Post 363: Super Charged Minivan Heaven

Ever since reading that you can change the startup screen on the Toyota minivan console I have been meaning to. I just love that kind of stuff.

Yesterday I was finally ready to do it and realized I didn’t know what I wanted my custom image to look like?, then I thought, hey why not photoshop up a minvan-copter? The kids will love it!

Of course the idea of adding some sort of aeronautical device to the minivan is almost as old as this blog, but for whatever reason, Luke has been talking about it a lot recently.

The original concept was wooden wings, but Luke soon confessed he felt they would be too cumbersome. The recent version is a helicopter prop, so I put both ideas together and came up with this:

I loaded into the car,  I go get Luke from school, he sees it instantly and goes:

“What’s that?”

I explain it was something I did.

“That looks pretty good, Dad, good idea. If that is your finished plan then all I think I need to add is some polyurethane.”

Sounds great Luke.

A day later he comes up to me and states very matter of factually:

“I’m going to have to see the gas tank. I need to see if there is enough room for a super charger?”

Ok, Luke, sounds good.

“The super charger will allow the minivan to go 120,000 miles an hour” he says with raised eye brows.

“It will only take two minutes to get to Legoland!”

I do some quick math out loud and discover it will take closer to 2 seconds at that speed to get to Legoland and Luke is now REALLY impressed.

The other part of the equation is how much is NOT on his radar and I believe it is linked to access to media. My example is this. Luke loves Lego’s, Luke will stroll down the Lego aisle at Target and study the boxes and point out all kinds of detailed thoughts. Luke has never seen a Lego movie. So why is it that he never ONCE has asked about the Lego movie posters that a strewn about the world, on the side of buses only inches from his face sometimes, never says a word. If we had seen a Lego movie I believe it would be otherwise.

Meanwhile a super charged mini-copter is TOTALLY on his radar, big time!

Post 359: Nine years!

[After the equilibrium/dis-equilibrium post (358) I got a wonderful reply from Luke’s teacher with a few articles on the “Nine Year Crisis”]

Luke’s amazing teacher sent me links to two articles about the nine-year crisis that capture what is going on in Luke’s world. (I know Luke is not nine, but that is part of the wonderful world of child development, NOTHING is set in stone). Once again it is empowering to know we are not alone on this:

Parenting The Nine Year Old

The Nine Year Change

Other than the profound nature of what this all means for my dear boy, there is a piece that particularly caught my eye about the celestial nature of this crisis period.

The position of the stars at birth, some say, holds the destiny of the human being. It takes eighteen years, seven months and nine days for the stars to circle back into that exact position. This moment of re-positioning is called a Lunar Node.  Often at these moments, every eighteen years and seven months, people tend to change their lives. It is as if the stars in their original position call to the human being and remind them of their true destiny, their true course in life.  We re-adjust.  The Institute of Noetic Sciences in a 25 year research project on transformative experiences noticed in the research that moments of transformation—Epiphanies—tend to cluster around the ages of eighteen/nineteen; 36 to 38; 55 to 58.  Nine-years-old is halfway round the celestial path and it is as if, the stars call the child to grow, to comprehend, and to remember the importance of his or her tasks on Earth.

(from Being Nine Years Old)

Post 357: Equilibrium and Dis-equilibrium

I keep coming back to this page, not having a clear concise parenting moment to capture. Perhaps that is indicative of the way things are around here these days.
I think being a seven year old Luke is very intense. There has been an out pouring of feelings and the ferocity he undertakes most all endeavors is impressive.

I have to remind myself of this odd, yet totally true battle of equilibrium against disequilibrium.

The Gessell Institue has studied child development for literally 100 years. One of the many cycles they observed are the Childs developmental stages alternating in and out of whack. Called the stages of equilibrium and dis-equilibrium.

Well, I think it is safe to say the Luke is in a stage of dis-equilibrium, and it is really helpful to know that.

self portrait

Its not about being negative or brooding, more about being frustrated and filled with energy that is not yet found a path. One of the symptoms (not the right word) of dis-equilibrium is that it comes right before an outpouring of pure development, that there is all this growth energy that has not yet been directed.

What I have been seeing in Luke is an intensity and a short attention span.

As a parent it can be quite confusing. Because it feels like one moment everything is in sync and relatively calm and focused and the next it is chaotic and sharp and kind of icky. Boy can it get icky.

We all love the calm, nurturing moments and it makes for such a better easier day, but life is not that simple, so it is important to remind myself that this too shall pass. That is why I am here, to be available and thoughtful and understanding of my families needs.

Under many circumstances I would rely on caloric intake to help fix this imbalance, my experience has been that 90% of the dis-equilibrium in my family (including myself) comes from lack of proper food intake. But in Luke’s case, right now, it is not always that simple. He is just bursting with life force.

I tend not to whip out my camera at the times of dis-equilibrium, so I will not even venture to display that.

I am also sporadically reading a series of lectures by Rudolf Steiner entitled The Kingdom of Childhood. Steiner is the brain behind Waldorf Education. It can be a bit awkward because of the somewhat odd dated writing style, but the message sings to me.

“The child is curious, but not with an intellectual curiosity for as yet it has no reasoning powers; and anyone who appeals to the intellect of a child of seven is quite on the wrong lines; but it has fantasy and this it is with which we must deal. It is really a question of developing the concept of a kind of “milk of the soul” For you see, after birth the child must be given bodily milk. This constitutes its food and every other necessary substance is contained in the milk that the child consumes. And when he comes to school at the age of the changing of the teeth it is again milk that you must give him, but now, milk for the soul. That is to say, your teaching must not be made up of isolated units, but all That the child receives must be a unity; when he has gone through the change of teeth he must have “soul milk.” If he is taught to read and write as two separate things it is just as though his milk were to be separated chemically into two different parts, and you gave him one part at one time and the other at another. Reading and writing must form a unity. You must bring this idea of “soul milk” into being for your work with the children when they first come to school.”

This really helps me acknowledge again that this is their world, not mine, I am just trying to make it the best possible transit from birth to adulthood. With a splash of “soul milk”.

Post 352: Summer of Love

It was a big summer, it was also a short summer. We knew it would be filled with LOTS of personal growth for both Luke and Lily and it proved to be so true.

Our highlight was a two week visit to the State of Maine. Spent between Grandma’s lake house and a trip to Baxter State Park. I could go on and on with observations, the hours Luke spent looking for frogs, the solo kayaking missions, but one particular adventure speaks to me regarding Luke’s perseverance.

During our stay in Maine we had planned at trip to the top of Mt Katahdin, the tallest peak in the state, in Baxter State Park. The trip included a small group of family and there had been lots of thinking about the “what if’s”, such as what if Luke needs to turn back, where will we meet, etc. There is no cell reception in Baxter State Park, where Katahdin resides. It is a very rigorous climb, especially above the timber line. It was always part of the plan that Lily and I would not even attempt the ascent, spending our day on a pristine lake with no one but frogs. So it was important that we had a plan on where and how to meet.

I guess all that needs to be said is that Luke not only climbed the mountain, but was pretty much in front the entire time. When the adults returned to civilization uniformly “plastered” and could barely walk, Luke, when asked if his legs were sore, merely said, “Not really”.

This was one of the first times that I have had the experience of Luke dramatically surpassing my expectations. Which filled me with awe, love and of course admiration. I now think this may be a feeling I will have to get used to more and more as Luke’s confidence and resourcefulness blossom.

Like all the endless clichés of parenthood: “your life will change when you have kids”, “you can never love anything as much as your own child”, letting go is going to be a brutal one.

Because it was Maine, and because it was Katahdin, and because we were with family, the true story of a twelve year old boy that was lost on that exact same mountain in 1939 came up. Grandma loaned us a signed copy of the book “Lost on a mountain in Maine” by Donn Fendler. At first Luke had no interest, I think the cover was a bit off putting to be honest, but when we got home we started reading it all together in the evenings, a few chapters a day and he really go into it.

It is wonderfully simple book, told through the eyes of a twelve year old boy who so simply moves forward day after day after day with virtually no survival skills. Unbeknownst to him, hundreds of people searching for him day and night, and ultimately assuming he had perished. So when you finally get to the place ten days later where he sees another human being, half naked, covered with sores and bug bites, his feet in tatters (he had lost his shoes on day one) and having lost 13 pounds, it is impossible to not be deeply moved.

Interestingly enough, Donn Fendler recently passed away and there is a proof of concept for a movie version of the book. Sometimes the timing of things in life are so wild!

Our summer vacation was topped off by a cancelled flight that lead to a free first class upgrade. On both legs of the journey, Luke got the prime treatment from the airline folks.

Bangor International is the smallest big airport in the world!

On the JFK – LA we were in sleeper seats (first time for both of us) after watching a high end, super fancy-cool DJ guy wait in line at Priority boarding for over an hour, even I was taken aback when the gate check person came straight up to Luke and said “How would YOU! (yes pointing) like to be the first person on the place and meet the crew?

Well, here it is:

I dont remember two, three, four very much. But, I REMEMBER seven!

It was a truly wonderful summer vacation.



Post 350: Free Fidget Spinners!

Luke has been asking about fidget spinners. For better or worse I have a reaction to anything that is “faddish”, but boy do I remember how exciting it feels to be a part of something that springs up out of nowhere. The other day my reservations were welcomed when Luke came up and said,

Want to see the fidget spinner I made

Yes, yes, yes, I do.

Then, knowing that Luke is preoccupied with ways to make money (he currently saves all bottles that have a redemption value, even if it means transporting them across the country), I made the casual comment, “Luke, I bet you could sell those fidget spinners you are making”.

That lead to this:

Interestingly enough he said he wanted them to be free, because he felt awkward asking for money for them? Perhaps not the best business plan, but it made me love him all the more.

He still refers to it as selling.