot of fun for me, and gave me great practice doing funny voices. And my elder nephew is more quiet and independent, but a total prodigy on the piano. He can pick out things by ear remarkably. I did the same when I was his age, so I hope he takes (and enjoys) piano lessons, which his parents hope to start in a couple years. Check it out!

I'm scheming to take them here.

On the spectrum of "must have kids" to "definitely never having kids," I'm still closer to the latter but probably close enough to the center that I could be persuaded into the former under circumstances that still, at age 32, seem unlikely and distant. Spending time with kids doesn't really move my needle on this meter much. On one hand, kids are amazing and fun and all the rest. On the other hand, they are super exhausting. And if I feel that way as a brief visitor with no responsibilities, I imagine I would be a lifeless pile of bones if I were a full-time caregiver. Besides, why would I bother with having my own kids when I can just, like, visit some whenever I want? We call this getting the milk for free, in farm parlance.  

On the Japan front, the students who were there for their International Experience trip have left for Seoul and are going to be trying to get back to the US as soon as possible. I'm eager to catch up with my friends who were there to get the inside scoop. What a mess.

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